Replace Brake Pads and Rotors – How to Know When

Remember the day you first bought your car? You accelerated your car to an almost irresponsible speed and then slammed on the brakes to see how quickly you could get your car to a complete stop. When it came to a smooth silent stop, it felt like you owned the road and were safe being its ruler. Sadly, that feeling of security can change when the mutinous brakes create massive safety issues within your different stopping experiences. Oftentimes these issues appear when it is time to replace brake pads or rotors.

What are these indicators that will help discover the need for new brake pads or rotors, before it is too late? Let’s discuss them now.

• When pressing down the brake pedal, you should feel some resistance. It shouldn’t be too resistant as that could indicate there is something wrong with the booster system which in turn makes it harder to brake. If you feel a lack of resistance then it could mean a leak, either externally or internally, or that a brake caliper has seized up.

• If you check under the hood, you may find an excellent indicator that it is time to replace your brake pads or rotors. If you can find where the brake fluid reservoir, maybe by experience or from your owner’s manual, you should be able to see the fluid level which could reveal the answer to whether it is time to replace your brake pads or not. If you have new pads, the brake fluid reservoir should be full, and as your pads wear, will be at or close to the low marker. Be aware, though, that if it is below the low marker then this could be from a leak somewhere. Obviously, replacing your brake pads or rotors will not fix a leak, so it would be wise to have it repaired as soon as possible.

Pro Tip: Never “top off” brake fluid. Brake fulid level, between “FULL” and “LOW,” is a good indicator of brake pad wear. At the low mark, your brake pads have worn enough that you should consider replacement. If the brake fluid is below the low mark, then you should suspect a leak somewhere. Replace brake pads and repair brake system leaks before you adjsut brake fluid level.

• When you brake, the system converts your forward momentum into heat which allows you to come to a halt. There is only so much heat that your metal rotors can take before they begin to deform or warp. This overheating can happen by rust, braking on hills or riding the brake, and although not being necessarily dangerous, it can be a frustration nonetheless.

• The very common or well-known indicator that it is time to replace brake pads is a squealing sound when braking. However, a squealing sound may not always mean that it is time for the brake pads to be replaced. For example, it could just be brake dust building up on your pads and rotors or possibly that there are damaged components in contact with the rotor. Brake pads do come with a feature that squeals when the pads are almost ready for replacing. Whatever the reason for the squealing, taking a closer look into the noise would be a good idea.

• Keeping track of the brake pads thickness will help you in deciding when to replace your brake pads. You can probably check out the thickness by using a mirror and a flashlight. Once you hit 3 mm or lower, it is definitely time to start replacing your brake pads. If you wait too long then the pads can start to damage your brake rotors or drums and this would be unnecessary and costly.

 

As you have seen, there are a number of clear signs that show when it is time to replace your brake pads and rotors. Keeping your eyes and hears open to the different indications can be a real time and money saver, and in the long run, a life saver.  When those brakes wear and start instigating a fight between you and your safety, and you are ready to quell the problem, knowing when to replace brake pads or rotors will restore your right to rule the road once again.

How to Replace a Rear View Mirror

Your rear view mirror does much more than help you back up.
Your rear view mirror does much more than help you back up.

When you go to adjust your rear-view mirror as you are leaving work in your parallel-parked car, and it breaks off with the slightest pressure, it can be tremendously frustrating. In fact, your rear view mirror snapping off would be more than just inconvenient. Fortunately, the rear view mirror can be easily repaired if you set aside the time to take care of it. What does repairing your rear view mirror entail?

  • First of all, you want to pick up a rear view mirror adhesive kit from an auto parts store. The kit includes super-adhesive glue (not to be confused with superglue), an accelerant, and some basic instructions. You will also need a couple of tools, including a razorblade scraper, a small Allen key or screwdriver, for the screw on your mirror, a grease pencil or masking tape, isopropyl alcohol, if not included in the kit, possibly a tape measure, and a heat gun or hair dryer.
  • The second thing you want to do in the process of repairing your rear view mirror is getting your car outside and the windows open, as the fumes from the adhesive kit are something best not breathed in. Any old glue from the mirror’s last position should be scraped off, but first make sure to mark the spot, on the outside of the windshield, where it’s at for reattachment of the rear view mirror. (If you scrape it off before marking it, don’t despair, just measure halfway across the windshield and measure 3-4 inches down from the headliner, and mark it.) Make sure to scrape the glass before you heat it as it will be far more difficult to scrape off when it’s warm. Once you have scraped off the old glue, wipe the area down with isopropyl alcohol to clean it completely. Also, clean the back of the mirror plate so that both surfaces are ready for the next step.
  • Now that the glass is clean, the third step is to slightly warm the glass. The glue cures more rapidly when heated, and if it is a cold day, you will need to use a heat gun or hair dryer to warm the glass, but only slightly. Heating the glass too much can actually crack the windshield. When warming the glass up, do it gradually by moving the gun or dryer back and forth across the glass. You can also move your vehicle to face the sun and allow that to heat the glass up as well.
  • The fourth step involves the use of the accelerant. After cracking the inside wall of the vial, allowing the accelerant to flow freely without making a mess, apply the accelerant to your mark. Let the accelerant dry, about five minutes. Separate the mirror and baseplate. Attaching the baseplate by itself makes the job far easier than attaching the rear view mirror as a whole. Apply the accelerant to the baseplate, as well, and let it dry for five minutes. Do not touch either the base plate or the windshield, to avoid contamination. The two surfaces that the accelerant has been applied to are now ready for the adhesive glue.
  • In this fifth step, put one or two drops of glue around on the baseplate and then press it onto the glass. Keep pressure on the plate, against the glass, for at least two minutes. Then, let it cure for at least fifteen minutes. You can use the heat gun or hair dryer to help the process if it is colder outside. You can even let it dry overnight, if you don’t plan on using it, because letting it cure for as long as possible before attaching the mirror is best.

Once the glue is cured, you are ready to attach the mirror to the back plate. Carefully adjust your rear view mirror to match your driving position, and you are good to go! As you can see, if your rear view mirror breaks off, all is not lost. You have the ability to fix it and make your vehicle safe to drive once again.