Close

Brakes

Do I Need to Change My Brake Fluid?

Change Brake Fluid with Thunderbird Automotive

While every manufacturer doesn’t include a reminder to change brake fluid in their maintenance schedules and owner’s manuals, that doesn’t mean that the task should be skipped. If you’re unsure of whether or not you should change your brake fluid, and why the task matters in the first place, you can trust the experts at Thunderbird Automotive Specialists. Brake Fluid 101 Brake fluid makes sure that, when you press the brake pedals in your car, your car actually stops. Since a good deal of force and pressure are needed to stop a vehicle in motion, brake fluid is an important part of every vehicle. Just like other fluids and oils in your car, brake fluid degrades in quality over time. Brake fluid can absorb moisture in the brake lines and eventually lead to corrosion and a decline in the efficacy of your brakes. How Do You Check Brake Fluid Levels? Most owner’s manuals give guidelines for checking brake fluid levels, so you should start by checking that first. The reservoir can appear similar to the windshield-wiper fluid reservoir, but it should be clearly labeled so you can tell what it is. As brake fluid ages, it will turn in color from clear to a yellow color, and finally dark and cloudy when the quality has gone down. If you are concerned that about your brake fluid, you can use testing strips or take your car in for a service at Thunderbird Automotive Specialists. Do I Need to Change My Brake Fluid? Since brake fluid is so critical, you should change it on a regular basis. If you are driving with old or bad brake fluid, compressing the pedal to brake will feel different. If you notice that it is taking more time or pressure than usual to stop your car, […]

Read More

Why Do My Brakes Pulse?

Car Brakes with Thunderbird Automotive

You’re driving down the road, and you press down on the brake pedal only to find that the pedal is pulsing beneath your foot. What does that mean? When your brakes pulse, it’s easy to worry about a warped brake rotor. However, the culprit could be something totally different. What are the most common reasons why brakes pulse, and how can you tell what the issue with your car or truck is? Ideal Brake Conditions Before you can understand why warping occurs, you need to know how brakes are designed to work. All car and truck brakes are made to function best in a specific temperature range. As a result, all of the friction materials used are designed with that range of temperatures in mind. During normal use of brakes, friction material will go from the brake pad to the rotor and create a thin layer of friction material on the rotor itself. If the brake pads are overheated, the friction material will not evenly transfer from pad to rotor. Uneven deposits can lead to warping on the brake rotor. Warped Brake Rotor Warped brake rotors are any rotors that are not completely flat and totally parallel with the plane rotation. Anything from improper installation of the wheel to an uneven transfer from friction from the pad to the rotor can cause a brake rotor to warp. Modern brake rotors are designed with less material, particularly at the friction service. As a result, they are much more susceptible to warping as a result of high heat and too much lug nut torque. If your lug nuts were over tightened, or your brake rotor has undergone a great deal of wear and tear, it might be time to replace what you have. Anti-Lock Brakes Does your car have anti-lock brakes? If […]

Read More

Why Do My Car Brakes Make Noise?

Car Brakes with Thunderbird Automotive

What’s that squeaking sound? Did you hear that rattle? Am I the only one hearing the grinding noise? When your car brakes start making noise, it’s hard to keep calm. However, there are a number of things that can contribute to brakes making strange sounds, and not all of them require major repairs. Why are your car brakes making noise? Brakes 101 Brakes have one of the hardest jobs in your car or truck, as they regularly undergo a great deal of force and generate a lot of heat as a result. Whenever you press down on your brake pedal, the energy that your car created moving down the road is converted to heat through friction. Stopping on a highway or even stopping on a residential street can make your brakes surprisingly hot! The abuse that your brakes take every time you slow down means that a certain amount of noise is reasonable, but some sounds are never good to hear. Grinding A grinding sound when you use your car brakes is a sign of a serious problem, and you should take your car in right away. A loud grinding noise could be caused by the rotor disc making direct contact with the calipers. This can happen due to a lot of wear on the rotors or the brake pads. If the sound only occurs when actively braking, this could be the problem. A grinding noise can also occur if a small stone or foreign object is lodged in the caliper. Car brakes with a stone stuck in the calipers will typically make a constant screeching or grinding sound whenever the vehicle moves. In both cases, you should take your car in to have the problem fixed instead of troubleshooting it yourself. Rattling Car brakes that rattle are not always […]

Read More