Brakes top item on vehicle safety checklist
"If brake service is neglected, you're gambling with your safety, and the safety of your passengers and other drivers," says Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.
Brake problem danger signs include:
- vehicle pulling to the left or right;
- odd noises when you apply the brakes;
- an illuminated brake warning light;
- brake grabbing;
- low pedal feel;
- hard pedal feel;
For routine maintenance, it's important to check the vehicle's braking system at least once a year, says the CCC. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.