Finding an expert brake repair mechanic near you to regularly check your vehicle's braking system may be the single most important task to save you heavy heartache. Failed brakes are the second most common reason for collision in the US - accounting for more than 1 in every five car accidents. Note, it is recommended that you check your vehicle's brakes every 10,000 to 13,000 miles, but if you are already noticing signs of deterioration then book for a check-up immediately. Early signs of possible brake failure include ABS/brake light on, squeaking grinding noise, vibration while braking, leaking brake fluid, and spongy brakes.
Indeed, searching for a professional brake repair technician in an emergency situation is a daunting task, a quick search on a brake repair service near me directory will save you the hassle. To ensure that the technician you have selected can handle the full extent of your car's brake assessment and repair you should ask the following questions:
Generally, auto repair technicians or mechanics must first obtain a state-issued license before performing auto repairs, including brake repair services. Likewise, some states also require auto repair facilities to obtain an operational license before offering their services to car owners. The scope and requirements for obtaining these licenses vary by location. For example, in California, auto repair technicians that perform brake repairs are required to obtain an individual license, while auto repair facilities and dealers that operate a brake station are required to obtain a separate business license. Similarly, Michigan issues separate mandatory certification and registration for auto repair mechanics and auto repair facilities respectively. Finally, Florida provides a general license for any individual that is involved in major auto repairs, while New York requires auto repair facilities to obtain a general license.
Therefore, before hiring a brake repair service near you, make sure the technician has the necessary license in line with the laws in your area. You can ascertain the license requirements of a brake technician and know if a brake technician is licensed by contacting your state's consumer protection agency. Also, you should ideally hire a technician that has been certified by a reputable automotive repair-related organization like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. While certification from these types of organizations does not absolutely guarantee a technician's expertise, they indicate that the technician has additional training and likely has better experience than non-certified technicians.
Finally, there are national and state associations, such as the Automotive Service Association and Automotive Service Councils of California, that technicians typically join. Although membership in these associations is not mandatory, hiring a brake repair technician that belongs to one is a good idea because these associations typically have and enforce professional ethics and standards amongst their members.
The cost of a brake repair largely depends on several factors such as the type of issue with your vehicle's braking system and whether this issue will require the replacement of parts of a relatively quick fix. Other factors include your vehicle's make and model, the part of the braking system that requires replacement, the estimated labor hours required for the job, and your location. Considering these factors, the average cost for a brake repair service ranges between $250 and $1,500.
When planning to hire a brake repair service near you, there are a few things you can do to make sure the cost of the service stays within your budget. These include:
- Contacting your insurance service provider: Although routine car inspections and repairs are typically not covered by car insurance policies, some insurance companies may make limited provisions for these types of services. Therefore, you can reduce your brake repair costs by checking with your insurance company to see if your policy covers routine inspections and repairs before hiring a brake repair technician.
- Having spare brake components: Besides labor charges, the overall cost for a brake service repair typically includes the cost of getting the brake components in need of replacement. Accordingly, you can reduce expenses by purchasing vital components of your braking system beforehand. However, ensure you purchase these components from the manufacturer or a trusted auto shop. Additionally, ensure you follow the specifications of your car's manufacturer. Note that you may need the assistance of a professional technician in this regard.
The common expenses associated with a brake repair typically include labor charges and the cost of getting new components that need replacement. A brake repair service often entails replacing one or more components of a vehicle's braking system, such as the brake fluid, brake pads, brake rotors, brake hoses, and other components. Each of these components has varying costs and labor hours for a replacement. As a result, some components may be more expensive to buy, replace, or buy and replace. Also, some repair shops may offer a free inspection of your car's braking system to identify any problems, while others may charge a fee for this. As such, you should always confirm whether you will be charged for any inspections, and if this fee will be included in your bill or issued separately.
Generally, a single brake repair technician or mechanic that specializes in diagnosing and repairing car braking systems is enough to fix your car's braking system. However, If you hire the services of an auto repair company, there is always the possibility of more than one technician working together to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Nevertheless, when hiring a brake technician or auto repair company, it is ideal to hire one with credible experience related to your vehicle, and preferably one that specializes in repairing your brand of vehicle. Specialized expertise, a track record of effective repairs, or both, are key indicators that a brake technician understands the complexity of vehicle braking systems and can properly assess and repair your vehicle.
With over 600,000 employees in the auto repair industry, a person generally needs to have certain qualifications before joining the industry and operating as an auto repair technician. For brake repair technicians, this educational qualification is a high school certificate and a postsecondary nondegree award. There is also room for these technicians to develop their basic skills through apprenticeships offered by labor unions, car dealerships, and reputable organizations such as the American Institute of Innovative Apprenticeship. Upon obtaining the necessary qualifications and getting the required state-issued licenses, a substantial number of brake repair technicians also develop their expertise by undergoing specialized training and obtaining certifications from reputable auto organizations such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Additional voluntary qualifications can be obtained through occasional training conducted by credible auto repair companies in an area, city, or state.
