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Problems that can cause a hard brake pedal

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

We do a lot of braking in Northern Virginia, where there are many commuters and traffic is a daily expectation.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure the braking system is working correctly and any abnormal symptoms are addressed.

A hard brake pedal is one problem you should watch out for.

Hard brake pedal causes

There are several possible reasons why a brake pedal is hard to push.

Brake booster not working correctly

The brake booster may not be able to provide vacuum pressure. This can occur if there is a diaphragm tear or a broken check valve. You can confirm the brake booster is the problem by turning off the vehicle and stepping on the brake pedal multiple times. Continue to press it and restart the car. The brake pedal should go down if the brake booster is functioning the way it should. A brake pedal that remains firm is an indicator that the brake booster has gone bad.

Vacuum pump or power steering pump going bad

What’s causing a stiff brake pedal can differ among vehicles and the type of brake booster they have. Some cars use a hydraulic brake booster, where the power steering pump – rather than the engine vacuum – creates pressure. Certain brake boosters use the intake manifold while others have an electrical driven pump or a mechanical driven pump.

A bad electric pump, not having enough power steering fluid, and a missing serpentine belt can result in a hard brake pedal among vehicles with a hydraulic brake booster or vacuum pump.

A vacuum brake booster.
Vacuum brake booster

Vacuum hose becomes cracked

Is the brake pedal hard to push and hisses? The problem could have to do with the vacuum hose, which links the engine and brake booster. A vacuum is made due to air being drawn in. Cracks can form where the vacuum connects with other components.

Electronics associated with the electro hydraulic brake booster: With the brake systems having a lot of electronic controls – such as anti-lock brakes and traction control – that can be integrated with the master cylinder and the brake booster, especially if it’s an electro hydraulic brake booster. For example, Toyota 4Runners have an electro hydraulic brake booster, meaning that there’s an electric pump that will pump up the pressure to the accumulator. That allows you to have easy brake pressure when applying the brakes. But if there’s a problem with the solenoid or module, that could make it so the brake pedal feels hard. In this case, we need to go in and perform diagnostic testing to determine the problem.

An electro hydraulic brake booster.
Electro hydraulic brake booster

Caliper or caliper slides have seized: If the caliper or caliper slides have seized, the caliper isn’t able to move back and forth or the piston isn’t able to move out as you press the brake pedal. That can give you a harder brake pedal feel, but you would notice the car isn’t stopping as well as it used to. Rust and caliper seizing problems are more common among vehicles that are used in areas like Nag’s Head – where you might get a lot of salt air and salt water, and maybe some water coming up on the roads – and New England – where drivers see a lot of salt on the roads.

Note: This may seem silly, but make sure to take a look at the floor when trying to figure out why the brake pedal is hard to push. The floor mat could have become caught underneath the pedal. This used to be a more common problem years ago, but stranger things have happened.

It’s important to take care of your brake system, which can help extends its lifespan. This includes replacing brake pads and rotors and other components, such as brake hoses and brake lines, when needed. We also recommend regular brake fluid exchanges every 30,000 miles.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Brakes grinding? Why is that?

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Have you been hearing an unpleasant sound as you’re slowing down? It may be your brakes grinding.

A grinding noise while braking could mean that the brake pads have become worn and their plates and the brake rotors are rubbing together.

Grinding is one of several symptoms that your vehicle is in need of brake repair. A large amount of brake dust can be another indicator that the brakes are ready to be replaced.

Per state inspection guidelines, brake pads should be at least 2/32 of an inch. Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, we may suggest changing them sooner.

Brake pads are one of the items our technicians check during courtesy inspections.

What does it mean if you notice a grinding noise when braking, but the pads are fine?

A symptom that can seem like brakes grinding at low speed could actually be the anti-lock braking system (ABS) engaging incorrectly. This can be due to an ABS wheel speed sensor or a problem with a hub bearing or wheel bearing causing the system to engage when it’s not supposed to.

What can cause brakes grinding noise other than normal pad and rotor wear?

