Of course we all know keeping up with brake maintenance and repairs is essential for not just our safety but for others on the road as well. These repairs and parts can be expensive when you’re a BMW owner. Brake rotors for import cars, unlike domestics, are built with minimal thicknesses to save weight – meaning they can’t be turned; they have to be replaced.
Here are a few tips to help you save money:
Look at the condition of your brakes every 6 months – this is a simple visual inspection – here is what to look for:
Look for grooves, scoring, or any other defect or wear. If you see 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 professional is needed.
Your brake pads will usually wear the same and match any scoring on your rotors but they also need to be checked for breakage and cracking. If you see any of this get 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 you have them, drums need to be checked as well. It’s the same procedure as the rotors and pads, if you see any wear take a closer look. 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 it. If you can’t pump them up you definitely have hydraulic problems that need work. If you always have to pump them up, at the very least your hydraulic fluid needs replacement.
Even if you work on your BMW frequently on your own 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, are normally more involved than can be accomplished in your garage. This inspection can also uncover other underlying problems that could eventually become costly or dangerous.