How long is a stick? That really is how ambiguous that question is! There are no legal definitions of a “brake job”. So anyone that uses that term can define it any way they want. Professional automotive organizations such as the ASCCA www.ascca.com have been working for years to develop legal definitions. You see there are numerous factors that come into play when working on the brakes of a modern automobile. Without a thorough brake inspection there is no way anyone is going to tell you what your car needs unless they already know your car, its condition, mileage, and how you drive it.
The better question might be, “I want my car to stop like it did when it was new. What needs to be done to get to that condition?” After all, isn’t that what you want? A car that stops? A set of brake pads or shoes can be replaced on your car or truck. But it may not stop any better than it did before. In some shops (especially those that advertise one size fits all for brake service work) simply putting on new parts in place of the old ones, is considered a brake job. A truly professional automotive repair shop
would not do that. A professional repairer would talk to you first to assess how and where you drive, who drives the car, and what you do while you drive. (tow, race, etc.) Also he would ask how long it has been since your last brake job. What do you like
or not like about how the vehicle stops. Do you hear strange noises, vibrations, shuddering, pulsations or pulling. And last but certainly not least the technician will drive your car to see how it currently performs. After that, then the brake inspection can begin.
The test drive will allow the technician or service writer to begin his assessment on stopping performance. Next the vehicle will be put on a lift to allow the wheels to be removed. (This is when the true inspection begins) The technician will then check brake pad thickness, wear patterns, rotor condition and thickness. Then he will inspect for lateral run-out and look for fluid leak/seepage. Next he will check for excessive caliper wear or rust. Finally he will check the condition of the brake fluid, the caliper mounting surfaces and the surrounding suspension components. In older cars and some trucks, he would inspect the wheel bearings and grease seals for wear. After all of those inspections are completed, a true estimate of cost for your “brake job” can be written. If you get a quote before your vehicle brake system is inspected in this manner, it’s nothing but a guess.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my safety and the safety of everyone else on the road, I don’t want to hope or guess that my car is going to stop. So the next time you need brakes (or think you do), do the right thing and have your brakes
professionally inspected by a shop you trust.
In an emergency situation you want brakes to stop!
For a comprehensive
brake inspection, call Sturken Automotive at 408-295-7195.