If you notice a grinding sound, it may be that the pads and rotors are wearing unevenly or prematurely because of the wheel bearings. Whether they have the normal tapered bearing or a hub bearing setup, if the bearings are worn and are allowing the wheel to move back and forth it can create a different angle of pressure on the rotor and brake pads. That may lead them to wear out faster in one spot. You do want to get your vehicle checked out by a nearby auto repair shop to not only take care of the symptom but also the root cause.

Brakes grinding when stopping may be the result of rust building up on the rotors. This could just be from sitting for a while without driving the vehicle. If it’s not too bad, it will normally go away after the first two or three times you hit the brakes when driving down the road. The issue could also be caused by the type of metal the rotors are made out of and the way the pads are manufactured. It may result in irregular grooves and limited pad contact, which would allow rust to build up and noise to occur whenever you hit the brake pedal.

A brake rotor.

Why should you bring your car into a local repair shop when you hear a grinding noise?

Brakes could cause a grinding noise when there is a mechanical problem with the brake caliper, the hardware, or the caliper bracket. We have seen where sometimes the brake caliper hardware dislodges and gets caught on the rotor, producing a grinding sound. Bolts may be missing from the caliper bracket, causing the whole caliper assembly to move when pressing the brake. It could even be that the brake disc caliper has seized so it’s not sliding back and forth. The piston pushing the inboard pad is another possible issue. That can not only lead to rust build up on one side of the rotor, it can cause the inboard pad to wear down much faster. So if you look at the brakes through the wheel, the outboard pad will look fine but the inboard pad will be metal to metal. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your car checked at a local auto repair shop.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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What we do during an oil change

In Brakes, Oil Change, Tires & Wheels, Vehicle Fluids, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Oil changes are a form of maintenance that most drivers are familiar with.

This service is necessary for your vehicle to run properly. Oil is needed to lubricate many components and some parts feature oil pressure sensors. 

Regular oil changes, which are suggested every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, prevent engine damage from occurring down the road. You can read more about why they are important in this blog post we wrote.

During this service, the oil and oil filter are replaced. HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire takes it a few steps further by providing additional services.

What an oil change looks like at HomeTowne Auto Repair

While completing an oil change, we always use seat covers, floor mats, and steering wheel covers to protect the vehicle.

In addition to replacing the oil and oil filter, our technicians perform a courtesy inspection. This includes several safety checks, such as testing the battery. They also examine the air filters and look over the belts and pulleys. 

The fluids are checked, as well. We look at the windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid.

Not all of the fluids have a warning light when they’re low and you may not know until something happens. Being low on oil or coolant might cause an alert. That isn’t the case with power steering fluid and transmission fluid.

Measuring the brake pad depth is another part of the process. To pass the Virginia state inspection, they must be at least 2/32 of an inch. We start suggesting replacing the brakes when they reach 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch, but some manufacturers recommend them sooner.

The tires are also measured and rotated, which helps them last longer.

To confirm there isn’t any play or damage, the steering and suspension are inspected. Parts can become loose or go bad overtime. If they aren’t replaced early on, they could lead to more expensive repairs in the future.

Additionally, our technicians make sure the lights are working properly.

The courtesy check and tire rotations are services provided at no additional charge.

We believe in maintaining your car before it breaks down. If we can catch problems early, then we can potentially save people money.

Digital inspections

Any observations our technicians make while performing an oil change or courtesy inspection are noted in digital inspections.

Through digital inspections, we are able to share photos, videos and information about the health of your vehicle. This includes details about what’s looking good, repairs that need to be made, and services we recommend.

These reports can be sent via text or email, allowing you to receive an update wherever you are.

Is your vehicle due for an oil change? You can schedule one at HomeTowne Auto Repair by calling (703) 594-4646.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Repairing the braking system on a Ford Escape and Ford F150

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

When it comes to auto repair, it’s important to take those extra steps.

This can be eye opening and help technicians track down the root cause of a problem.

We worked on braking system of two vehicles – a Ford Escape and a Ford F150 – that had the same symptom and resolution.

