Mint Hill Auto Repair – How do I know if I need new brakes?


Picture yourself driving down a street, one with a traffic light not too far ahead of you. As you apply the breaks, you realize that you have to press much harder on the pedal than you used to. Sometimes you even have to start applying the brakes hundreds of feet sooner than normally. Has this ever happened to you?  If it has, it is time to bring your vehicle in into Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill for a brake inspection.


Having to apply brakes sooner or harder than usual is the most common sign its time for a brake job. Of all maintenance the automotive industry considers “preventative maintenance,” brakes are the most important. After all, getting new brakes after a car crash is no use.


There are two kinds of brakes used in the modern automobile, “disk” and “drum” brakes. While disk brakes are more common in cars built since the 2000’s, it isn’t uncommon to see vehicles that still have all drums or a mix of drum and disk.


The disk brake consists of two key parts: The brake pad, and the brake rotor.  The rotor is the actual “disk” part of the brake – it mounts right behind the wheel. The other aspect, the pad, acts as a grabber. It applies itself to the rotor to slow down the vehicle. While these brakes have been engineered to last quite a while, they do eventually wear down from constant grinding that occurs when you apply the brakes.

The drum brake works in a similar fashion to the disk, with two key components: The brake drum, and the brake shoe. The drum acts as in a similar fashion to the rotor on disk brakes, it rotates with the wheels. The shoe acts in the same way the pad does on disk brakes. The pad pushes outward against the drum under pressure to stop the vehicle. As with disc brakes, the shoes will eventually wear out and need replacement.

Auto Repair Mint Hill

A Drum Brake from a 1960’s Ford Mustang.

So, how are brakes “fixed?” Once you bring your vehicle into Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill for an inspection, we will determine exactly what your vehicle needs and recommend the required service.  If it requires replacement of pads, rotors, or shoes then that service is performed.  Sometimes rotors can be “turned” or resurfaced and reused with the new pads but if they have worn past a certain level they need to be replaced.


The first step is removal of the wheels. After the car’s wheels are removed, all parts of the brake are accessible by hand. For this car, there are brake discs all around. Our technician will begin the process of disassembling the caliper to remove the pad, and then will remove the rotor. At this point, he’ll measure the amount of usable braking surface left on both pad and rotor, as well as checking for warping or rust. He determines it is time for replacement, and new pads and rotors are ordered. During this time our technician can check and make sure other smaller parts of the braking system, such as springs or hydraulic cables, are also still operable.


Upon arrival of the new parts, our technician will reassemble the braking system starting from the rotor and working his way out. The last step is to test drive the car and make absolutely sure the braking system is completely operable, as there can be absolutely no error in something this important. Safety for you and your family is always our main priority at Manchester auto and Tire of Mint Hill.


Upon completion of the test drive, the car is deemed completed and returned to the customer. If you need your brakes inspected or repaired, feel free to contact Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC. at 704-545-5497.

Ken Manchester

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