Brakes & Clutches Services
Today’s cars have brakes on all four wheels that are powered by a hydraulic system. The brakes can be of two types:
- Disc brakes
- Drum brakes
The front brakes do more work in getting a car to stop than the rear ones do. This is because, when a car is braking, the weight of it is thrown forward on to its front wheels.
It’s for this reason lots of cars have disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the back.
You don’t need us tell you that you never know what’s around the corner – literally when you’re driving. So, it’s vital that your braking systems are checked on a regular basis by professionals such as FT Auto Services Ltd.
Putting the brakes on danger:
- Drum brakes should be checked every six months, 6000 miles or 10,000 km. Or as your car manual recommends.
- Brake fluid tends to be replaced when a leaking or sticking wheel on a drum brake is replaced.
- It’s crucial you know when your disc brake pads need replacing. Some manufacturers state a minimum safe thickness of 1.6mm while others say 3.2mm.
Our advice is to replace them at the higher figure.
Once the pad is worn down to its metal backing the brakes could fail to work as they should. In such an event the disc can be badly scored by the backing and possibly ruined.
Though a ruined brake disc could be the least of your problems in the event of a brake failure!
The best way to avoid potential problems with your brake and clutch is regular checking and maintenance by people you can trust to know what they’re doing. People like us.
We offer a brake fluid change for only £39.99. And a free visual brake inspection while we’re about it.
The Clutch: what it does and how to minimise wear and tear on it
In simple terms the clutch in your vehicle is the mechanical device which shifts the rotational power from the engine to the wheels in any vehicle with a manual transmission.
In a car with manual transmission the clutch controls the connection between the shaft that comes from the engine and the shafts that turn the wheels.
Your clutch has two chief components: the flywheel and the clutch plate.
If your foot is not pressing on the clutch pedal a set of springs keeps a pressure plate pushed up against the clutch plate. In addition, the pressure from the springs pushes the clutch plate up against the fly wheel.
The result of that action is a connection to the shaft that transfers motion to the wheels making the two turn at the same time.
Down up pedal down up down
However, when your foot pushes down on the clutch pedal a release fork is pressed down. Via a series of springs and pins this pulls the pressure plate away from the clutch plate and breaks the connection between the rotating engine and the wheels.
With that connection broken the wheels continue to spin but under their own momentum rather than the engine’s power.
It’s this design that lets you disengage the wheels from the engine so you can change gear and control the speed of your car.
The clutch is a vital part of your car’s working machinery and it’s important you know how to prevent wear and tear on the clutch.
How to prevent wear and tear on the clutch
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that your car’s clutch is subject to constant friction. So it WILL wear out eventually.
What mileage you get from your clutch depends entirely on how your car is driven.
A clutch replacement can be a costly business so here’s a few tips on driving style that can save your clutch and your bank balance:
- 1. DO NOT ride the clutch
Driving instructors often use this term. It refers to the practice of keeping the clutch pedal partially pressed down. This action pushes the pressure pad against the clutch plate yet doesn’t engage it fully.
The end result being extra friction and a speedier wearing out of the clutch.
Avoid this occurrence by keeping your foot well away from the clutch until you’re going to change gear. And don’t take corners or slow down for traffic lights with your clutch semi-depressed.
- 2. Sit in neutral when you’re stationary
One sure way to put unnecessary strain on the clutch is to sit at traffic lights and junctions with the clutch down, first gear engaged and your foot on the brake. So don’t do it.
It’s much better all round to switch to neutral and employ the handbrake to keep your car stationary.
- 3. Use the handbrake when parking
Another clutch catastrophe is leaving your car parked in gear. No matter that the engine is switched off. It still puts a stain on your clutch.
Use the handbrake to secure the care when parking instead of leaving your vehicle in gear. In this way you’ll reduce the amount of pressure put on the clutch disc when you’re not driving.
- 4. Be quick on the draw with gear changes
When changing gear – don’t linger. The longer you keep the clutch pedal pressed down the more strain the clutch is under.
‘But it’s only a few second’ I hear you cry. Yes. But multiply that by the number of gear changes on an average journey and you’ll see how it mounts up.
- 5. Be decisive about your gear changes
Don’t change gear more than you have to. Look ahead, see what obstacles there are and aim for a consistent speed rather than frequent gear changes.
In the Reading area you can rely on FT Auto Services Ltd to put the brakes on your clutch and brake issues. Don’t leave it too late. Call our service centre now and book an appointment to get your brakes and clutch checked. The only condition they should be in is tip-top condition.