The driver of one of the vehicles said the brakes were sticking. Meanwhile, the owner of the other felt that they’re vehicle was shifting and braking funny.

During the test drive, we experienced similar situations – when they were shifted into drive they wouldn’t go anywhere, as if the driver’s foot is barely touching the brake.

On the Ford Escape, the front left would nose dive. It felt like the rear on the right side wanted to come out from underneath, because the brake pressure was going to the left front.

The same issue was occurring to the F150 on the other side.

How we addressed the braking system problem

To determine the problem, one of our employees sat in the vehicle and stepped on the brake pedal and we cracked the bleeder on the caliper to check the flow.

For both vehicles, we had little or no flow on the side that was experiencing the issue.

There are a few components involved in the flow – the caliper, the anti-lock braking system (ABS) pump, and the brake hose. The most common issue is with the brake hose.

We removed the caliper and depressed it to confirm it wasn’t bad. When it was off the vehicle, the caliper worked fine. However, attached, it was as hard as concrete and wouldn’t let anything through.

The brake hose on the vehicles were replaced, and the vehicles are driving fine.

One of the employees took the extra step and cut the brake line into pieces and dissected it. Through this process, he learned that the crip fitting was swollen and closed up.

Overtime, the brake hose gets a little bit hotter when pieces of metal are around it and slowly deteriorates.

A lot of people would have noticed the caliper wasn’t working and just sold calipers without isolating the problem. We did recommend calipers because the amount of heat can shorten their lifespan. 

We leave the choice in the hands of our customers. Our goal is to provide as much information to help them make an educated decision.

Can you prevent this problem?

You can’t do anything to prevent this problem, it’s just the way the vehicle is designed. You need to have the metal brackets to hold the hose in place. With that amount of hydraulic pressure, the hose would move back and forth and rupture.

You can maintain your braking system through brake fluid exchanges. This service can always help, but some of these things are inevitable.

We recommend brake fluid exchanges every 30,000 miles. You can learn about why you should have the fluid replaced by reading this article we wrote.

The same car problem can come across differently to drivers. If your vehicle sounds or is acting strange, make sure to provide as much information to the mechanic or repair shop as possible. Those little details can help narrow down the search.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Does my car need new brakes?

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Typically, drivers don’t know that their car needs new brakes until they bring it to a repair shop for an oil change or to address a problem.

While performing an oil change, our technicians do a tire rotation and look over the vehicle. During this courtesy inspection, we may find that it requires new brakes or they are reaching the end of their lifespan.

To pass the annual state inspection, brakes must be a least 2/32 of an inch. However, we suggest replacing them when they get to 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch, depending on the vehicle and driving conditions.

Read more about brakes and the Virginia safety inspection.

When you go in for your next oil change, it’s a good time to have all four of your brakes checked.

Signs that new brakes, brake repair are needed

Overtime, you may start to notice certain signs, such as squealing and the vehicle taking longer to stop.

If you put off replacing brakes, it will likely lead to further damage down the road.

How often brakes need to be replaced depends on many factors, including the make and model. Driving behaviors, how much someone drives, and stop and go traffic also play a role.

Generally, brakes can last anywhere from 36,000 to 80,000 miles. We have replaced them at 18,000 miles, which was extremely low. 

It’s important to make sure the types of brakes put on your car are of good quality and meet Original Equipment (OE) specifications, because the way the vehicle safety system works they are programmed to operate with certain types of parts. 

If you put inferior parts on, the systems like Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) may not perform correctly.

Sometimes, brake repair is needed between brake jobs.

These are some symptoms that a vehicle is in need of brake repair.

Brake services we offer

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire offers an array of brake services.

Our technicians can replace various components. These include: the master cylinder, vacuum or hydraulic boosters, brake lines, calipers or wheel cylinders, brake pads and rotors, and brake drums and shoes. 

We are also able to replace the entire parking brake system, whether it’s electric or not. The parking brake is made up of the handle or pedal, and linkage from the handle or pedal to the rear caliper or shoe. 

