Brake inspection can be one of the most important safety inspections you can make on your car, and should be done regularly, at least twice a year. By regularly inspecting your brakes, you will ensure that the car is safe for both you and your passengers. You should also be able to spot any potential faults so that you can fix them before any problem occurs. Here are some tips to help you with your brake inspection.
When you are inspecting your brake discs, make sure the discs are shiny. The thin grooves in the discs should be shallow and regular all the way around. If you spot any rough patches on the discs, then they both need to be replaced. (Even if only one is damaged.) Replacing both discs will make sure that the brakes on both sides of the car work evenly. You should also replace the discs if you find any of the grooves have worn down.
If the brake pads have worn down too much, they can damage the discs underneath. It is important to check them regularly, as they are cheap to replace in comparison to the discs. If there is less than 1/8 inch left on the pads, then they should be replaced immediately.
If your vehicle has drum brakes, then it will have brake shoes. The brake shoes carry the brake lining which presses against the drum to stop the vehicle. When you are doing a brake inspection you should make sure the metal on the brake shoe has not worn down to expose the lining.
The brake rotor thickness is dependent on the vehicle. The manufacturer should be able to tell you the correct required thickness for your car. Every time you replace the brake pads, check the brake rotor thickness with a micrometer. A qualified mechanic will be able to do this for you if necessary. Most manufacturers suggest a 0.3 to 0.6 inch safety margin. If your brake rotors are not within the safety margins, then they should be replaced. On some vehicle models, you will find the rotor specifications printed on the rotor itself.
The brake lines are coated with a soft rubber to protect them. Check the rubber all the way along the line. If the coating is stiff or cracked at any section along the line, then the line should be replaced. If the rubber is not in good condition, then the metal lines underneath can become corroded and will be dangerous.
Brake fluid is designed to assist the braking and has different specifications depending on your vehicle. You should check that you are using the correct brake fluid for your vehicle. Also make sure that the brake fluid is topped up to the right level and is at the right temperature. If the brake fluid boils, then you will have difficulty braking. If the brake fluid is not at the right level, then the brake pads will wear quickly, causing damage. Never let your brake fluid drop below two-thirds full.