Your brakes are one of the most important components of your car’s accident prevention systems. They are your first line of defense when it comes to avoiding collisions. This is why it’s so important to take good care of your car’s brakes by performing scheduled maintenance on them. August is Brake Safety Awareness Month, so we at Milex Complete Auto Care want to make sure you’re informed about the best way to monitor the condition of your brakes.

Your brakes are made up of five components: the pads, rotors, calipers, lines and the master cylinder. Luckily, most of these parts usually last a long time; the parts that need the most routine maintenance tend to be the pads and rotors. Your brake fluid is what powers your brakes, by providing the force to stop your tires’ movement. During routine maintenance, the brake fluid, brake pads and rotors should all be checked. You can also check your brake fluid and pads yourself in between visits to your mechanic.

You should replace brake fluid frequently. Most automotive experts recommend changing your brake fluid every six months or every 12,000 miles. They also suggest replacing your brake pads yearly, which might seem too often at first. However, at the average speeds we drive today, brakes get hotter and wear down faster than they used to. Neglecting to replace your brake pads regularly can cause extensive wear and tear on your brake rotors, which are a much more expensive repair.

Routine maintenance can take you a long way, but there are several signs which can indicate something needs immediate attention. The biggest indicator is when the warning light on your dashboard display turns on. By the time you see that light, however, it may already be too late. If you notice odd noises when you brake, that can be your earliest warning that something is wrong with your rotors or that your pads have worn down too low. Your brakes might also begin pulling your vehicle to one side or stuttering as you press down on them, which can indicate they need to be replaced. Finally, if it becomes hard to apply pressure to your brakes or if they are less responsive than normal, there could be a problem with your brake system. At that point it is best to get every component checked for leaks, wear and damage.

This August, take time out of your summer plans to have your car’s brakes inspected. Visit your local Milex Complete Auto Care store to receive advice on the proper care and maintenance of your brakes. In the event of a sudden stop, it is the best protection for you and other drivers on the road.

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