Common Brake Noises & How to Fix Them

When you press on the brakes, you trust that your car will stop. While regular brake maintenance and inspections go a long way toward keeping you and your passengers safe, braking systems can still experience problems between your visits to the auto service center. Keep your ears alert for these brake noises that indicate a need to fix the issue right away.

Listen For Thumping Sounds

People tend to forget that their car has brake drums on the back that can also wear out. When they are in good condition, you should not hear any noises coming from the rear brakes. However, drum brakes that are going out tend to make a thumping sound that comes from the back of your vehicle. When this happens, the drum may need to be replaced. Thumping sounds that come from the front of your vehicle could also indicate issues with the rotors there as well such as the accumulation of rust that prevents the brakes from working properly.

Check Out Scraping Sounds

At times, vehicles pick up rocks that can become lodged between the rotor and the backing plate. This is especially common if you drive on dirt roads or use an off-road vehicle on harsh terrain. Rocks stuck against the rotor create a scraping sound that is similar to a hard object being dragged against metal. Fortunately, this is usually a quick fix since certified auto repair mechanics can simply remove the rock and check to make sure that there is not any other damage.

Respond to Squeals

There are two main reasons why brakes squeal. If your brakes start squealing immediately after having them serviced, then new or inferior pads could cause this. Typically, new pads will stop squealing shortly after a few drives if they are made from quality materials. The other reason why brakes squeal is usually caused by the brake pads reaching the end of their life. Brake pads have wear indicators that cause them to squeal once they are worn down enough. When older brakes start to squeal, take the car in for ABS brake repair to replace the pads and protect the other parts of the braking system.

Address Grinding Noises

Grinding brakes are never good to hear. Usually, this means that the brake pads have worn down so far that the metal is now coming in contact with the rotors. When metal grinds on metal, the components quickly break down, and you could find yourself in an emergency situation where your car’s brakes stop working completely. At the first sound of grinding, immediately stop driving your vehicle, and arrange for a tow to the repair shop. Not only does this protect you from a serious accident, but you might be able to preserve the rotors if you address the issue fast enough.

A quality brake system should last for many miles before you have a problem. Yet, you must always be alert for signs of wear that indicate a developing brake issue that must be addressed. Now that you know these four warning sounds, be sure to listen carefully as you drive so that you can take action if a problem with the brakes arises.

How Often Should You Get an Oil Change and Tune Up?

An oil change and tune up is a critical part of your car maintenance plan. Yet, opinions can sometimes vary regarding how often these need to be done. While older cars often required frequent oil changes, newer models can sometimes go quite a few miles between tune ups. You can use this guide to help you determine the appropriate oil change schedule for your vehicle.

Watch the Mileage

For years, mechanics recommended oil changes for cars to occur about every 3,000 miles. Now, modern engines and lubricants allow you to drive for longer between oil changes. Since the recommendations for scheduling oil changes can vary significantly from one type of car to another, it is best to check your owner’s manual to find out when you need to schedule a visit to the auto service center.

Consider Your Driving Habits

As a general rule, your car may need more frequent tune ups if you drive in extreme conditions. For instance, towing large boats or trailers behind your vehicle generates higher levels of heat in the engine that cause the oil to get old faster. Off-road vehicles, those that operate in extremely cold or hot climates, and commercial trucks are all vehicles that may need to be tuned up on a more regular basis. Always let your mechanic know about your driving habits so that they can adjust your vehicle maintenance schedule accordingly.

Check the Fluid Level

For the most part, the oil should remain at about the same level between changes. However, you may find that it begins to go down if other parts of your engine begin to wear out. Periodically check the oil level to make sure that there is not a leak in the system that requires repair. You can also assess the color of the oil during this check. If it is dark or looks like sludge, then your car is due for an oil change right away.

Pay Attention to the Dash

Modern cars have computerized systems that include dashboard warning lights that let you know when something is wrong. Today, most cars have two lights that pertain to the oil. The first one simply lets you know when our car has hit the right amount of miles for an oil change. The other signifies a drop in oil pressure, which could be a sign of a serious problem. Since driving your car with little to no oil has serious consequences for the engine, you should avoid driving the vehicle until it is repaired if the low pressure warning light comes on.

Note How Your Vehicle Drives

A car that has bad oil may begin to sputter or make noises as you drive. You may also notice a need for a tune up if the car misfires or the engine fails to turnover during the initial start up. Since a tune up can include services such as changing the spark plugs and sensors, your car may give off warning signs as the time gets close to schedule these repairs.

Keeping up with your car’s maintenance needs prevents more serious issues from developing, and your car relies on oil to keep the engine cool and all of the metal parts moving smoothly. Work with your mechanic to create the ideal schedule for maintenance for your vehicle, and set up a system such as an alarm on your calendar so that you know when to schedule the next tune up.