At Dow's Automotive Service, we want our Portsmouth customers to have the opportunity to feel comfortable in their vehicle. You can leave the repairs and services to our professionals, but please don't hesitate to ask us questions about why a service is needed or how it occurred. Give us a call at 603-436-9886, and we will be happy to speak with you. Here is some valuable information on brake issues and corrective services Dow's Automotive Service offers.
Anti-Lock Brake System
Anti-lock Brake Systems (ABS) ensure that the wheels don't stop rotating during braking, preventing the car from skidding and offering greater control. If your ABS light comes on, visit Dow's Automotive Service where we will be happy to diagnose and fix the problem.
Brake Fluid Flushes
Brake fluid will absorb water from the air over time, causing the brake system to become less effective and the fluid to become corrosive, possibly damaging the system. It is important to perform a brake fluid flush regularly to ensure that your vehicle is using fresh fluid. Talk to our technicians at Dow's Automotive Service about when it's time for a brake fluid flush.
A brake hose is a tube carrying pressurized brake fluid from the master cylinder to the brakes. A crushed hose can cause a lagged or slow brake, and a leak in the hose can cause the brake, or the entire brake system, to fail. These don't need to be replaced often, but should be replaced at the first sign of cracking or wear.
Brake Pad & Shoe Replacement
Brake pad problems can usually be identified by squealing brakes. If your brake pads deteriorate completely, you'll hear a grinding metal-on-metal sound when braking, meaning that it's too late and you're ruining your rotors or drums! Those with knowledge of auto repair may be able to fix this at home, but you should always see an auto repair professional immediately if you have brake problems.
The brake caliper houses your brake pads and fits around the rotor like a clamp, pressing the pads against the rotor when you brake. A brake caliper problem could cause uneven braking, making your car slide forward when you brake. Uneven braking can also cause your vehicle to slide out of control in bad weather conditions, so contact Dow's Automotive Service as soon as possible.
In a disc brake system, rotors are attached to your vehicle's wheels. When the brake pads grip the rotor, they bring both the rotor and wheels to a stop. However, the friction causes grooves and cracks to appear over time. Resurfacing brings the rotor back to a "like-new" condition, reducing squealing and wobbling. Dow's Automotive Service will give your rotors a thorough inspection and recommend your best course of action.
Brakes Questions and Answers
Q: What percent of brake pad life is 3mm?A: When you purchase a new brake pad, it has a standard thickness of around 8 to 12 mm or about a half inch. Over time, your car's brake pad will wear away. A brake pad at 3 mm or around one tenth of an inch will take around 40,000 miles of driving to completely wear out. Don't wait until then to replace your brake pads. Once your brake pads reach 3 mm it is recommended that you schedule an appointment to get them replaced soon.
Q: Why is my dashboard brake light on?A: If the brake light indicator appears on your dashboard, it's either time for regular brake maintenance or an alert to a potential problem. Stop by Dow's Automotive Service and let us help you diagnose this issue quickly.
Q: Why are my brakes squeaking?A: Noises coming from your brakes do not usually indicate a high-cost auto repair. It could be a foreign object such as a small stone or road debris. It could also be a signal that your brake-pads are wearing out and need replacing. As brake pads wear bits of metal in your brake pad come in contact with the rotor to create a squeaking noise when you apply the brakes.
Q: Why are my brakes making a grinding noise?A: Grinding noises usually indicate that your car's brake system is overdue for maintenance. The grinding sound is usually caused by the brake pad being completely worn away or the brake shoe scraping on metal contact points.
Q: Why are my brakes vibrating?A: If your car shakes or vibrates or wobbles when you apply the brakes, it indicates that the thickness of your rotor is uneven. Brake rotors are large, perfectly round, smooth metal discs that sit inside of the wheels. When the disc has become misshapen or unevenly worn it will vibrate or wobble when you hit the brakes. Left uneven, the material will continue to build on the uneven spots, making the problem worse over time. Come to Dow's Automotive Service to get the face of your car's brake rotors resurfaced to fix the problem.
Q: How do I know if my car is leaking brake fluid?A: If your car does not stop as quickly as you expect you may be leaking brake fluid. This is a serious problem. An important part of the braking process involves brake fluid, which is used to create hydraulic pressure against the brake caliper. If your vehicle is leaking brake fluid, you won't be able to stop safely. We recommend taking your vehicle to an auto repair shop as quickly as possible if it is leaking brake fluid.
Q: Why is my car pulling to one side when I am braking?A: If your car is pulling to one side when braking it may be a bad brake hose or a caliper issue causing one brake to engage while the other is not. This causes a pull on the side where the brake is working properly.
Q: Why are my brakes making a burning smell?A: Overheated brakes cause a noticeable burning chemical smell. Pull over to a safe place and allow the brakes to cool. Ensure you did not accidentally leave the parking brake on. If there's any smoke coming from a wheel, it may be that the brake caliper is malfunctioning and locked in place. In this case, it may be unsafe to continue driving.
Q: What are the 3 signs that brake pads are worn?A: The three most common sounds that indicate you need to replace your brake pads are squeaking, grinding or the dashboard brake indicator light coming on.
Q: What are the 3 types of brake pads?A: There are three main types of brake pads in use today: non-asbestos organic, ceramic and semi-metallic. Come by Dow's Automotive Service or consult your car's owner's manual to determine which type is best for your vehicle.
Dow's has been taking care of my cars for 18 years, since back when they were on State and Middle. They have always done excellent work, and as inexpensively as possible. I have sent many friends there and they have had the same experience.