How Are Your Brakes?

Make Safety A Priority

Your life is at risk if your car brakes are worn-out. Even a minor problem with car brakes can be dangerous. Whenever you find problem in braking, the first thing you should do is take your car to an experienced mechanic.

There are many things that can cause brake problems and brake failure, however you can determine some of the potential causes on your own. At times, diagnosing or troubleshooting car brake problems can be quite simple, though brake repairing may be not. To keep you on the safe side, here are some simple guidelines to help you identify possible problems with brakes.

Check The Brake Fluid – Whenever your brake lights are on, you should check the brake fluid. The fluid level in the container should not be lower than ‘Min’ mark, and it should actually be close to ‘Max’ mark. Low levels of fluid indicate that brake pads are worn out. Another possible cause could be leakage of fluid. In any case, the car should not be driven if the brake fluid level is low.

ABS Brake Light Comes On – It indicates a problem with the anti-lock braking system. With this, the on-board computer disables the ABS system. However, the brakes still function without ABS. This can be very problematic if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

Brake Warning Light Comes On – It usually happens under three conditions. First, when the emergency brake is on. Second, when the brake fluid levels are low. Third, when leakage occurs in one side of the brake system. For number one, you can simply check if the emergency brake is on. In the second and third cases, your vehicle is in need of a fluids service.

Locked Brakes – Whenever you touch the brakes, the car bends sharply to one side. This can even cause the steering wheel to lock up and create a skid. Locked brakes can be caused by a bad disc caliper, wheel bearing problems, loose or broken brake pads, or contamination of the brake pads. It is a serious problem which should be attended to immediately.

Hard Brakes – This can be caused by an assortment of problems varying from a poor power brake booster, or failed caliper components, to a failed vacuum line. To deal with the problem, examine the floor under the brake pedal. Otherwise, take the help of a mechanic.

Braking Pulls Car To Left Or Right – This can be caused by sticking or failed brake calipers, a weak/collapsed hose, or due to problems with the brake pad. If you find the problem is severe, you need to get your vehicle repaired. If the pull shifts from left to right when braking, it is probably not a brake problem but is more likely to be a suspension problem.

After driving, you experience a burning rubber/chemical smell – Often the cause is burning brakes; however, it can be an indicator of a clutch problem. If your car pulls to one side or the other while driving, simply stop the car and check that the emergency brake is off. It’s time to get your vehicle repaired.

Grinding Noise From Wheels – This can occur because of unwanted particles trapped inside your brakes. It can also suggest that you need to have your brake rotors and pads replaced. Take your vehicle in for a brake service.

Brake Pedal Pulsates or Vehicle Vibrates When Braking – This is possibly due to distorted brake rotors or drums. It could also happen because of overheated brakes or over-tightened lug nuts. If you find this problem in both the brake pedal and the steering wheel, then it could be from the front wheels. Get a brake inspection of your car done.

Brake Pedal Gets Spongy or Soft – It could indicate a minor or a major problem. First of all, check the brake fluid level and fill the container to the marked level. It can also be caused by a leakage in your brake line or a failing master cylinder. In any case, this is a serious problem and should be treated as soon as possible.

Brakes Barely Stop The Car – Similar to the problem of the brake pedal getting spongy. Probably the brake pads/shoes are worn out. Once more, it’s better to take the car for repairing.

Brakes Squeal – At times, dust and dirt get trapped in the wheels. For this, take your car through an automated car wash and check if this solves the problem.

Besides the problems mentioned above, other vehicle brake problems could be automated brake adjusters that require alignment, cheap brake linings, broken brake return or retaining springs, a bent backing plate, and warped brake shoes.

Whatever the problem may be, it’s always better to take your vehicle to an authentic service center and get it repaired as soon as possible. If you have questions about your vehicle, get in touch with us.



What is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is important to the health of your car or truck. All of the elements that make your car go straight are called “alignment”.

If you hit a big pothole, for example, it is possible to bump alignment components out of their carefully calculated locations, throwing out your balance and suspension.

Some shops try to make it seem like rocket science, but wheel alignment is a fairly straightforward affair. The inclusive term “wheel alignment” involves three main measurements — caster, camber, and toe. These measurements have standards that a technician uses as targets of adjustment.

