Keeping up with brake maintenance and repairs is essential for not just our safety but for the safety of others on the road as well. These parts and repairs can be expensive when you own a BMW. Brake rotors for import cars, unlike domestics, are built with minimal thicknesses to reduce weight – meaning they can’t be turned (cut); they have to be replaced.
Here are a few tips to help you save money:
Inspect the condition of your brakes every 6 months – this is a simple visual inspection – here is what to look for:
Grooves, scoring, or any other defect or wear. If you notice this you should get the rotors replaced right away. Any rotor discoloration may be a sign of overheating and an inspection by a BMW brake repair specialist is needed.
All of your brake pads will usually wear the same rate and match any scoring on your rotors but they also need to be checked for breakage and cracking. If you see any of this, have them replaced. Many cars also have sensors that warn the owner of wear. If your BMW uses sensors, replace these at the same time as your pads.
If your BMW has drums, which are most common on the back wheels, they need to be inspected as well. You’ll need to remove the outer casing, but other than that, it’s the same procedure as for rotors and pads. The drums should not have excessive grooves or have a deep trough dug into them where the shoes sit. The shoes should be worn evenly and have no rivets protruding to the friction surface.
There are warning signs within the car as well. For example, if your brake pedal feels soft or has gotten lower under your foot you should look into it. Sticking calipers, worn pads, low fluid or hydraulic system problems could cause this problem. If you can’t pump them up you definitely have hydraulic problems that need to be addressed. If you always have to pump them up, at the very least your hydraulic fluid needs to be topped off (with brake fluid).
Even if you work on your BMW frequently, we recommend that you take your car to a BMW professional every few years to have your brakes checked. Checking brakes for run-out, warping, wheel-bearing play, proper proportioning balance, among others, is normally more involved than can be done in the convenience of your own garage. This inspection can also uncover other underlying problems that you might overlook and which could eventually become costly or dangerous.