Brake Maintenance and Safety in Calgary: Ensuring Reliable Stopping Power

Brake Maintenance and Safety in Calgary: Ensuring Reliable Stopping Power

Hey, Calgary drivers! Have you ever thought about what really happens when you hit the brakes? It’s more than just a simple push of a pedal. Your brakes are a lifeline, especially in our city, where the weather and terrain can change in a heartbeat. 

This guide from Mint Auto will give you the lowdown on how brakes work, why they might be acting up, and some special things to consider, given Calgary’s unique conditions. Whether you’re a daily commuter or a weekend mountain explorer, read on to ensure you’re always stopping safely and efficiently.

The Basics of Brake System Function

Your vehicle’s braking system is meticulously crafted to decelerate tons of moving metal with a mere pedal press. Each component plays a distinct role in ensuring safety and reliability: 

  • Disc Brakes: Used in modern cars, disc brakes use calipers to squeeze brake pads against a rotor. This friction slows the vehicle. 
  • Drum Brakes: Common in older models, drum brakes utilize shoes pushing outward against a spinning drum. 
  • Brake Fluid: Brake fluid transfers force from the pedal to the brakes. This fluid needs periodic checks.
  • Brake Pads and Shoes: Essential for braking efficiency, brake pads, and shoes endure a lot of friction. They wear over time and require checks. 

Signs Your Brakes Might Need Attention

Your vehicle has a language of its own. It communicates, gives signals, and sometimes even shouts for attention. Brakes can offer a chorus of warning signs that you should readily recognize:

  • Squealing or Grinding Sounds: A high-pitched squeal or a grinding sound often indicates worn-out brake pads or rotors. If ignored, this issue could lead to more expensive repairs or even brake failure.
  • Vibration in the Brake Pedal: If your brake pedal vibrates or pulsates when you're coming to a stop, this might indicate warped rotors. This wear can result from severe braking, like driving down a mountain for extended periods.
  • Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal: If your brake pedal feels softer than usual or sinks to the floor when pressed, there might be air in the brake lines or an issue with the brake fluid.
  • Sluggish Stops: One of the most alarming signs is when your vehicle hesitates or takes noticeably longer to come to a complete stop. This delay signals a problem and puts you at immediate risk.
  • Dashboard Warning Lights: An illuminated brake light could signal anything from the handbrake being engaged to potential brake fluid leakage. Never ignore a lit brake warning light on your dashboard. It’s an immediate sign to get your brakes inspected.

Calgary-Specific Brake Concerns

Our dynamic climate and varied terrains present a distinctive set of challenges to your vehicle’s braking system.

Here's a look at some concerns every Calgarian driver should be mindful of:

  • Winter Woes: Calgary's winters are notorious for their icy bite and the salt and snow on the roads. While salt effectively combats ice, it also accelerates corrosion on metal brake components. Meanwhile, compacted snow can accumulate around brake parts, reducing their efficiency.
  • Summer Strains: Contrary to popular belief, summer isn’t necessarily kinder to brakes. Heat can worsen brake fade, a condition where brakes lose stopping power due to overheating. Prolonged exposure to higher temperatures can also cause brake fluids to break down faster.
  • Temperamental Tempes: The frequent temperature fluctuations in Calgary are more than just a conversation starter. Drastic changes, especially the biting cold, can influence brake fluid viscosity and rubber component flexibility. This can lead to decreased responsiveness and increased wear.
  • A Rocky Affair: Calgary's proximity to the Rockies means many indulge in mountain drives. However, descents down steep slopes are an immense challenge to your brakes. Ensure your brakes are in optimal condition before going on your mountainous adventures.

Brake Maintenance and Safety Tips

Your vehicle's brakes aren't just another component - they're a lifeline. For peak performance and utmost safety, it's crucial to give your brakes regular attention. Here's a streamlined maintenance guide:

Regular Inspections:

Annually or every 20,000 km.

Focus on pads, shoes, rotors, and brake lines.

Brake Fluid:

Check your brake fluid yearly. Low levels might indicate leaks or worn pads.

Flush every two years or 50,000 km to remove moisture and contaminants.

Mint Auto Service: Your Brake Maintenance Experts

Mint Auto offers comprehensive brake system evaluations. Our expert technicians are dedicated to ensuring your vehicle provides reliable stopping power for all Calgary road conditions. If you suspect any issues or it’s been a while since your last brake check, book an inspection now.

Request an appointment at any of our two Calgary locations: 

Bowness | Westbrook | Southeast 

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