The Brake Squad Blog

How Does My Car Know When It Needs New Brake Pads?

Thanks to the creativity of automobile engineers, we have all kinds of cool technology built into our cars. Did you know that your car is 1000 times more advanced than NASA’s Lunar Landing Module that went to the moon in 1969? That means you drive a spaceship! And just like the command center of a spaceship, a ton of information is available to you at any time, right on your dash.

One such feature, first introduced in high-end luxury sedans back in the 90s, is known as an electronic brake pad wear sensor. The simplest form of this sensor is a loop of wire embedded into each brake pad and connected to the vehicle’s computer system. This wire is designed to break when its pad wears down and needs replacement. This, in turn, causes the car’s brake dash light – like the ones pictured above – to illuminate.

Thanks to the speed of innovation, more and more vehicles now come with this feature. So, when you see your brake dash light turn on, call The Brake Squad. Our technicians can come to your location in Arlington, Fairfax, Vienna, Herndon, Burke, or any other Northern Virginia locale and perform a professional brake pad replacement on the spot! We’ll even provide new pad wear sensors. Reach us today at (703) 994-2773.

Items Every Car Owner Should Have in Their Car, Part II

Items Every Car Owner Should Have in Their Car, Part II

There are a few items that car owners should keep in their vehicle in order to be prepared for unexpected situations. In part I of this blog we talked about jumper cables, a first aid kit, kitty litter, and a spare tire being essential items to keep in your car, along with making sure you have a reliable brake repair service company, in order to make sure your car is kept in optimal shape. Here are a few more items to make sure you keep in your vehicle:

Tire pressure gauge: This small and affordable tool is great for having on hand to make sure your tires have enough air in them, especially while on a long road trip.

Fire extinguisher: A tool that you will hopefully never need, you still want to make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand in case disaster strikes.

Blanket: A blanket can serve a multitude of uses, from keeping you warm in the winter if your car breaks down and you’re waiting for a tow, to giving you something to lie on if you need to get on the ground and look under the car, or to protect your seats if you need to place dirty tools on them while making a repair.

In addition to relying on The Brake Squad for your brake repair service when the need arises, these are a few items you should make sure you keep in your vehicle in the event of an emergency. Come back for the final part of this blog for just a few more things that you should always keep in your car.

Items Every Car Owner Should Have in Their Car, Part I

Items Every Car Owner Should Have in Their Car, Part I

With car ownership comes a lot of responsibility, and a lot of things that should be done to ensure your car keeps running at its best. Apart from knowing where to turn for brake repair in Alexandria, VA, another thing to take into account is what you should make sure you keep in your car:

Jumper cables: Dead batteries happen, and if you don’t need jumper cables, chances are that someone you know will need them and be grateful you had them on hand.

First aid kit: In the event of an emergency, a first aid kit can make the difference between life and death while waiting for first responders to arrive. It will also prove useful in the event of minor injuries like small cuts or scrapes.

Kitty litter: Kitty litter can be useful for a myriad of purposes, from creating traction on slippery surfaces to cleaning up oil spills or getting rid of a bad odor in the car.

Spare tire: A spare tire is critical for getting your car to a place where it can be repaired in the event of a flat or a blowout. If your car doesn’t have a spare or doesn’t have room for one, a can of Slime can be helpful for reinforcing a tire long enough for you to get it somewhere that it can be repaired or replaced.

These are just a few of the things that you should keep in your vehicle. These, in addition to relying on The Brake Squad for brake repair in Alexandria, VA, will help you keep your car on the road for many years to come.

Minimize the Negative Effects of a Long Commute, Part II

Close Up of Vehicle Headlights While the Vehicles are in City Traffic

In part I of this blog we talked about giving ourselves some extra time, not racing against the rest of traffic, and packing snacks as strategies for making a commute feel less stressful and less detrimental to our vehicles so that we don’t need mobile brake repair service or other vehicle maintenance as frequently. Here are a few more strategies for reducing the negative effects of a long commute:

Make your environment more soothing: Whether it’s listening to an audiobook or your favorite band – or even driving in silence – whatever makes you feel more calm, do it! You may have a stressful work day, so giving yourself peaceful time before and after is crucial.

