Auto Q&A: Monitoring your brake pads
How do you know when it’s time for brake work?
The friction material on a new brake pad is typically about 8-12 millimeters thick, and those that are ready for replacement are worn down to about 3 mm. It’s important to replace the pads before the friction material wears out completely, as the pad’s steel backing will begin scoring/damaging the brake rotor if contact continues. Dreamstime/TNS
Q: My Corolla now has close to 40,000 miles and a friend told me my brakes will be worn out soon, if they are not already. How do I know ?
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— Alison B .
A: This may be true, and it ’ mho comfortable to find out ! Brake life is the result of many variables : the type of fomite, how it ’ mho drive, the specific brake slog writing, environmental conditions, among others .
Most brake pads include a wear detector, a alloy yellow journalism that begins rubbing on the brake rotor when the embroider ’ s friction material wears thin. It creates a squealing randomness that is curiously more apparent at first when the brakes aren ’ thyroxine applied. The noise may quickly alternate or be sweetheart. It will worsen gradually to the degree of embarrassment and annoyance. Vehicles not so equip should have periodic inspections !
Checking brake diggings thickness, at least a rough appraisal, depending on wheel type, may be possible by simply looking through the rack spokes with an slant inspection mirror. Better is a close look as the tires/wheels are removed for rotation. Color-coded thickness keys are often used to demonstrate remaining pad thickness to the consumer .
The friction material on a modern brake launching pad is typically about 8-12 millimeters thick, and those that are ready for refilling are worn down to about 3 millimeter. It ’ s important to replace the pads before the clash fabric wears out completely, as the embroider ’ south steel back will begin scoring/damaging the brake rotor if contact continues .
When brakes are to be serviced, there can be many opinions regarding what should be done. If the brake rotors are in adept discipline ( sufficient thickness, polish surface complete ) and no pulsation has been observed when slowing, a bare pad refilling is normally sufficient. If the rotors are scored or pulsation is discernible, they can normally be resurfaced, if remaining rotor thickness is adequate. many shops plainly replace them, as parts prices have become quite reasonable. The downside here is a cheap rotor is cipher ’ south acquaintance. I ’ five hundred prefer a slightly imperfect original rotor over an inferior quality refilling. Or insist on a mid rate or better refilling. same goes for pad timbre !
other brake services may be offered/pushed a well, such as caliper successor, or installing what ’ s known as a “ loaded caliper ” which contains new pads. I believe this to be overkill unless the vehicle has many miles or caliper escape or stickiness has occurred. Flushing/renewing brake fluid is a good estimate in any case possibly each 4-5 years or sooner if specified .
Q: My windshield washer stopped working. The wipers are all right, just no atomizer. How hard would this be to fix ?
— Gene T .
A: This may be reasonably simple to fix, depending on your cause and exemplar.
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If both washers stopped at the same fourth dimension, it ’ s unlikely the spray nozzles are clogged. And since the wipers work, the fuse should be good .
Was any service recently performed under-hood ? If indeed there ’ randomness a luck the washer hose somewhere between the pump and nozzles became kinked or disconnected .
Can you hear the washer pump play, and/or does a muddle look on the land beneath the vehicle ? If not the pump is probable defective. This cylindrical component is normally plugged into the slope or bottom of the washer fluid reservoir. Depending on make/model, this could be a $ 20 separate and possibly pretty bare to renew. If it ’ s a more expensive character or access is inadequate, testing at the pump for a viable electric command would be warranted anterior to substitution .
Auto Q&A: Green, amber and read taillights: Good idea?
Bob Weber, Chicago Tribune
Q: In a late column, a reader asked about having an amber light showing when the driver had lifted his or her foot from the accelerator. twenty-five or 30 years ago I saw barely such a device while driving into Chicago on the Eisenhower Expressway. The cable car in front man of me had something that looked like a traffic light mounted in the rise window. When the driver was on the gasoline the green light was on, when he lifted off the catalyst the yellow light was on, when he stepped on the brake the red clean was on .
I followed him for quite a while and thought this was a reasonably clever and useful device. I ’ ve never seen another one and have no mind whether it is distillery sold, but it was decidedly helpful to me as I followed him on a highway known for situations where traffic speed can change abruptly .
— B.J., Mendota, Ill .
A: I have been to many automotive parts and accessory exhibition and have never seen anything like the item you describe. I would not be surprised if some clever reader spots this column and starts making them. But nowadays, it would have to use LEDs for lights, an accelerometer to detect slowing and possibly tied Bluetooth for who-knows-why or it may not move off the shelf. Would it be legal ? Let ’ s barely say, cipher seems to get a ticket for the objectionable lights they display .
Q: many cars already have a warn that they are slowing down. Some hybrids and EVs light up the brake lights when you take your foot off the catalyst and engage regenerative brake. My Prius doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate, but its regen is relatively balmy. placid it ’ s well adequate that brakes are rarely used, and ours lasted over 90K before ever needing any brake work .
respective years ago I test drove a BMW I3, and it ’ s very aggressive regen would turn on the brake lights. It would actually bring the vehicle to a dispatch blockage. Our year-old Tesla 3 is not quite ampere aggressive as the I3, but still activates the brake lights when you back off the catalyst. The console display shows you the crimson lights turning on when they are activated. It won ’ metric ton quite stop the cable car, but it ’ randomness enough brake that you have to be careful on white, icy or slick roads. And brakes are expected to last flush longer than on the Prius. It ’ s about one foundation drive .
— B.K., Chicago
A: dependable point and one that wholly slipped my mind. Regenerative brake slows the vehicle much more than traditional coast as the grip motors morph into generators to recharge the batteries. As such, some carmakers switch on the brake lights to alert following drivers. Although some people believe that regen braking improves fuel economy, it does not. But it does help to keep the propulsion batteries charged .
Q: Is the E-85 boast sold in Speedway accelerator stations safe to use in cars, specifically my 2016 RAV4 ?
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— B.O., Chicago
A: When I see that low, moo price for fuel, the temptation is to give E85 a try. But unless your fomite is designed to run on E85 ( 85 percentage alcohol and 15 percentage gasoline ) don ’ triiodothyronine do it. only two 2016 Toyotas were flex fuel compatible, the Tundra cartridge and the Sequoia SUV. When in doubt, check your owner ’ mho manual .