Doug Schroeder
Special to the Sun

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January 14, 2013
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Tahoe car care: How do I know when I need a brake job?

TAHOE/TRUCKEE - Everyone knows the importance of keeping their car up and running properly so they won't have to experience any inconveniences when it comes to traveling around town.

It is one thing to repair to get your oil changed at the proper mile intervals and to have a tune-up after taking a road trip, but are you aware of how important it is to get to take your vehicle into a brake repair facility to have your brakes inspected and serviced?

If you are not sure of when or how often you should take your vehicle into a brake repair shop, then here are a few symptoms you should look for to prevent you from having any accidents resulting from brake failure.

One of the first signs that you should be on the lookout for to determine if your vehicle is in need of brake repair is to check the appearance of your brake pads. You can see them by getting on your knees and looking in between the rims on the tire. If you look between the spoke, you will be able to see the brake pads.

If your brake pads appear to be at least a quarter-inch in thickness, then your pads are fine. If the pads appear to be thinner than a quarter of an inch, you want to take your car in to have your brakes serviced.

Sometimes the first thing you will notice when your brakes are on their way out is a grinding noise when you press on the brake pedal while driving. You may also hear a screeching or high pitched noise when you start to press on the brake pedal when you are slowing down or coming to a complete stop. Those are signs that your brakes are very low and you need to have them replaced to prevent them from failing.

Another common sign that there is a problem with the brakes on your car is when you are driving and you start to apply pressure to the brake pedal, if you start to feel your car pulling to one side instead of going straight, this could be a sign that there is a problem with your brake lines. In this type of situation, you want to get the lines checked and repaired right away.

If one of the lines were to break or fail, you would lose the ability to drive your car safely, since the brake fluid that helps the brakes function has been lost.

If you notice a vibration in the steering wheel and feel the vibration in the brake pedal while you are driving, and you know that your wheel alignment is great, you need to take your car in for a brake repair. The vibrations and shimming indicates that your brake rotors are warped and badly misshapen.

Driving around in any vehicle for an extended amount of time while there are indicators that there is a major problem or two with your brake system can put you and your passengers in danger. To prevent major damage to your car down the road and to keep everyone safe, get your brakes repaired on a regular basis.

- Doug Schroeder owns Tahoe Blue Automotive, located at 10990 Industrial Way, No. C4, in Truckee. Learn more at

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 14, 2013 09:40PM Published Jan 14, 2013 09:39PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.