Brake fluid exchanges are performed at HomeTowne Auto Repair, as well. 

Recommended every 30,000 miles, this service prevents corrosion from building up on the inside of the calipers.

If your Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) warning light comes on, we can look into that too.

The brake system is made up of many parts, and it’s important to keep up with it. If you notice something out of the ordinary, it won’t hurt to call a local repair shop and ask them about it.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Why is a brake fluid exchange important?

In Brake Fluid Flush, Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Car maintenance isn’t just about oil changes and wheel alignments. It also extends to your brake system.

When you step on the brake, the brake pad and brake rotor press against each other, creating heat and moisture. They don’t move very far, and neither does the brake fluid between them. 

The moisture that accumulates causes corrosion to build up. Corrosion can destroy a brake system from the inside out.

We recommend brake fluid exchanges every 30,000 miles. Because this typically coincides with brakes, which should be replaced every 40,000 to 50,000 miles, it’s a good idea to have both services done at the same time.

Why you should get a brake fluid exchange

Regular brake fluid exchanges prolongs the life of anti-lock braking systems (ABS), which prevents the brakes from locking up during emergencies, allowing you to maintain steering control.

This maintenance option also ensures that your brake pedal is firm.

If you wait too long for a brake fluid exchange, corrosion can build up on the inside of the calipers, which may result in the calipers dragging. Internal seals will deteriorate and prevent the calipers from pushing in and out correctly.

Another consequence is that the inside of the soft brake hoses will break down, restricting brake fluid flow.

The bleeders, which enable mechanics to perform a brake fluid exchange and release air, can also rust shut if they aren’t moved every once in a while.

Signs that you need a brake fluid exchange

It can be hard to know if you need a brake fluid flush, but there are some indicators. A low brake pedal is one of them. Another sign is a soft brake pedal, which can be caused by moisture in the system that’s starting to boil.

You also need to look into testing the brake fluid for contaminants and moisture. Just because the brake fluid looks dark – rather than clear – doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. 

However, if the fluid is very dark and you can see particles floating in it, that’s the rubber material from the master cylinder or ABS that’s starting to come apart and mix with the brake fluid. That’s a good indicator that you need to change it.

Test strips and true boiling point measure for moisture are ways you can determine if you need a brake fluid flush. 

For most cars, every 30,000 miles is a good time to have this service performed. How often you have it done also depends on the manufacturer. If you are at 50,000 or 55,000 miles when you go in for your first brake job and a brake fluid exchange hasn’t been performed yet, you definitely need to do it.  

A lot of cars have computerized brake systems, such as ABS and traction control, where the manufacturer is starting to recommend brake fluid exchanges every 18 to 24 months to ensure the brake system is working correctly. So, you need to check your owner’s manual.

Brake Fluid Exchange
Brake Fluid Exchange

What happens during a brake fluid exchange

During a brake fluid exchange, our technicians connect a pressurized machine to the master cylinder. After adding new brake fluid to the machine and setting it to the appropriate pressure, they go to each wheel and remove the old brake fluid.

We use BG DOT 4 Brake Fluid, which aims to combat moisture, prevent rust and provides protection to the brake system. 

If you are considering a brake fluid exchange, it’s also important to make sure your vehicle doesn’t have electric brakes, which don’t require it.

How well a vehicle runs and lasts is determined, in part, by its maintenance. By staying up to date on braking fluid exchanges and other services, you can get the most out of your car.

You can learn more about brake fluid exchanges by checking out this video:

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Brake failure symptoms and causes

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Many factors can lead to brake failure – cheap brakes, brake parts installed incorrectly, and brake wear are among them. 

Several symptoms indicate that brake repair is needed.

Grinding, squealing, rattling and groaning noises are all signs that there is a problem with your car’s brake pads.

The causes range from loose parts to a lack of lubrication, depending on the sound.

You should be watchful for excessive brake dust on the wheels. Brake dust can be a normal wear condition – as brakes wear down, they produce dust. But if you see a lot of brake dust on one or more wheels, that could be an indicator that your brakes may be getting low. If you have an excessive amount of brake dust on one wheel, you could have a brake caliper issue.

