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Brakes FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions about vehicle brakes that will help you to decide if and when you need to have your brakes checked for safety and performance. Of course, if you are still unsure and have any concerns about your brakes, simply contact your local Tyre City centre and our team will be happy to provide you with further advice.

How often should I have my brakes professionally checked?

It’s vitally important that you ensure that your braking system is maintained and operating at optimum levels. It is a legal requirement that your brakes perform as intended and your brakes will be tested as part of your MOT.

Brakes and indeed braking performance will deteriorate over time and because it happens gradually, many people don't notice the difference in their braking system. Having your brakes checked regularly could also save you time and money by preventing damage to other components.

Tyre City recommends that a vehicle’s braking system is checked at least twice a year.

How do I tell if there is an issue with my brakes that needs checking?

There are several tell-tale signs to look out for that will indicate that your brakes may require some attention. The clues that there is a problem with the braking system typically include:

  • A grinding noise when you apply the brakes, this noise normally means that brake pads are excessively worn and will need to be replaced along with the damaged brake discs.
  • Pulling to the left or right when braking. A pull to the left or right is normally indicative of a sticking or seized mechanical or hydraulic component.
  • You may feel a continuous "pulsating" from the pedal, this "pulsating" feel is usually associated with a distorted brake disc or drum.
  • You may also feel a "spongy" feeling when you press the brake pedal. This spongy feeling indicates that there is air in the hydraulic system due to a brake fluid leak.
  • You notice that your handbrake is pulling up higher than it normally does - in modern cars this means more than 6 to 8 clicks, your handbrake cable may need some adjustment.
  • More obviously, if there is an illuminated brake warning light on the instrument panel it could suggest a fault.

For safety's sake, TyreCity recommends you have your brakes checked as quickly as possible when you notice any of the above symptoms.

Why do brakes wear differently?

Different driving styles and vehicle usage have a dramatic effect on how often your brakes need servicing. For example, a set of brake pads could last up to 60,000 miles or more on a car driven mostly on the motorway, but may last only 25,000 or 30,000 miles or less on the same vehicle frequently driven in busy city traffic. Front brakes normally wear out before rear brakes due to the fact that they handle a higher percentage of the braking load, especially on front-wheel drive cars.

When should you replace your worn brake parts?

Tyre City recommends that brake pads should be replaced if the pad friction material has worn down to a thickness of 3 millimeters or less. Brake disc thickness should be measured and replaced if they measure at or below a safe minimum.

We also recommend that brake discs or drums are replaced in axle sets. Replacing one brake disc or drum could cause an imbalanced braking performance that could lead to further premature wear.

My brakes feel spongy after having them replaced, why is this?

When new parts are fitted, it's vital to drive gently and carefully until they 'bed in', which takes approximately 200 miles. Before bedding in, your brakes may feel strange, spongy and less effective. Excessive braking action on new parts will potentially damage them and lead to a loss of braking efficiency and performance.

How do I book a brake check at Tyre City?

Simply contact your local Tyre City centre and we will be more than happy to book your car in for a brake check.

In these busy times it's not always possible to get your vehicle booked into the service department of your franchise dealer as quickly as you need to, even when your brake warning light is on! Or you may wish to check your braking system in advance of an MOT, before a long journey, or just as part of an ongoing maintenance routine.

Whatever the reason, just call or pop in to your nearest Tyre City branch when it is convenient for you, no appointment is necessary and one of our expert brake technicians will carry out a no-obligation brake check. After the inspection we will provide you with a written brake report and a quote for any work which is required.