We’re all looking for easy ways to save money these days. Everywhere you look, prices seem to be rising.
If you can take on a few DIY projects at home, why not?
But some jobs are better left to the experts. Your car’s brake pads may be one of them. If you do a quick search online, you’ll find a ton of sites telling you it’s an easy job. They even provide step by step instructions to help you along.
Before tackling this project, ask yourself a question: Is saving a few bucks worth it if it adds risk every time I drive my car?
Changing brake pads at home may be an option if you’re well equipped with the needed tools, and have the knowledge to complete the job safely and risk-free. If not, it might be better left to the experts. Here are a few things to think about before you tackle this job.
Do I have the right tools for the job?
This may seem like an obvious question. You wouldn’t take on a job if you didn’t have the right tools. But it’s easy to start a project without realizing all of the tools you’ll need. Typically, you’ll need:
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Brake tools
- Replacement brake pads
- Replacement rotors if necessary
- Brake grease
- Socket wrench
- Tire iron
- Specific instructions for your vehicle make and model
Whew! That’s a lot of tools for this one job.
This isn’t something you want to sidestep in any way. Today’s vehicles weigh anywhere from 1 to 2 tons. One mistake can cost you everything, so it’s a good thing to put safety at the top of your list.
How complicated can changing the brake pads be?
A lot of savvy drivers have thought this project is easier than it is. But unless you have auto repair experience, it can be a lot more difficult than you think.
Today’s vehicles aren’t simple; they are sophisticated technology with every piece intricately designed to work together with the parts around them. Not only can a lot of things go wrong if you aren’t familiar with the process, but you can skip over glaring problems that are causing other issues without realizing it.
If you hear a grinding noise while pressing on the brake pedal, you might assume it’s your brake pads. Yet after analysis, it might be a problem with your rotors. Are you prepared to notice the difference as you pull the brake system apart?
Depending on the vehicle you drive, you might also have to understand two separate systems. Cars with rear drum brakes maybe a little more complicated due to the additional parts and connections.
How safe do I want my vehicle to be?
Kind of a trick question, right? Of course, we all want our vehicles to be as safe as possible. It only takes one glance at a crushed vehicle to understand how important safety features are.
You wouldn’t put your child into the car without a car seat. You wouldn’t want a loved one to ride along without being properly buckled in.
Do you really want to take the chance that you might not be able to brake properly as you head onto the highway, possibly for a road trip?
Next to seatbelts and airbags, your brakes are one of the most important mechanisms on your vehicle that help protect you in times of need. If your brake pads aren’t installed properly, they won’t be there to do the job they’re meant to do.
That means they may compromise the safety of your vehicle, putting you and those around you at greater risk.
What is my time worth?
We all lead busy lives. We all have more on our plates than we can possibly accomplish each day. That’s human nature.
So why take on jobs that aren’t your specialty?
Consider this: a highly trained auto technician can easily replace brake pads in 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the make and model. They have a trained eye to watch out for little nuances that add to the safety factor as they are working through the process. If they notice an additional problem, no matter how small it is, they can make adjustments to make your car safer.
How long would it take you to do the same job?
Would you recognize other problems?
What if you finished the job, only to realize the brakes still don’t “feel” right? Maybe the brake pedal still goes to the floor when you apply the brakes. Maybe they feel a bit squishy as you apply the brakes. Something is wrong. And now your investment went way up as a technician will have to correct the job you took on.
What a brake inspection looks like
When it’s time to replace the brake pads on your vehicle, it’s more complicated than pulling the old part off, and putting the new part on. With today’s technology, it involves ensuring the entire system is working well to keep you safe.
A trained mechanic will provide a thorough, comprehensive inspection of every vehicle that comes in for servicing. They are trained to spot a problem based on a few tell-tale signs, as well as have the know-how for what to look for as they complete the job. It’s a mechanic’s job to ensure that you’ll have total confidence in knowing it was a job well done when you drive away.
Brake inspection includes checking:
- Brake pads
- Wheel cylinders
- Parking brake cables
- Wheel bearings
- Grease seals
- Master cylinder fluid
Can you do all that?
Is it worth your time, knowing a trained mechanic can do the job the right way the first time?
When it comes to your safety, your car’s brake system is vitally important. Rather than changing your brake pads at home, where you might miss important factors, why not consider relying on a trained mechanic instead.
Your safety might just depend on it.