5 Things Every Oregon Driver Needs to Know About Brakes - Carr Subaru Service Questions

Brake Check: 5 Things Every Driver Should Know about Their Brakes | Carr Subaru in Portland, OR

Today's modern cars are loaded with safety tech, from airbags and traction control to new technologies like EyeSight® driver assistance and blind spot monitors. But the most important safety feature on every car, new or old? The brakes. On this page, the experts at Carr Subaru have compiled our five most important things to know about how your car's brakes work and how to take care of them. Take care of your Subaru and it'll take care of you, thanks to an incredible reputation for longevity and safety!

#5: How the Anti-Lock Brakes work in your Car

Frictional forces are used to slow the rotation speed of your vehicle's wheels, and therefore slow and stop your car. In an emergency stop scenario, drivers may exert so much force on the brakes that the wheels "lock up" - that is, the wheels stop rotating instantly. The trouble is, your vehicle still has momentum. Instead of rolling forward in a controlled manner, this could cause your car to go into an uncontrolled skid before stopping. This can be dangerous! To prevent this, the anti-lock brake system reacts to wheel lock. When it detects that a wheel has stopped rotating suddenly, it'll rapidly pulse the brake on and off automatically. This allows your car to slow down in a safe, controlled manner.

If you see the ABS warning light in your dashboard, be aware that there's a problem with your ABS system. Your brakes will still function properly, but you'll want to be extra careful not to lock up the wheels until you can have your vehicle serviced.

Subaru brake questions and what to know
Subaru brake safety tips

#4: Boiling Brake Fluid

When you press the brake, it's brake fluid that directs the pressure from your foot to the brakes themselves. You might never need to service the brake fluid in your car - but you should know that brake fluid is hygroscopic. Which means that it absorbs water from the moisture in the air.

The brake system is closed on a modern car, but a small hole or leak in the brake lines could allow moisture into the system. With enough moisture in the system, the brake fluid could begin to boil under pressure, since water boils at a much lower temperature. Boiling brake fluid can be the cause of brakes that respond well initially, but rapidly "fade" and stop providing stopping power. A small device can be inserted into the brake fluid reservoir to test for the presence of water in the system.

#3: Don't Forget the Emergency Brake!

Sometimes called the handbrake, parking brake or e-brake, the emergency brake is an oft-neglected part of your car - but it's an important one, especially when parking on an incline. It works just like your car's regular brakes: via friction. Over time, the e-brake will wear out, and it's often worn out faster by accidentally driving with the emergency brake left on, or by using the e-brake as a handbrake.

If your car still rolls despite the pulling as hard as you can on the brake lever (or pressing as hard as you can on the parking brake pedal), you'll simply need to have the friction element in the parking brake replaced. It's that easy.

Learn what you should know about Subaru brakes

#2: Brake Pad Replacement Intervals

In general, when you visit a Subaru authorized service center for an oil change or other service, an inspection will be performed that includes a look at your brake pads. These wearable components need to be replaced when the friction material has worn away. You'll be notified if your brake pads are approaching time for replacement. But it's always a good idea to know the manufacturer's recommended mileage interval for replacing them. Check your owner's manual and be sure to replace your brake pads if it's been longer than the recommended mileage since your last brake pad change.

#1: Your Brake Pads will Talk to You

"Old cars just squeak," you've probably thought to yourself. And since it seems like somebody's car is chirping and squeaking at every intersection, it's easy to ignore. But if the squeaking is coming from your car, check the brake pads! That noise is actually caused by a design feature: As the friction material wears off, a metal tab will begin to rub along the rotor, making this tell-tale squeak. That means it's a good time to have your brakes serviced and have new brake pads installed.

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Carr Subaru

11635 SW Canyon Rd
Directions Beaverton, OR 97005

  • Sales: (503) 672-3370
  • Service: (866) 460-0188
  • Parts: (888) 627-4707
  1. Carr Subaru

    11635 SW Canyon Rd
    Beaverton, OR 97005

    • Sales: (877) 271-4560

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