FAQ Brakes

How can I tell if my brakes need attention?

If your dashboard shows an illuminated brake warning light you should bring it into a centre to be diagnosed asap.

Other signs include a grinding noise when you apply your brakes which may indicate that the pads are excessively worn. If the car pulls to the left or the right, it probably means your brakes need some attention as they are sticking or seizing.

Finally, if you feel a sponginess in your brake pedal or a continuous pulsing, this may indicate a brake fluid leak.

How long do brake discs last?

Break discs are a crucial part of a car’s breaking system, a car’s brake pads clamp down onto the brake discs in order to stop the wheels from spinning. As is the case with brake pads, it is very difficult to predict how long a brake disc will last - different vehicles and different driving styles will all influence this. Generally a vehicle’s brake discs will last for longer than its brake pads, but once they start to run thin you may notice your car start to pull to one side. If you’re unsure about the condition of your brake discs why not click below to book a free brake test at your nearest centre:

Further Information

How often should I change brake fluid?

Brake fluid is an important, and sometimes neglected, fluid that is that is vital for safe driving. Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture, decreasing its effectiveness and decreasing the power of your vehicles brakes. Different manufacturers have different recommendations on when you should change your brake fluid – some recommend every 20,000 miles, some up to 50,000 miles, and some every 2-3 years. Here at Kwik Fit we would recommend changing your brake fluid every 2 years to ensure safety on the road.

What are brake pads made of?

There are three main types of brake pad:

  • Metallic/Semi-Metallic Brake Pads: These are the most common form of brake pads, typically made with a mixture of iron, copper, steel, graphite and brass, bonded together with a resin. Metallic pads are a cost-effective and durable option, making them the best option for standard, every day driving. They are however a heavy option
  • Organic Brake Pads: These are made from non-metallic components such as glass, rubber and Kevlar, also bonded using resin. Organic brake pads are eco-friendly and non-harmful to the environment, however they are not very durable and do not perform as well as other brake pads making them best suited for lightweight vehicles in lighter traffic conditions.
  • Ceramic Brake Pads: These pads, comprised of ceramic fibres are very durable and extremely lightweight, providing excellent performance under harsh braking conditions. They are typically very expensive making them more suitable for performance vehicles rather than everyday driving.

What are regenerative brakes?

Regenerative brakes, found in electric cars, is a braking system that allows the energy used when slowing down to be stored and later used. In a traditional braking system, every time you press the brake pedal the kinetic energy that was previously pushing the car forward must be dispelled in order to slow down – the majority is dispelled as heat energy which is wasted. New technology in electric cars has allowed this heat energy to be converted into electricity and transferred to the car battery, allowing more distance to be travelled from a full charge.

What is a parking brake?

A parking brake, also known as a handbrake or emergency brake, is a braking mechanism used to keep a vehicle secure and motionless when parked. A vehicle’s parking brake will normally be situated between the front seats, or sometimes as a pedal to the left of the clutch pedal (or the left of the brake pedal in an automatic). The parking break controls the rear brakes, and is a completely separate mechanism to the vehicles regular brakes. It should be used when parking to ensure that the wheels remain locked and the vehicle stays stationary when parked.

What is brake horsepower?

Brake horsepower (BHP) is a commonly used term when discussing the power of an engine. Whereas horse power (HP) refers to the total power of an engine, BHP it is a measurement of how much ‘useful power’ is produced by an engine. It is calculated by taking the total power and allowing for the loss of power that occurs through friction in the engine’s mechanical parts, such as the generator, gear box, and water pump.

What is braking distance?

Braking distance refers to the distance your vehicle travels after you have applied the brakes until it comes to a stop, not to be confused with stopping distance which refers to the thinking time and braking time combined. The faster your vehicle is travelling the more time it will take to stop and therefore the longer your braking distance will be. Typical braking distances can vary from 12 meters (driving at 20mph), to 75m (travelling at 70mph) and even further than this. It is also important to consider that factors such as the grip of your tyres, the quality and condition of brakes, road conditions and weather conditions can all influence braking time. To ensure that your brakes are in a suitable condition why not book a free brake test at your local Kwik Fit centre:

Further Information

What is covered on my brake warranties?

Please refer to this page for more details.

Further Information

What is engine braking?

The term engine braking is used to describe the action of slowing a car down by releasing the accelerator and shifting down through the gears, without using the brake pedal. It is a good way to maintain control of the vehicle while gradually slowing down without putting unnecessary strain on the brakes.

What is the lifetime guarantee on brakes?

Kwik Fit offers a lifetime brake guarantee to ensure your brakes are always at their best. Get your brake pads or shoes fitted at Kwik Fit, and we will replace these parts absolutely free whenever they wear out, for as long as you own the car.

When are anti-lock brakes most effective?

Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) have been gradually introduced to new cars since the 1970’s, but has been mandatory under EU law since 2004. ABS uses sensors to detect and prevent wheels from locking up, allowing the driver to maintain control of the car while in low grip situations. ABS is most effective when braking firmly and promptly until you’ve stopped, for example when performing an emergency stop. You will feel the brake pedal judder under your foot when ABS is engaged.

When will you feel the effects of engine braking?

Engine braking is a term used to describe slowing a car down by releasing the accelerator and shifting through the gears, rather than using the brake pedal. When the accelerator pedal is released the air flow to the engine cylinders is restricted, creating a braking force that begins to slow the car. You will feel the effect of engine braking the most when you switch to a lower gear. This will cause faster deceleration, however, be sure to keep the RPM below the red line on your tachometer to avoid overheating your engine.

Why does my brake fluid need replacing?

Brake fluid is required to transfer the force of the driving pressing the brake pedal to the wheel hub and lubricate moving parts in the braking system. Without brake fluid, your brakes will not work. Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture. As the water content in your brake fluid increases, the effectiveness of your brakes decreases. Manufacturers recommend changing your brake fluid every two years.

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