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What’s Causing That Loud Screeching Noise that Changes When I Brake

by Brian England on Tue, Jan 23, 2018

Not long ago, I walked into the reception area at our auto shop and greeted two long-time customers. After chatting for a while, we eventually got around to the reason why they were there. The wife shared with me that she had noticed a constant scraping noise coming from their car that got worse while braking. Then the husband held out his hand and displayed a tiny jagged stone about ¼ inch long.

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Topics: car is making a loud noise, brakes, inexpensive fix, stone, car problems

Is a Certified Mechanic Servicing Your Brakes?

by Brian England on Tue, Sep 26, 2017

Brakes are one of the most critical safety systems in our car. They keep us from plowing into objects and people. Keeping your brakes in working order requires they be checked at least once a year. But just having them checked isn't enough; who you choose to service your brakes matters. When it comes to brake repairs, it's critical that you select a service center that hires qualified, experienced mechanics. Failing to pick the right repair facility puts your safety at risk!

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Topics: brakes, hydraulic system, mechanical brake system, hydraulic brake system, AAA, quality brake service

My Brake Pedal Sunk to the Floor. Are My Brakes Failing?

by Brian England on Tue, May 30, 2017

One of the scariest moments that can happen while driving is when you try to stop and your break pedal sinks to the floor. When customers are experiencing this issue their descriptions of the problem resemble the following.

  1. While I was stopped at a traffic light my brake pedal’s hardness seemed to fade away, but the next time I stopped the brakes seemed fine. 
  2. I heard a humming noise in my vehicle for most of the day. Finally, after turning a sharp corner, my brakes sunk to the floor.
  3. The road outside of my daughter's dance class is very steep. While waiting to pick her up one day, I was holding the car with my foot brake. Suddenly, the pedal started to sink. I quickly put on the emergency brake, and that held fine. Today, my brakes are working normally again. What is going on?
  4. A few weeks ago I had a "complete brake job" done, but now, at times, my brakes are very low. Did they do a bad job?

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the type of things we hear from customers who have had the unfortunate experience of having their brake pedal sink to the floor.

Among the four examples listed above, three of them are most likely caused by the same culprit: the brake master cylinder.

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Topics: brakes, brake failure, master cylinder, wheel bearing replacement, brakes sinking, brake pedal

Brakes and the Warning Systems That Help Us Monitor Them

by Brian England on Mon, Mar 06, 2017

How do you know what condition your brakes are in?  Do you wait until you hear them squealing a bit as you stop? Do you wait for a warning light to come on?  Do you wait until the brake pedal feels low? Do you take your car in for preventive maintenance inspections every six months or every 5,000 miles?  Well, if you didn't answer yes to that last question, you may be placing yourself and other riders in you car at risk.

Our cars can provide us with a lot of information about the condition of the brakes. There are systems in place to warn us about:

  • The parking brake being left on.
  • The brake pads wearing out.
  • A hydraulics failure or brake fluid leak.
  • A computer controlled anti-lock brake system failure.
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Topics: brakes, brake inspection, anti-lock brake system, ABS, brake service, brake light

Why Did My Brake Caliper Fail After Only 18 Months?

by Brian England on Tue, Dec 13, 2016

One fall weekend, my wife and I were driving north on Interstate 270, going from Urbana to Frederick, Maryland, when we spotted a sign saying "Scenic Overlook." We had some time to kill so we took the exit. It was a nice place to stop because there's a great view of the city of Frederick, tucked into this valley that's bordered by the Catoctin Mountain, the eastern most ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

As we were walking back to the parking lot, I noticed a group of people gathered around a small truck. My curiosity got the best of me, and I wandered over and found an elderly couple explaining a problem they were having with their vehicle. They had pulled off of the road, not for the view, but because the left front brake was staying on all the time making the wheel very hot (and very dangerous to touch). They clearly had honed in on the problem because each time the wind shifted and blew in our direction, the distinct smell of burning brake pads flooded our nostrils. 

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Topics: rebuilt brake calipers, brakes, burning smell, brakes sticking

About this blog

When it comes to auto service we believe that excellent customer service is all about information and relationships. The more you know about automotive services, the easier it is to have a good relationship with your auto shop because you understand exactly what's happening with your car. We hope this blog will help to facilitate a good relationship with your auto shop, whether it's BA Auto Care or any other shop. We're happy to provide you with great information about auto service, repairs, and a few other topics we love.

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