Car reliability criteria 2015
An efficient and effective braking system is imperative for your safety and that of other road users around you. A reliable disc-braking system ranks near the top of the list in 2015 for most drivers when it comes to car reliability.
What constitutes a reliable car in 2015?
Owners cite many aspects as being in their top reliability criteria in 2015 including factors affecting the reliability of the disc brakes. The priority given to brakes is understandable as they are all that stand between a driver and a major accident. In fact, modern disc brakes are very reliable, responsive and trustworthy under normal conditions. Most manufacturers have invested vast sums in making them so and cars are required to undergo stringent safety standards testing in most parts of the world. However, any braking system can be vulnerable under certain circumstances and drivers have a significant responsibility for ensuring that their brakes are maintained in top condition.
Conditions affecting brake safety and reliability
Worn brake components are perhaps the most common cause of reduced braking efficiency. Most cars have published service intervals that define when brake pads/shoes should be replaced. It’s worth resisting the temptation to put this off just because your brakes seem to be functioning well. Replacing them yourself is within the scope of most car drivers who have a few basic tools.
Another factor affecting the reliability of disc brakes is the environment. If oil, grease or ice gets into your braking system, the result will be a serious reduction in your braking performance or even something close to a total failure. It is always worth gently braking your car a few times at slow speeds to check your brakes’ effectiveness if the weather is very wet, icy or if your car has just undergone work at a garage. Finally, many braking systems are driven by hydraulics and any such system can be vulnerable to leaks – though thankfully this is relatively rare. Once again, some experts advocate that testing your brakes under safe and controlled conditions should be the first part of every car journey.
Some drivers mistakenly believe that brakes operate on an ‘all or nothing basis’, in that they either work or they do not. In fact, it is possible to detect a number of initially subtle indications that your brakes are in need of attention. One of the first indications is often unusual noises when braking; these may be ‘squeals’ or soft grinding noises. Another symptom is an increased breaking distance when you brake under normal circumstances. Another thing to look out for is needing to ‘pump’ your brake pedal to obtain a response. All of these may be indications that you have a problem with your brakes and may be cause for immediate investigation by a specialist.
One other thing to consider when discussing the reliability of disc brakes is braking in a straight line. If your steering wheel is straight and you brake, you should start to come to a stop in a straight line. If you feel juddering through the steering wheel or need to fight to keep the wheel straight, then you may have a serious problem.