The best practice is to ask for a brake inspection for your Toyota every other oil change or yearly. Frequent brake inspections avert catastrophic brake failure. Brake components wear as they convert the energy of motion to heat, dissipating in the airstream. Each wheel has attached a piece that rotates at the speed of your wheels called a rotor. Brakes function by pressing pads against the rotor. The friction generated converts the kinetic energy of motion to heat energy. Pads and rotors become slightly thinner every time you brake. When these parts reach factory wear limits, they must be replaced. Wear rates depend on how aggressively you use your brakes. Because of differences between drivers, frequent inspections should be on your radar. The following symptoms can sometimes accompany incipient brake problems:
- Squealing sound when braking
- Burning smell after braking
- Vibration during braking (you may notice this in the steering wheel if it is from the front brakes or not if the vibration comes from the rear brakes)
- Brake warning light illuminated. (Like any warning light on your dashboard, this requires a quick trip to our shop for remediation.)
- Taking more distance to stop than usual (as brake pads and rotors get thinner, they become less efficient at converting your speed to heat energy and dissipating it. You must not ignore this symptom.)
The brake fluid needs to be replaced regularly. Brake fluid transfers brake pedal pressure to the brake pads, giving you the necessary braking action. Brake fluid absorbs the heat generated when you use your brakes, so brake fluid must be able to soak up the braking heat without boiling. Brake fluid is hygroscopic. It adsorbs water from the air. (Your brake system must be open to the air to equalize pressure changes in the atmosphere)
This drawback requires a regular drain and fill service. If not replaced in a timely fashion, over time, water in the fluid lowers the boiling point and causes corrosion to form in your core brake components. Old, water-containing brake fluid may boil during demanding braking descending a hill, resulting in brake fade. Brake fade happens when bubbles in the brake fluid make the pedal spongy. Under these conditions, to accomplish the same amount of braking, the brake pedal must travel farther and farther. If the brake pedal bottoms out, you have ineffective brakes. Regular brake inspections and brake fluid changes are as significant as routine engine maintenance for your vehicle’s longevity and safety.
ABS and stability control systems use wheel sensors to avoid wheel lockup and help you maintain control in difficult situations, such as wet roads. Our technician will ensure they operate correctly during a brake inspection. Finally, regular hand brake adjustment is necessary to function as it should.
At Fremont Foreign Auto, we have Toyota brake repair experts. Call us at 510-793-6067 or visit our website to get a quote and book an appointment for a brake pad replacement on your Toyota or any service you need.