Here’s some car maintenance advice that will help you keep your vehicle operating properly and, hopefully, save you some money.

For starters, make sure your car has the correct brakes and they’re working properly. Today’s cars are composed of highly advanced technological systems.

Your brake system is configured to interact with the other vehicle components and parts car in a certain way.

Brake replacement work can be done just about anywhere, but installing aftermarket brake components not tested and designed for that particular vehicle can harm other parts car and cause problems for your braking system.

Replacement brake components and other parts car are not regulated to any specific performance or design standards. That’s why it’s so important to have brake work performed at a dealer. Technicians go through extensive brake service training that includes familiarization with complex braking technologies such as anti-lock brakes and StabiliTrak systems.

So, how do you know when it’s time to replace your brakes?

There are no specific visual characteristics to determine when a car’s brakes are bad without removing each wheel from the vehicle. However, many vehicles come equipped with a small thin piece of metal attached to the brake pad that acts as a warning indicator. This device makes a chirping noise during brake application and lets you know the brake pad is getting low and should be replaced.

Signs that a vehicle may need new brakes:

1) Poor brakes may cause whistling, squeaking, grinding or pulsing or may make the vehicle shimmy.

2) You need to press harder on the pedal to make the vehicle stop or the brake pedal can be pushed all the way to the floor.

3) The vehicle pulls to one side when pressure is applied to the brakes.

Some reasons for brake failure include excessive heat or using the wrong parts car on the vehicle. Heat can be caused by extreme use (such as “riding” the brakes while driving), constant use in intense conditions (such as mountain driving) or improper calibration. Extreme heat can damage brake rotors and other parts car, leading to more serious and expensive problems.

Tips for making brakes last longer:

1) Replace brakes with original equipment manufacturer replacement parts car designed and tested specifically for that vehicle.

2) Don’t overload the vehicle with cargo or a trailer it can’t handle.

3) Don’t drag the brakes while accelerating.

4) Make sure the parking brake is in good working order and test it often.

It is recommended that a technician perform regular brake inspections every time a car is brought in for service. Additional brake replacement recommendations are outlined in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.