In other words, get as close as you can to the right measurement. The good news is that most modern cars only have adjustments for toe.Caster is the tilting of the uppermost point of the steering axis either forward or backward (when viewed from the side of the vehicle). A backward tilt is positive (+) and a forward tilt is negative (-). Caster influences directional control of the steering. When the rear of the vehicle is lower than its designated trim height, the front suspension moves to a more positive caster. If the rear of the vehicle is higher than its designated trim height, the front suspension moves to a less positive caster. With too little positive caster, steering may be touchy at high speed and wheel returnability may be diminished when coming out of a turn. If one wheel has more positive caster than the other, that wheel will pull toward the center of the vehicle. This condition will cause the vehicle to pull or lead to the side with the least amount of positive caster. Caster is the tilting of the uppermost point of the steering axis.

Camber is the tilting of the wheels from the vertical when viewed from the front of the vehicle. When the wheels tilt outward at the top, the camber is positive (+). When the wheel tilts inward at the top, the camber is negative (-). The amount of tilt is measured in degrees from the vertical. Camber settings influence the directional control and the tire wear. Too much positive camber will result in premature wear on the outside of the tire and cause excessive wear on the suspension parts. Too much negative camber will result in premature wear on the inside of the tire and cause excessive wear on the suspension parts. Unequal side-to-side camber of 1° or more will cause the vehicle to pull or lead to the side with the most positive camber.

Camber is the tilting of the wheels from the vertical when viewed from the front.

Toe is a measurement of how much the front and/or rear wheels are turned in or out from a straight-ahead position. When the wheels are turned in, toe is positive (+). When the wheels are turned out, toe is negative (-). The actual amount of toe is normally only a fraction of a degree. The purpose of toe is to ensure that the wheels roll parallel. Toe also serves to offset the small deflections of the wheel support system that occur when the vehicle is rolling forward. In other words, with the vehicle standing still and the wheels set with toe-in, the wheels tend to roll parallel on the road when the vehicle is moving. Improper toe adjustment will cause premature tire wear and cause steering instability.


Vehicles are always changing. What is a Tune-Up now?

A car is essentially a machine, and as such, it requires a certain amount of preventative maintenance in order to continue to perform. A tune-up is a regularly scheduled opportunity, usually once a year, to do all of the preventative maintenance that needs to be done. Ensuring that your car gets a tune-up regularly will help maintain the performance of your car and extend its life.

A tune up generally includes replacement of several parts on your car. These parts may seem superficial, but failing to replace them regularly can cause decreased performance in your car, and may even lead to other problems.

For example, an air filter should be replaced at least once a year; failing to replace it when it’s dirty will cause your engine to get less and less of the air it needs to run properly. If the problem is left unattended, the air-fuel mixture will continue to run richer and richer —- meaning that there will be too much fuel and not enough air in the mixture —- and eventually cause other parts to fail.

A tune-up should include:

Maintenance that is not included in the basic tune up may also be required, so a yearly tune up provides a good opportunity to check the car’s systems, such as the brakes and clutch; all fluid and oil levels; and the operation of any other systems that are not used or checked regularly. If the tune up is performed in spring or early summer, the air conditioning system should be checked as well, as it likely will not have been used for many months.

A note on newer cars: most new cars use platinum spark plugs, which do not require frequent replacement. Platinum spark plugs are often claimed to last 60,000 to 100,000 miles (95,561 to 160,934 km), or even more. These spark plugs will not need to be replaced with every tune up. Some newer cars also use an electronic ignition instead of a distributor, and therefore do not need a new distributor cap and rotor. For most cars, it is a good idea to check the owner’s manual or shop manual to see what maintenance is recommended during a tune up.


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Winter Tires Make Scents

If you’ve been to our Integra Tire store lately, you may have noticed the overwhelming smell of the new winter tires in there.

Penny (creative genius of Integra TIre Kelowna) did…and the idea of launching our new winter tires like a new fragrance campaign was born!

The ads are appealing to all of our senses…and the sense it makes to have good winter tires on your vehicle.

Much like the new fragrance ads.

Have a listen and click your favourite!  Click Here …  Radio Campaign