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Category Archives: Brakes

Choosing the Right Brake Pads

So you’ve found out that your brake pads are wearing out, and it’s time for a replacement. But did you know that there are multiple types of brake pads, made from different materials and suited to the different needs of cars and driving styles? Our team at NAPA AutoCare Of Birmingham in Greater Birmingham, AL can help get the brake pads that best fit your car. Here’s a quick guide to help you select the right brake pads for you.

Semi Metallic Brake Pads

Semi Metallic pads can be made from anywhere from 30% to 65% metal, from copper, wire, steel wool and other metal materials. Semi Metallic pads wear out the least quickly of all brake pads, but they also tend to wear out the brake rotors faster.

Low-Metallic

These pads are made from a special formula using about 10% to 30% copper or steel. Low-metallic brake pads are optimal for high heat and friction braking, and ideal for high speed braking. These types of pads are less clean than others, though. Low metallic pads produce a lot of dust and can be pretty noisy.

Non-Asbestos, Organic/NAO

Non-Asbestos, Organic brake pads are made from materials like fiber, glass and even rubber. They’re a lot softer than other types of pads, so they don’t make as much noise. However, NAO brake pads wear out faster and produce more dust than other types of pads.

Ceramic

Ceramic brake pads are some of the most expensive types of brake pads on the market today. Not without reason though. Ceramic pads are generally a superior product. Here are some of the pros of getting ceramic brake pads:

  • Produce a lot less noise than other types of pads

  • Less wear on brake rotors

  • Cleaner than other pads

  • Smooth, efficient braking

There you have it! These are the most common types of brake pads on the market today, and all are suitable for use in commercial passenger vehicles. For more advice on the brake pad requirements of your particular vehicle and driving style, visit NAPA AutoCare Of Birmingham in Greater Birmingham

Posted in   Brakes

Hitting The Brakes In New Castle

Hello Birmingham BDG, let’s talk about brakes. Braking, as all AL motorists know, is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between Birmingham BDG, Clay and New Castle.

Hitting The Brakes In New CastleBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new sedan or truck rolls off a local Birmingham BDG showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the sedan. Birmingham BDG motorists tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of auto manufacturers’ specs that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around AL, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail – a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Birmingham BDG is important for your sedan and your family’s safety. At Birmingham BDG we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Birmingham BDG. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the sedan fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Birmingham BDG cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the sedan to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Clay area interstates and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. AL car owners need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

Posted in   Brakes

Brake Service

Brakes really aren’t optional equipment. And taking care of them isn’t optional either.

A regular brake inspection is on every car’s maintenance schedule. An inspection will check your brake system and let you know if there are any problems. Of course, if you’re having trouble with your brakes, get your car into a Pinson or Kimberly service center right away. And watch out for these problems:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.

There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use, and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced and that can be expensive. But putting it off is dangerous because your vehicle won’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake fluid is also important. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. You should change the brake fluid when your manufacturer recommends it.

There are different grades of brake pads. There are regular, metallic and ceramic – higher grades cost more, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It’s OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that’s lower than what the manufacturer recommends.

Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it’s a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Clay area body shop after an accident.

Posted in   Brakes