It's well known that if brakes go unmaintained long enough, they can stop working entirely and cause you to run into something. However, what is less understood is that several other things happen to unmaintained brakes before they actually "go out." These things are what can make brake jobs very expensive. Therefore, it is essential to treat brake jobs as regular maintenance, and have them done long before problems arise.


What Happens as Brakes Wear Out?

As brakes are used, their pads get thinner and thinner. This is because a tiny amount of material is removed from the pads every time you step on the brakes. Ideally, you will have the pads replaced once they are thin enough to be considered worn out. If you do that, you'll never experience the following events:


The brake pad material gets used up completely – When this happens, the metal backer on the pads makes contact with the rotors of the brakes (the metal disks that the pads usually press against to make the car stop). When the pad's metal backer hits the brakes, the car will usually still stop, but at a great cost: it will make an audible grind and gouge grooves into the rotors. Then, the rotors must be replaced – typically for hundreds of dollars per set of four – in order to restore the integrity of the brakes.


The wheel calipers or cylinders have to protrude more and more – These are the parts responsible for translating brake fluid pressure into the force needed to press the pads against the rotors. Whether you have calipers or cylinders depends on whether you have disc or drum brakes, but the basic principle applies to both. They have to protrude more as the pads wear out, and when the pads are down to the metal, the calipers/cylinders are at their maximum extension. Eventually, this can cause their seals to leak. This is not only an expensive issue to fix, but one that can cause complete brake failure.


Oftentimes, neglected brakes will need all three components, and they'll all have to be put in at once in order to restore safe stopping power. These are new pads, new rotors, and new calipers or cylinders. That hikes the price from around $100-$200 (or less) up to over $500 – and for some vehicles, far more.


As you can see, it's not only safer, but far less expensive to have your brake pads replaced as soon as they start to get worn out. Save yourself a lot of money by scheduling a brake job with AA Auto Technicians, Inc. in Hastings, MN, today! Since 1995, we have provided quality car care at affordable prices to many families throughout our community. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!