Five Tips For Your Winter Brake Inspection

The telltale signs that the brakes are struggling--squealing during stopping or a vibrating brake pedal--can happen any time of year. But responsive brakes take on added importance in the winter when there’s even less margin for error behind the wheel.

“Something like a vibrating brake pedal is a sign to head over to a service station,” said Tony Molla, vice president of the Automotive Service Association, a Texas-based nonprofit devoted to vehicle maintenance.

Friction of braking process eventually degrades the system’s shoes, fluid and hoses.

“Don’t have to wait until your brake icon lights,” he said. “A routine inspection before winter roots out potential problems.”

Molla’s suggests the following items during your next brake inspection:

  • Look at condition of brake hoses. These hoses carry fluid to and from various braking components. Underperforming hoses create an inefficient stopping system.
  • Check the master cylinder. This reservoir beneath the hood stores the brake fluid and needs to be periodically checked for leaks and wear.
  • Inspect brake fluid lines. Brakes are a hydraulic system that requires fluid to function. Leaking or damaged brake lines degrade the whole system’s ability to function.
  • Identify wear and tear on all brake-related parts. Friction and heat can wear unevenly on brake parts and contaminate brake fluid.
  • Test parking brake. Ask your service advisor to check the system to make sure it’s working properly.