Why Do You Need To Check Your Brakes After The Winter?
Most of us are familiar with the normal deterioration process that our brake system undergoes. Friction is a huge contributing factor in this regard. The brake pads and shoes wear off eventually with use and require replacement. Similarly, the brake rotor also gets corroded away slowly and the brake drum surface needs refinishing. However, this is the normal wear process of the brake components and cannot be avoided. What makes things worse is the introduction of extreme weather conditions.
Winter not only brings in extremely cold temperatures but also road salt, moisture, grime, and ice which speeds up the deterioration of the brake system parts, making the system prone to premature failure. This can severely endanger your and your vehicle’s safety.
Why Spring Is The Best Time To Service Your Brake System?
Spring is the ideal time to work on your vehicle’s brake system and here’s why: After the temperatures have reached bearable levels, you have the chance to actually examine the effects winter has had on the vehicle. This also gives you the opportunity to fix the problems in your car before summer arrives. Summer is when you will be spending more time on the road, instead of your garage, so spring marks the best time for servicing your ride and preparing it for the upcoming months.
How Does Winter Cause Brake System Trouble?
Two important factors cause brake problems in the winter; The first has to do with the oil used in the brake system, and the second is because of rust.
Moisture On The Attack
Brake oil works well all the way down to -40℃ so freezing oil is not an issue. But glycol-ether-based brake fluids are hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from the air. The moisture build-up in the system can freeze during cold months and cause the brakes to stick and malfunction. Excess water in the brake lines can decrease the fluid’s boiling point causing overheating issues which can result in total brake failure.
Rust Is The Enemy
Rust is a big issue for all vehicles on Canadian roads, primarily since they are constantly exposed to the elements. Moisture from snow and ice creates breeding grounds for rust to stem on all the brake system components like the brake rotors, drums, lines, parking brake hardware, etc. Road salt accelerates the oxidation process on various surfaces.
This layer of rust can cause many problems with the brake parts. Apart from its unsightly appearance, rust increases friction between moving parts, which in turn increases component wear between the likes of calliper sliders and pads leading to brakes sticking or worse - complete brake seizure. Rust can also decrease the cooling functionality of the brake parts which can cause overheating issues. Pitting in the brake lines and cables can make them weaker and more susceptible to leaks and failure. Failing parking brake cables can even prevent the vehicle from moving.
The repeated freezing and deicing of the rubber surfaces found in the brake system like the piston seals, rubber cables and caliper slider boots can make them brittle and weak and compromises the proper working of the brake system components.
Service Your Brakes
Harsh winters are unavoidable here in Canada and so are the impacts it has on our vehicles. However, we can take active steps towards preventing serious issues by carrying out regular inspections and brake service. The first step to any service is inspection. Check the brake lines for leaks, the brake pads and rotors for wear and verify the condition of various parts. This is followed by replacing all worn or damaged components. The brake service can be done by a professional at your local garage or you can give it a go yourself, saving you labour costs. A properly functioning brake system can give you the confidence to drive better and with greater safety so make sure to service your brakes regularly.
Q) How much should a brake service cost?
Brake service costs can vary from dealership to dealership and garage to garage. The prices also vary depending on your vehicle and what sort of service you are doing - complete or partial, and the components are upgrades to the original, aftermarket or OE. The common factor between all is going to be the labour costs which can range between 100-250 $. If you are an adept DIYer then you can attempt the service yourself, saving you the labour costs and all the components you need can be sourced from our site at incredible discounts.
Q) How often do brakes need to be serviced?
Brakes service is different for every individual and depends on many factors like your vehicle, driving style, loads you carry, road and weather conditions, etc. So it is hard to pinpoint the exact replacement interval. Generally, you need to carry out partial service every 10,000 to 20,000 km or every 6 - 12 months mainly involving inspection of the brake system and replacement of any worn components. A complete service needs to be done between 50,000 to 160,000 km which involves servicing one or all of the brake components like the brake calipers, lines, master and slave cylinders, brake pad and rotors replacements, etc.
Q) How to prolong brake system component’s life?
In order to increase the lifespan of your brake system components that are a few things, you can do like carrying light, coasting, avoiding unnecessary and high-speed braking, etc. For more on this, you can refer to our guide on increasing brake system life.