Brakes are an important part of a car, and it is important that you know how to tell how long they will last from the signs that appear before you. Many aspects need to be analyzed when it comes to the braking system. Following are a few key components, and ways to check them for wear at your next brake service.
Checking the wear that has happened on your brake disks is not as simple as checking the brake pads. Being said that, you could still do a visual check, which will inform you of the major problems. What you need to be looking for is deep scoring on the disc’s braking surface, as well as any uneven wear that may have been caused by metal. Besides, you also need to check for radial cracks, which are the result of overheating, as well as overly elevated outer edges, which are a result of general wear. For accurate results, you can use a micrometer to check the thickness of the disc.
If the car has drum brakes in the back instead of discs, you should watch if any brake fluid is leaking out. Drum brakes are operated hydraulically, and push the brake shoes out. This is why a leak can happen over time, which can sometimes mean complete failure of the braking system. Replacing the leaking cylinders is not enough; you should change the brake shoes as well. Note that checking for wear should be done routinely, and taking the car to an auto repair service is the right way to do it.
Most modern cars make use of electronic brakes for parking, even though there is still a vast majority that uses the manual handbrake. With time, the handbrake cables in the system can stretch, so that the handbrake comes up higher. You can fix this with a few adjustments, but some cars will need to be hoisted. If adjustments do not cut it, then it is time to replace the handbrake cable. Usually, this is a set of three cables based on the car make and model. If you have electronic parking brakes, which are connected to the on-board electronics, then it is best if you leave the repair to an experienced technician.
These are mostly made of rubber and so can perish as time passes. You need NCT/MOT testers who can look for signs of damage, as well as any leaks. This can be done by yourself, but you might not want to start on changing the brake hose, because it is a hard task to complete.