Why Every Vehicle Needs A Mid-Season Brake Check

The holidays have become a memory but brake maintenance looms as a safety concern.

That is especially true for families who ventured on the road during the holidays as well as drivers planning a winter getaway.

“People have been sheltering in place and not driving as much as they previously had,” said Ryan Pietzsch, subject matter expert for driver safety education and training at National Safety Council. “But vehicles still require maintenance checkups and brakes need to be visually inspected.

“Moisture from ice and snow can cause concern for brake systems.”

De-icing compounds--salt, sand and chemicals such as magnesium chloride --can cause corrosion.

“Road slop is the worst part,” Pietzsch said. “When you come back from a drive, I highly recommend cleaning off the undercarriage of your vehicle.

Also, the kind of stop-and-go driving for local errands leads to more brake wear than freeway driving--an unintended result of work-from-home trends during the COVID pandemic.

Car care experts such as Pietzsch have the following suggestions:

  • A sitting vehicle may accumulate moisture and corrosion in the brake system. Get a brake inspection before your next outdoor adventure or road trip.
  • Ask you service advisor to inspect worn pads, leaks in brake lines and damage to brake components.
  • Do your brakes feel “spongy” when pressing the pedal? Do you hear grinding or scraping sounds when using the brakes? Get your brake system inspected immediately.
  • Clean the undercarriage of your vehicle after driving in icy conditions. Road salts, sand and other road chemicals can damage brake systems.