Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - April 2011


The spring car care clinics are underway and going very well. There is still time to make one if you or a friend is thinking about it as they end in early June. Be sure to go to to see if there is a clinic near you.

This month’s topic is brakes. Your braking system is a major safety component of your vehicle and they need to be taken care of. When you take your vehicle in for an oil change the technician will often do a visual inspection of your braking system to let you know when you may need to replace your brakes. If you aren’t sure whether they do this be sure to ask your service advisor. There are a lot of factors that will determine how quickly your brakes wear out. How you drive your vehicle, the quality of parts and the type of driving conditions you drive in will impact brake wear. I will expand on these further in the newsletter. Last but not least, you have two types of braking systems, disk brakes that use brake pads and drum brakes that use brake shoes. I was recently at a meeting and someone asked me why brake shoes are called brake shoes? I have no idea…….do you? If so, email me! This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



This month's topic: Brakes

As mentioned earlier your braking system is an important safety feature on your vehicle but more often than not we don’t really give a lot of thought to them as long as they stop us when we put our foot on the brake pedal.

Let’s first talk about the brake fluid. This is an often ignored fluid in our vehicle. Brake fluid is designed to reach very high temperatures (in excess of 200 degrees Fahrenheit). What happens in the brake fluid reservoir is that it sweats and you get water in the fluid which ultimately decreases the boiling temperature of the fluid. If you are on a major road trip and are using the brakes a lot you could “boil” the fluid and lose your brakes. This used to happen to me in the race car occasionally. Let me tell you, having no brakes going into a high speed turn isn’t a very good feeling. So, on my race team we changed the brake fluid after every race. In the real world, the general guideline is 50,000kms. Shops have test strips they can use to check water content in your fluid. The shop will usually suggest a brake fluid flush when you are having a brake job done on your vehicle.

There are two types of braking systems on a vehicle. You may have both or just one. There are disk brakes and drum brakes. Your vehicle may have disk brakes all the way around or you may have disk brakes on the front and drum brakes on the rear. Disk brakes will always be on the front as it is the front brakes that do the majority of the braking since the weight transfers forward when you brake. This is why you will typically replace your front brakes twice before you replace the rear brakes. Drum brakes are “old” technology and less expensive. This is why you may see drum brakes on the base model of a vehicle but as you move up in trim levels you will see disk brakes all the way around the vehicle. When you take your vehicle in for a brake job what typically happens is this. The technician will install new disks and pads, and service the calliper. The calliper is what pushes the pads onto the rotor when you apply the brakes. If the technician tells you the calliper is seized then it will need to be replaced as well. With drum brakes the technician will replace both the drum and the shoes.

Something to keep in mind is that price isn’t everything when having your brakes done. If there is a huge price difference you may want to ask yourself why? Like anything, there are different qualities of brakes. Ultimately, you want to develop a relationship with the shop you go to and develop trust in that they are going to take care of you and your needs. It’s just like finding a good family doctor!

The last thing I wanted to mention here is that if you drive in “stop and go” traffic or in town you will wear out your brakes quicker than a person who does mainly highway driving at highway speeds. Also, if you are a person who doesn’t look very far ahead and needs to apply the brakes hard on a consistent basis you will wear your brakes out quicker. Squeezing the brake pedal and looking far ahead will help you save your brakes. So think about that next time you are approaching an intersection….how far ahead are you looking and are you anticipating what’s coming up?:-)

Take care of your car and it will take care of you!






ABS brakes stand for Anti Lock Brakes, not Automatic brakes. It was first developed in 1929 in the aviation industry and was first used on a vehicle in 1972. ABS brakes allow you to brake and STEER provided you look where you want to go! If your ABS light is permanently on your dash putting black take over it won’t fix the problem. See your technician.


This months photos:


What are these four parts of the braking system?

Pads, Shoes, Disk, Drum









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