Understand your car brake system:

Discover how to help escape costly auto brake repair bills with regular inspections.

When your car brakes (pads, linings, shoes) are almost worn out, metallic tabs will create a squealing noise when the brakes are applied to alert you that the brake linings are due for replacement. Heed the warning. If you ignore the warnings long enough, you can do costly damage to the rotors, drums and other components. This will likely lead to an unpleasant auto brake repair bill.

Even with regular replacement of the linings, some additional service is typically required over the long haul. The surfaces of drums and discs wear unevenly in normal use and eventually need to be remachined or replaced to work properly.

Advance Auto Parts carries top brands of car brake system components, along with a full line of other quality auto parts for your vehicle maintenance jobs.

Why you should inspect your car brakes regularly:

Your car brakes are something you only think about when they foul up.

Why wait for these unpleasant surprises? A general understanding of your vehicle's brake system can help prevent a nasty auto brake repair bill and allow you to drive more safely.

What you will need for inspecting your car brakes:

• Clean rags
• Tire pressure gauge

Do-it-yourself difficulty guide for evaluating your auto brakes:

Estimated time required - 30 minutes

Help avoid costly accidents or auto brake repair bills repair by routinely checking your car brakes. Here’s how to do it yourself.

The brake system works by your foot pushing a piston that pushes fluid through the brake lines, which creates hydraulic pressure that applies the friction materials against rotors or drums.

  1. Car brake pad indicators are designed to emit a scraping sound when the pads are worn out. If you hear this sound or a grinding sound when you apply your brakes, they need replacing.
  2. A car brake pedal that continually creeps toward the floor while you are stopped indicates problems in the hydraulic system, such as air bubbles, leaking internal seals or an external leak.
  3. Most hydraulic system problems are from contaminants in old brake fluid, which pulls water out of the air. They can corrode metals and destroy the rubber seals.
  4. Locked auto brakes do not stop as quickly as brakes on the verge of lockup. ABS (anti-lock brake systems) use sensors to prevent any wheel from locking up, and provide shorter stopping distances.
  5. Inspect the fluid level in your master cylinder regularly. As the friction materials wear, more fluid is displaced to the wheels. A sudden drop in the fluid level indicates problems.
  6. Your brake fluid should be a clear amber color. If it is cloudy or brown, have it flushed completely, as this indicates the presence of water and corroded metal.
  7. Always use fresh brake fluid from a sealed container and make sure to check for the proper DOT (Department of Transportation) specification number for your car.
  8. If your car brake pedal becomes hard to depress, check for vacuum leaks around the hose that connects to the brake booster canister. (See your repair manual.)


Make your auto brake repair job easier with quality auto parts from Advance Auto Parts.