Most of us take our cars for granted and all too often don’t understand the inherent dangers of driving. For example, driving a car off a 120 foot vertical cliff is obviously dangerous and would likely be fatal. Yet the speed that the car would hit the ground is 60 miles per hour, which is a common highway speed (in South Florida we are known to drive faster than 60 mph).
The difference between driving 60 mph on a highway and driving off a 120 foot vertical cliff is that you have control over your car on a highway, while you don’t when free falling. Braking is vital to this control. This is why you should get your brakes repaired/replaced if you detect any signs of brake problems.
Here are four signs to watch for to avoid a possible accident and auto insurance claim:
Your Brakes Make a Loud Screeching Sound
This sound is unmistakable and loud. If this happens when using your brakes, it means your brake pads are wearing thin. Your brakes have a piece of metal that starts rubbing against the rotor once the brake pads reach a certain thickness. It’s meant as a warning that you need new brake pads.
Your Brakes Make a Grinding Sound
When you hear a grinding or scraping sound, it usually means your brake pads are worn out and metal is rubbing against metal. Your braking power will quickly get weaker to the point where hard braking is impossible. Another consequence is that the repair job will be far more costly than simply replacing the brake pads.
The Pedal Goes to the Floor When You’re Slowly Braking
If you find that your brakes work fine during hard braking but your pedal sinks to the floor without engaging the brakes during light braking, then you probably have a master cylinder leak. The master cylinder creates hydraulic pressure that actuates the brakes. However, when they get old, their seals may start leaking. The leak will get worse to the point where the pedal goes to the floor regardless of how hard you brake.
Your Brake Warning Light Turns On
This light doesn’t tell you much beyond the fact that something is wrong with your brakes. Don’t take chances by ignoring it. In addition, if the light turns off, it doesn’t mean the problem went away. Unlike living organisms, machines don’t self repair. The problem will remain and get worse. Get the brakes checked by an auto mechanic.
Road safety is more than what you do while driving, it’s also about diligent car maintenance, especially of critical items such as your braking system. For more information on safe driving and auto insurance, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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Rob Macoviak is the President of Oyer, Macoviak and Associates. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates is the oldest independent insurance agency in Boynton Beach and has been in business since 1953.