Don’t drive your car if possible: If public transportation is available to you, using it instead of your vehicle can help slow down wear and tear on your car. Using public transportation can also free you up to be productive during the trip, or to just sit back and relax while traveling. Carpooling is also an option to consider that can help you drive your vehicle less.

Daily commutes don’t just contribute to stress, but they can also speed up wear on your vehicle, requiring you to schedule mobile brake repair service or other auto maintenance more frequently. By taking steps to make your commute easier, both your mental wellbeing and your car will benefit.

Minimize the Negative Effects of a Long Commute, Part I

A Freeway at Sunset That is Heavily Congested by Traffic

According to a 2019 survey of 2,800 workers in the United States, the average round trip commute is 48.37 minutes, and 45% of those surveyed said their commute was too long. For many of us, a long commute is unavoidable, and with it often comes stress, frustration, and wear and tear on our vehicle that leads to us needing brake repair service and other maintenance more often. So how can we minimize these commute side effects?

Leave earlier: To avoid arriving at work late or spending your entire drive worried you won’t make it in time, give yourself a buffer by leaving earlier. This will help to alleviate stress while driving, potentially prevent speeding tickets from racing to arrive on time, and will cut down on aggressive or tough driving that is detrimental to your car.

Try not to race the rest of traffic: Constant lane changing, speeding and braking, and other aggressive driving habits may feel as though they are helping you reach your destination faster, but they can sometimes add on to your drive time, not to mention cause more wear to your car. Drive with the flow of traffic to keep yourself and your vehicle safe.

Pack snacks: If you get stuck in traffic after work when you just want to get home, that’s already frustrating enough. But tack being hungry on to that and it’s even worse. Keep some snacks in the car that don’t need to be refrigerated so that you have something to munch on if hunger strikes.

These are just a few tips for making a long commute a little bit more tolerable and less detrimental on your car so that you don’t need brake repair service or other vehicle maintenance as frequently. Check back for part II of this blog for more.

Tips for Improving Gas Mileage, Part II

mobile brake service Alt Text: Close Up of a Hand Coming Out of a Black Sleeve Holding a Gas Pump While Fueling a White Car

In part I of this blog, we talked about improving gas mileage by ensuring your gas cap is secure, watching your speed, and utilizing cruise control. Here are a few more gas-saving tips from our mobile brake service company:

4. Watch your weight: The more your car weighs, the more strain there will be on the engine, causing it to work harder and use more fuel. Try to avoid keeping unnecessary things in your vehicle that will increase its weight.

5. Inflate tires to correct pressure: Operating your car with low tire pressure will increase your tires’ rolling resistance, making your engine work harder. Regularly checking your tire pressure ensures that your tires are properly inflated and will help with fuel economy.

6. Use the recommended motor oil: Every engine is designed to work with a specific type of motor oil. Using a heavier weight of oil than recommended can create too much friction, causing the engine to work harder and as a result burn more fuel.

These are just a few tips for improving your gas mileage, and some strategies even help to prevent wear on your brakes, allowing you to take more time between mobile brake service appointments. Now you can start thinking about what to do with the money you’ll save on fuel!

Tips for Improving Gas Mileage, Part I

Black and Red Fuel Pump Inside of a White Sedan while it Refuels

Everyone wants to save money, and one way to do so is by making sure your car is getting the best gas mileage possible. Here are a few ways to get better gas mileage, and some of these tips will also save your brakes so that you can go longer between brake repair service appointments:

1. Ensure the gas cap is fully sealed: A gas cap that fails to form an airtight seal will allow oxygen to pass into your gas tank, which increases how much air enters your car’s fuel, forcing your engine to use more gas which increases consumption. Bonus tip: A missing or loose gas cap is often the cause of your check engine light being on!

