Under the Hood

presented by Franklin Automotive

Just like everyone needs a doctor that they trust and regular checkups, every car owner should have a maintenance and repair facility that they trust. While a doctor keeps your medical records so that he or she can advise you about your health, a good mechanical shop will keep your service records, and will be able to advise you about needed services and repairs.  This should enable you to extend the life of your car for many years and save you money in the process.

One commonly neglected safety feature on a vehicle are the brakes. While you can follow general guidelines about brakes, all drivers and vehicles drive differently, and therefore create unique wear and tear on their brakes. Some people will wear out a set of brake pads in 8,000 miles, while someone else driving the same model of car may get 50,000 miles. It all depends on the type of driving you do, the terrain around you, and how heavy your foot is on the brake.

The best way to care for your brakes is to have a qualified technician check them on a regular basis, usually when you have your tires rotated (another often neglected issue) about every 5000 miles. If you hear squeaking or scraping noises when you brake in between checks, go by your shop as soon as you can to have your brakes checked. If you ignore these sounds, or the pulsating feeling you get when braking normally, you may damage your rotors (the discs that the brake pads squeeze against) and create a costlier repair for yourself.

Most vehicles have a brake warning light that comes on when you start your car. If this light stays on while driving, do not ignore it because it usually means that your brake system is low on fluid or that there is a problem with the brake master cylinder. Either issue may cause your vehicle to lose power braking or greatly hinder your ability to quickly stop. Get to your mechanic as soon as it is practical and have this checked. While it is possible to do brake work on your own vehicle, it is best to have them checked regularly by a certified mechanic. Saving money is good, but saving your life or the lives of others is better.

Ward Drennen

Owner, Franklin Automotive

2880 Acton Road, Birmingham 35243

205-969-2886

www.FranklinAutomotive.com

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