Few parts of a Toyota are as critical for the safety of its passengers as the brakes. Yet many people still overlook the importance of maintaining and troubleshooting their brakes. You may be relieved to find that keeping your brakes in tip top shape isn't as difficult as many people imagine. If you would like to learn more about your role in overall automotive safety, read on. This article will discuss two ways to ensure that your Toyota does not experience brake problems.
Keep your brake fluid topped off.
Brake fluid is the lifeblood of your car's braking system. Without it, you brakes simply will not work, no matter how new or up to date they may be. In this regard, brake fluid is every bit as important as engine oil or coolant. Thankfully, it is equally easy to take care of.
Use your owner's manual to determine the location of the brake fluid reservoir underneath your car's hood. Once you've found it, all you need to do is unscrew the cap to visually evaluate the level of the fluid. First, however, use a clean rag to thoroughly wipe any grease or debris off of the cap; this will prevent contaminants from dropping into the reservoir. The simply add more fluid as necessary to reach the minimum threshold indicated on the tank's sidewall.
Monitor the color of your brake fluid.
In most cases, ensuring that you have a sufficient amount of brake fluid should be enough to keep your brakes working well. Yet as long as you have taken the reservoir cap off, it is a good idea to use a flashlight to inspect the fluid. The idea here is that you can tell a lot about the state of your fluid from its color.
A bright red color--not unlike that of cough syrup--is a sign that the brake fluid is still fresh and uncontaminated. As the fluid ages, it will gradually take on darker hues, eventually turning brown or even black. When that time comes, it is important to have your system flushed and replaced with fresh fluid. Contact a mechanic to perform this maintenance task as soon as possible.
Listen to your brakes.
Most people are aware that brake pads are equipped with special wear indicators that will begin to cause audible screeching once the brake has worn down to a critical level. This sound is your car's way of telling you that it is time for new brake pads asap. However, it is also important to remain alert for other sounds such as grinding and crunching. These may be a sign that your brake rotors are in need of inspection.