2. Watch your speed: Avoid excessive speeds and accelerate more slowly to reduce how much fuel you use. Quickly accelerating and braking makes your engine work harder which uses more fuel, and gas mileage typically worsens at speeds over 55 mph because of the increased wind friction.

3. Use your cruise (control): We often end up unconsciously matching the speed of other vehicles on the road when driving, so by utilizing your cruise control you can ensure that you maintain a gas-efficient (and legal) speed, and you will also accelerate and brake less, which also helps to conserve fuel.

These are just a few ways you can improve your gas mileage, and numbers two and three will even cut down on the frequency of which you use your brakes, letting you go longer in between your brake repair service appointments. Check back for part II of this blog for more fuel-saving tips.

Prepping Your Car for Holiday Road Trips, Part II

In part I of this blog we talked about checking your fluids, lights, wipers, and tires before embarking on a road trip. Here are a few more tips from our brakes only mobile service company:

5. Check brake pads: Your brake pads are essential to making sure your car stops properly. If your pads are too thin, you’ll likely hear screeching or squealing. If you need a brake pad replacement, call The Brake Squad at (703) 994-2773 and we’ll come to you!

6. Check the spare wheel: Make sure you’re prepared for a potential tire emergency by ensuring that your spare tire has air in it.

7. Check for leaks: Check under the hood and under your car to ensure there are no leaks. If you see anything that doesn’t look right, have your car looked at by a technician.

8. Clean your car: This may not be essential to the actual function of your car, but it will feel great to start your trip with a nice, clean car!

The holidays are a great time for taking road trips to see family or to take a fun vacation, but you should always make sure your car is ready for the trip! Our brakes only mobile service company can help you prepare for the trip with brake repairs or maintenance.     

Prepping Your Car for Holiday Road Trips, Part I

The holidays are just around the corner, which for many of us means getting into the car and taking a road trip. But before you go, you need to make sure your car is ready for the journey! Here are some tips from our brake repair service company:

1. Check fluids: Motorists often don’t check their fluid levels enough, so make sure to check your coolant, oil, and brake fluid.

2. Check lights: It’s simple to do, but important to make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are working.

3. Check wipers: Make sure your windshield wipers don’t need to be changed. This should be easy to determine based on how well they clear away liquid. Use your windshield washers to spray your windshield and see if they do their job.

4. Check tires: If you’re due for new tires, be sure to get them before your trip to ensure your safety. If you’re not due, check the air pressure and look at your tires for any sign of over-wearing or damage.

There are a few more things you should do to ensure your car is ready for a road trip, so check back for part II of this blog from our brake repair service company.

How to Clean Your Brakes

Close Up of a Man’s Hands Removing a Car Tire |

When your brakes start to squeal, your mind immediately goes to the cost of replacing them—but that’s not always necessary. Sometimes the scary noise is caused by brake dust. When that’s the case, a good cleaning can solve your brake issues. While the process does require a bit of work, it’s entirely possible. Keeping your brakes clean can help extend the life of your brakes.

Step One: Raise Your Car

You will need to get under the car, so use a garage hoist to lift up the car. If you don’t have one, you can use jack stands. You’ll need more than one. Do not ever leave the car on the jack; put it on a jack stand, so you don’t risk the car falling on you. If you can raise all four wheels at once, that’s ideal, but if not you will need to repeat the process at all four wheels.

Step Two: Get Your Equipment

Make sure you have appropriate brake cleaner, eye protection, and a container to catch the debris and spray that falls from the brakes as you clean. Make sure you are disposing of the used brake spray according to your local regulations. Brake spray is toxic, so it must be dealt with carefully.

Step Three: Clean the Brakes – Safely

After reading the cleaner’s instructions carefully, spray the hubs, rotors, lining, fasteners, cylinders, springs, and drums. Do not get any on painted surfaces, rubber, or plastic. Use a wire brush to clean the brakes and then either let them air dry or wipe them down with a rag. Severely dirty brakes may need more than one spray down.

If you are still experiencing issues with your brakes, The Brake Squad will come to you for mobile brake repair in Alexandria, VA. Contact us today to schedule a service!