The Brake Squad Blog

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 | TheBrakeSquad.com

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!

Frequently Asked Questions about Brake System Flushes

Brake Squad Tech Looking Under the Hood of a Car | TheBrakeSquad.com

Over time, your brake fluid can absorb water. Because water and oil don’t mix, this leaves little pockets of water in your brake lines, which is bad news. The brake fluid does not compress, giving you good steady pressure on your brakes, but the water does compress. If you have too much water in your brake lines, your brake pedal will feel soft, and you’ll have to press the brakes much harder to stop or slow your vehicle. When this happens, it’s time for a brake system flush.

What is a brake system flush?

When you call us for a brake flush, the waterlogged brake fluid is flushed out of the brake system. Much like a blood transfusion, new brake fluid is being added to replace the old fluid during the flush.

How often should I get brake flush services done?

Ideally, you should flush the brake fluid in your car either every 2 to 3 years or every 24,000 to 36,000 miles—whichever comes first. The more moisture that your brake fluid absorbs, the less effective your brakes will be, so keep weather conditions in mind as well, as they may shorten the time between flushes.

Where can I get brake system flush services? When you call The Brake Squad, we come to you. We use an electronic tester to determine if you need a brake flush first. Then, our team performs the flush on the spot and takes the old brake fluid to be recycled.

Preparing Your Car for Fall and Winter, Part II

In the first part of this blog we talked about washing your car, checking your wipers, and testing your heater in preparation for fall and winter. Here are a few more tips, including calling us for mobile brakes maintenance:

Tires: Making sure your tires are not worn or damaged is crucial for safe driving on icy or wet roads. Check for tread wear, make sure your tires are properly inflated, and get your tires rotated so that they wear evenly. If you need new tires, now is a good time to get them.

Oil: Before the stress that winter will put on your car, it is wise to make sure your oil is changed. If you go to a mechanic for this, they can also make sure your essential fluids like coolant are topped off.

Brakes: Winter weather brings with it dangerous driving conditions, so it is imperative that your brakes will work properly when the time comes that you need them. Call The Brake Squad for convenient mobile brakes maintenance to make sure you’re ready to safely drive in ice and snow.

Even though the kids are just now heading back to school and the leaves may not have begun to turn yet, it’s not too early to start planning to prepare your vehicle for fall and winter weather. With services that come to you, The Brake Squad will make checking one item off your list convenient and easy!

Preparing Your Car for Fall and Winter, Part I

BMW on Red Fall Leaves Under Trees with Red Leaves | TheBrakeSquad.com

While summer may still be in full effect, it’s not too soon to start planning for preparing your car for fall and winter. Our brakes only mobile service has your brake maintenance needs covered, but there are some other things you should do to prepare your vehicle as well:

Wash your car: This is a great time to give your car a good cleaning. Wash off any bugs or other debris that could hinder visibility, and then give your car a good waxing so that it will be protected from salt, sand, or any other elements you will encounter when winter weather arrives. Clean out the inside of your car while you’re at it too, you may not be motivated to do so once it gets cold outside.

Wipers: Wipers should be replaced every six months to a year, and you definitely want to make sure they’re in good shape before the first snow fall. Old wipers may even end up smearing your window when you use them, making your visibility worse rather than improving it.

Heater: You don’t want to wait until you need your heater to realize that it isn’t working! Test your heater and defroster to make sure they are operating as they should.

There are more steps to take to prepare your car for fall and winter, including calling our brakes only mobile service for routine maintenance. Check back for part II of this blog for more tips!