February 8

How Often Should I Get my Brakes Inspected

Auto Repair


Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive, they’re an award winning shop in Vancouver, 15 times voted by their customers as Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Really well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about brakes, it’s a very common thing, all cars have brakes unless you have a Fred Flintstone car, how often should I get my brakes inspected?

Bernie: Very good question and actually if you have a Fred Flintstone car you still use your feet, those are your brake pads, and they may not last too long. Anyways, brake inspections, generally a good rule of thumb is once a year or 12,000 kilometers but it really depends upon how you drive. If you only drive 5,000 kilometers a year, every couple years is good. If you drive more frequently like a taxicab then every six months would be more appropriate but for most people once a year is the time.

Mark: So does it change much with where I live if somewhere with harsh winters or there’s lots of salt put on the roads, does that make any difference?

Bernie: I would say that it doesn’t in terms of getting brake inspections but you will find that if you live somewhere that uses a lot of salt on the roads your brakes will wear out faster, more parts and pieces will wear: things like brake lines will rust out, brake rotors take a lot more of a beating in those kind of climates so getting an annual brake inspection is absolutely crucial in those kinds of climates. If you live in milder areas you might be able to get away with a little more.

Mark: So what about most modern cars, don’t they have a warning that says when the brakes are almost worn out?

Bernie: Some cars do, some cars don’t. You’ll usually find warning systems in one of two ways, one of them is an actual mechanical device, it’s usually a little piece of wire metal stuck onto the brake pad and it will usually cause a squealing noise when the brakes are nearly worn out, some cars have these and some don’t. It’s important to know whether your car has them or not. I don’t even know if you can find that information in an owner's manual.  Those are only found on disc brakes so if your car has drum brakes, which some vehicles do, there’s no warnings and these are kind of unreliable anyway so again it is best to get inspection on an annual basis. Now the other wear indicator which is found mostly on European cars have an electronic system where they have an actual wire, electric wire that attaches to the brake pads and when they wear to a certain point it’ll turn a light on your dash. These are fairly accurate but they’re not perfect. Some cars like a Porsche that we recently serviced had every single brake pad connected to a wire, whereas other makes have only one wire connected to one brake pad in the front and one to the rear or they’ll only do the fronts but not the rears, so unless you know for certain it’s still good to get the brake inspection done because it gives you peace of mind to know, you know where things are at.

Mark: So what does a brake inspection cost?

Bernie: At our shop generally it’s about $67 for cars and light trucks, medium trucks and larger the cost is higher. That’s, that’s the general cost.

Mark: And the brakes will wear differently on like the front and rear brakes?

Bernie: They do, there’s a wide variation and every vehicle wears differently. It’s just really a matter of inspecting to know how things are going and as a car gets older surprises happens, things like calipers will start to stick or brake hoses will deteriorate. These are some of the joys of owning on older car so again inspections are even more important as a car gets older.

Mark: So when I bring my vehicle in what’s included with the brake inspection?

Bernie: Excellent question. So the first part of the brake inspection is asking you, the owner and driver how the brakes are working for you,  interviewing you and getting your opinion. From there a good long, thorough road test to see how the brakes feel and then from there we do a hoist inspection, we remove all the wheels, we measure the brake pads, the rotors, remove the drums, we measure the drums, the thickness of the brake linings, inspect all the hydraulic components like the wheel cylinders, we test the brake fluid for water concentration, look at all the brake lines and hoses. From there we can make an estimate if you need any repairs or just let you know that everything’s fine and you can be on your way or when you’re going to need to do your brakes next.

Mark: And when you do a recommendation you will literally go through and say to people, you have to get your brakes done or you can wait a few months or give them an idea of what’s involved, what’s actually going to happen before you do the work?

Bernie: Absolutely, you know one thing we don’t like to do is pressure anyone but if your brakes are about to go metal on metal or they’re grinding, we’re going to recommend that you have to do these right now; but anything else, if there’s 2 or 3 millimeters left on the brakes pad they could go for a short time. I’ve got a sample here actually if you can see that, this is a sample brake pad, on the green side, this is good, this is on the red side that’s worn out 2 or 3 millimeters: even if you have 2 millimeters you still have a little bit of life if you can’t afford to do your brakes today but you know can do them in a month so we’ll let you know, we’ll give you an idea.

Mark: Awesome, so if you need a good brake job in Vancouver the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can book an appointment at 604-327-7112. Come and check out their new shop with five bays and many mechanics to serve you, they’re expanding and growing because business is great or you can check out their website at pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk again soon.

brake inspection

For more about disc brakes click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_brake

For more about drum brakes click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drum_brake

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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