Yes, now is the time to do a maintenance checkup on your car; as winter approaches we want that car running perfectly, right?  Part of any maintenance checkup is the checking of the braking system.  This would include checking the brake pedal, brake fluid level, hoses, lines, and wheel brake assemblies.  The whole brake checkup should be done twice a year; the brake fluid should be checked weekly.

The brake pedal height is the first thing you need to check.  If you check your owner’s manual it should tell you the specifications on the height.  Use a ruler and check yours; if they do not meet suggested specs it could mean worn out pedal bushings, or a return spring in need of adjustment.

The brake fluid needs to be checked on a regular basis because those brakes are going to fail if the fluid is low or non-existent.  The fluid reservoir is located on the driver’s side of the engine, and is attached to the brake booster on the firewall.  It should read between low and full, and be about ¼ inch from the top of the container.  If you have to add fluid, make sure it meets the suggested specifications.

Check the brake lines that lead from the master cylinder to the four wheels.  Looks for leaks along the lines and hoses, and also check behind the wheels where the lines connect to the brake assemblies.  Also remove one tired and check the wheel cylinders and pistons.

As for the brake assemblies, remove one front and one rear wheel, and inspect the disc brakes for wear and cracks.  Take the brake drum off and inspect for damage, and make sure the pad on the brake shoes is at least 1/16th inch thick.  Also look for wet spots that would indicate a leak of some sort.

Truthfully, the whole brake inspection should take you about two hours, but it is a very important use of two hours.  If those brakes fail then you are in danger, so please take the time to do this maintenance task twice a year.

For used brake parts, go to your local salvage yard, like All Import Auto Parts, and pick up the replacement parts that you need.  Why pay more when used parts at a reputable salvage yard are guaranteed?  You pay less and you drive away in confidence.  That, my friends, is a great deal