How to Test My Brakes After They Have Sat Over Lockdown?

Mar 9, 2021

How to Test My Brakes After They Have Sat Over Lockdown?

How to Test My Brakes After They Have Sat Over Lockdown?

You might not always think about your brakes, but you count on them working properly every time you press down on the brake pedal and they are an integral part of your car’s braking system. If your brake pads become thin and worn down, they will lose their stopping power putting both you and other road users at risk.

However, you can ensure the safety of both you and your passengers by taking the time to check your brakes for signs of wear. Making this a regular part of your car maintenance routine is key and will also allow you to catch the small problems that have arisen due to your car being idle for so long over lockdown.

Listen to your brake pads

You will be glad to know that to check your brake pads for their first trip after lockdown, you don’t always need to hoist your car up as they do at the local garage to have a look because there are a few tell tale signs you can listen out for. Take your car out for a short drive to see if you can hear anything.

Your brakes will have a wear indicator installed which will let you know when the brake pad is worn and needing to be replaced, and when you’ve got a real brake pad problem your brakes will let you know by letting out a screech or squealing noise.

They may even start grinding which is a sign that the material has worn down to the metal and if you ignore this, it’ll create so much friction that it could potentially catch fire when you’re driving.

Test the brake pedal

How do your brakes feel? Push down on the brake pedal and if you find that you need to press hard before your car comes to a halt, you need to have them checked out by a professional. You need to be able to stop your vehicle with ease. Similarly, if you feel a vibration through the brake pedal or steering wheel, this is also a sign of unhealthy brakes.

Check your dashboard

Some cars are hooked up with sensors that flash warning lights when your brake pads have worn past the minimum level.

Visual check

If you don’t feel safe taking your car out even on a short trip due to it sitting for so long during lockdowns, you can give a visual inspection yourself as it’s not too tricky. Firstly, you need to let the brakes cool and while you’re waiting on them to cool for at least an hour after driving, you can check your brake fluid. If it’s very dark, this can be causing problems so it would be worth freshening this up.

You can also do a spot check for brake dust, it’s completely normal for dust to accumulate in the wheel when you’ve been braking as this is the material wearing down. When there are no signs of dust, it’s a sign that the brake pad has worn away completely.

Look to see how worn the brake pads are by getting down on the ground and looking through the wheel spokes. If you can look through the wheel like this, find the calliper and then you’ll find the brake pads pressed against the dist. Take a look at the brake pad friction material and if it’s less than ¼ inch thick you need to see a professional.

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