If you’ve ever set out to purchase a car for superficial reasons then you’re not alone. You might have been attracted to a slick look in a European make and model because you think it will suit your image or status. Maybe you liked the idea of size and power because you thought it would give you added safety. It might be able to tow a boat or accommodate a load of bikes and surfboards for when you take the kids on a holiday.
They’re not necessarily superficial reasons but they are putting the cart before the horse if we can use that expression when talking about cars.
None of those reasons are wrong necessarily, but they may tell you something about your priorities when it comes to purchasing and caring for your car. When you get behind the wheel, within a short time it should be obvious that your brakes are more important than any other part of your vehicle. Brakes are a sophisticated combination of pads, drums, springs, rotors, valves and these days they are even computerised. Caring for your brakes means looking for these tell tale signs that something’s amiss and you need to schedule a car maintenance appointment.
Dash warning light
The first thing you should do when you take ownership of your new vehicle is to familiarise yourself with your car’s warning lights. Of course very few people do, which is why warning lights create alarm and confusion when they appear.
Both the handbrake and hydraulic brake lights will appear when you start your vehicle but should disappear soon after – the handbrake light disappears on release. If the hydraulic brake light stays on then it’s a sign that brake fluid may be low or there is some other issue that needs to be addressed.
A grinding sound
Your car brake repair specialist may well give you a good talking to if you continue to drive while you’re hearing this type of sound. The cause is either extreme wear to the brake pads or rotors there may be a stone or some other object stuck in the caliper. If you want to eliminate the latter then try moving your car forward then back a number of times – that may dislodge the object. If it doesn’t dislodge then make an appointment with a specialist in ABS brake services or your own brake specialist in Sydney if you have one.
Something different about your pedal
Is your pedal soft and spongy? That could mean there is a block to the flow of brake fluid and there isn’t enough pressure to maintain your hydraulic brake system. There are other reasons for spongy or soft brakes and most of them are consistent with worn pads, calipers and even worse, a worn master cylinder. It’s best that you get to your ABS brake specialist and have them repaired rather than continue to drive and diagnose the reason.
Another problem may be uneven wearing of the pad or caliper which could cause the vehicle to pull to one side or the other. Not only is this dangerous, it’s very disconcerting. A collapsed hose between the callipers may also be the cause. Again this is not something that you ignore or tolerate – you really need to get your car checked out. And on the subject of unusual signs that should not be ignored, fluid leaking under your car for any reason is a worry, more so if it’s brake fluid.
Southern Cross Automotive in Mascot are the local mechanic that you can trust. We specialise in all makes and models – fleets, trucks and four wheel drives. Contact us today and schedule a service, you won’t be disappointed.