Before hiring a brake repair technician near you, it is advisable to first ask for referrals from friends and family members, preferably those that have had the same or similar braking issues, or the same type of vehicle that you do. Doing this helps give you a clearer idea of what you should expect from the brake repair service such as the estimated budget for the service, the possible brake components that may need replacement, and the estimated repair time. Additionally, you can contact reputable local auto repair associations in your state of residence for trustworthy brake technicians or auto repair companies that perform brake repair services.Examples of these types of organizations include the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops and the Illinois Automotive Service Association. However, when you select a brake technician or auto repair shop, it is important to ask them for references from previous customers, particularly references from customers that had similar vehicle braking problems as yours. References provide a helpful estimation of a brake technician or auto repair company's professional service delivery.
Besides referrals and references, review-dedicated websites like Better Business Bureau and Yelp also provide helpful information on the professional service delivery of a brake technician or auto repair company. These websites frequently have reviews from prior customers of brake technicians or auto repair shops, which can help you make better-informed decisions.
For national statistics purposes, the brake repair service industry is classified by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as a subsector of the Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics industry. Accordingly, below are the quick facts for the Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics industry:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A brake inspection is an assessment of a vehicle's braking system to check for any malfunctions or irregularities. A brake inspection can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of vehicle and the brake technician or auto repair company. Brake inspections are normally recommended at least once a year or after every 10,000 miles. However, it is advisable to follow any specific recommendations that your vehicle's manufacturer may have for these inspections. Also, you should always have your brakes inspected immediately if you suspect or detect any anomalies.
Before visiting an auto repair facility or hiring a brake technician, you can make use of both stationary and in-motion tests to find out if there are some irregularities with your vehicle's braking system. The tests can be done in the following ways:
- Stationary testing: Apply pressure to the brake pedal when your vehicle is stationary and notice how it feels. If the brake pedal feels loose, stiff, spongy, or touches the floor, then there is most likely a problem with your vehicle's braking system and you should find a brake repair service near you as soon as possible.
- In-motion testing: Put your vehicle in motion and apply braking pressure to the brake pedal. Not only should you pay attention to whether the brake pedal feels loose, stiff, or spongy, but you should also take note of whether the brake pedal makes a squealing noise, vibrates, or pushes the vehicle to one side when you apply pressure to it. If any of these things happen, you need to find a brake repair service near you for a brake inspection and possible repair.
A vehicle's braking system contains different components that operate together to reduce the vehicle's speed when activated. Central to most vehicle's braking systems are the brake pads, rotors, and calipers. When pressure is applied to the brake pedal, the calipers are activated, which then subsequently activate the brake pads. Once activated, the brake pads pressurize the rotors. The pressure on these rotors affects the vehicle's wheels, causing the vehicle's motion to gradually reduce until the vehicle comes to a stop.
How long a brake job lasts largely depends on the kind of vehicle and how frequently you drive the vehicle. However, it is advisable to inspect your vehicle's brakes after the first 25,000 miles following any brake repair job. Note that a brake job may or may not involve the replacement of your vehicle's brake pad. Nevertheless, it is also advisable to change your brake pads after every 50,000 miles or when you notice any anomalies with them.
Rotors, like other parts of a vehicle's braking system, wear out over time and may need to be replaced. Besides a diagnosis by a brake technician or auto repair company, the following are indications that your brake rotors may need replacement:
- When you apply pressure on the brake pedal, your steering wheel vibrates
- There is a squealing noise each time you brake
- If you notice a crack on the rotor
On average, brake rotors need replacement after 50,000 - 60,000 miles. However, brake inspections should be performed on or before every 25,000 miles of driving a vehicle to determine how long each component, including the rotors, can still last.
Several factors impact a brake pad's life and ultimately influence when a replacement may be necessary. Some of the factors that have the most impact on the brake pad's life are:
- Excessive braking: Constantly applying your car's brakes puts your brake pads under extra stress and makes them more prone to wear and tear. Driving in cities with heavy or slow traffic is an example of a situation that warrants excessive braking. While you may be unable to completely avoid such situations, you should generally endeavor to be cautious of how much you apply the brakes during a drive.
- Excessive pressure: While it is necessary to apply pressure to the brake pedals when braking, too much pressure can affect the vehicle's braking system negatively, including the brake pads. An example of applying excessive pressure is when you slam the brake pedals. Generally, apply pressure appropriately when braking and avoid scenarios, such as high-speed driving, which require that you slam your brakes when stopping your vehicle. If you have to slam your brake to get it to function, then you need a brake repair service.
In most cases, this is caused by worn rotors. Because the rotors are linked to your vehicle's wheels, any rotor anomalies have a noticeable impact on the vehicle. In some other cases, this may be caused by poor wheel alignment or a bad tire. Therefore, if your brakes are vibrating, schedule a brake inspection as soon as possible to determine the exact cause.
Hearing a squeaking sound when you brake mostly happens when there is friction between your vehicle's rotors and other components of the braking system, when the brake pad is worn out, or both. A brake inspection will help you better assess the situation and identify the source of the problem.
Brake fluid is essential to the functioning of a vehicle's braking system because it is the lubricant that supports the movement of the brakes and prevents dangerous friction. However, due to the pressure and heat caused by braking, the fluid becomes less effective over time, and therefore, it is necessary to regularly change your vehicle's brake fluid. Generally, it is advised that you change your vehicle's brake fluid after 30,000 miles or at least once each year. However, if your vehicle manufacturer recommends a mileage or time frame, it is best to follow this recommendation. Note that as part of maintaining your vehicle's braking system, it is ideal to occasionally flush out its brake fluid reservoir and put in new brake fluid. You can schedule a brake repair service near you for this.