Cheap brake rotors and significant wear of pads and rotors could problems, as well.

If you’re driving down highway, or hills, or in traffic and you notice the brake pedal is pulsating, or moving back and forth, it’s an indication that your brake rotors have an excessive amount of run out, usually due to significant heat.

This can be caused by age and components becoming worn over time. Cheap brake parts may not have the same tolerances as your O.E. fitment parts and hold up to the heat as well. In addition, they could also give you a pulsating feeling sooner.

Not using high quality brake pads will wear more quickly than high quality ones. Whether their organic or semi-metallic will also determine how quickly they wear out.

TIP: One thing you don’t want to do is drive with two feet, with one resting on the brake pedal. Even resting your foot on the brake pedal will cause a small amount of pressure on the brake pads, causing them to wear faster. The pads putting constant pressure on brake rotors could cause excessive heat and warp your rotors. There are many times we’ve ridden with a customer who was wondering about having brake issues, and they didn’t realize they were driving with two feet. 

A vehicle’s Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) warning light is another sign that something is wrong.

brake failure
ABS warning light

The ABS prevents brakes from becoming locked in an emergency. This enables you to keep steering control.

Various issues could prompt this light to turn on. These include a bad hydraulic pump or ABS module, malfunctions with the speed sensor or bulb check, and low brake fluid.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

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Why you shouldn’t use cheap brakes

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The quality of the parts used on a vehicle can play a large role in how it runs.

Brakes are no exception.

We don’t recommend installing cheap brakes, which promote noise, vibrations, and road symptoms — such as rapid wear.

Another reason why you don’t want to use cheap brake pads and rotors is because the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is programmed to have a certain amount of braking force and the computers know when the brakes are cold or hot. 

If you replace them with inferior parts, the control systems can be affected in an emergency situation. They may not grab as hard or they could have too much of a fade, impacting the safety of those in the car.

Brakes are one of the parts checked during the Virginia Safety Inspection.

The minimum Virginia State Safety recommendations is no less than 2/32 of an inch. 

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle and your driving conditions, it’s a good idea to start changing your brakes around 3/32 of an inch to 4/32 of an inch. For some vehicles, the manufacturer’s recommendation could be higher.

Brake rotors should be changed with a brake job because most of the rotors on today’s vehicles wear down. Rotors need to be able to dissipate heat so you don’t get a pulsation or vibration type feeling in the steering wheel and brake pedal. That pulsation symptom can impact the ADAS system. 

Some indications you may need a brake job are grinding noises and brake pedal pulsation. You may also notice a low pedal or a high end squeak noises, which could be the pad low indicator rubbing on the brake rotor.

Keep in mind, if it has rained or been humid recently, you may notice squeaking when you first start braking early in the morning. If it goes away after you’ve pressed on the brake a couple times, it’s most likely a little bit of rust built up due to the humidity or the brake rotors being wet. 

At HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, part of our inspection process during our oil change is to do a visual inspection of the brakes to see if they’re getting low or if we notice any other problems. Many of the vehicles today have electronically controlled components, such as steering and brake callipers, that can hide some of the normal symptoms you would notice in older cars.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Brake service: When and why to have it done

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Sydney Jones, General Service Technician for HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The most crucial safety device in your car is the brakes. 

As Newton’s first law of motion tells us, an object in motion will stay in motion until stopped by an external force such as friction. We can’t rely on friction to stop our cars while going 70 miles per hour on the highway, so we have brakes to stop our wheels from turning. 

It’s not as simple as “hit the pedal, stop the car,” though. Laws of physics and elements of chemistry come into play, as well. 

You hit the brake pedal with your foot, yes. This action then sets off a chain of reactions. When you push down the brake pedal, you tell the master cylinder to apply pressure to the brake fluid running through the brake lines underneath your car. 

You have four brake lines, each one going to one of your four wheels. The pressurized brake fluid causes the calipers to press inward on the brake pads, which provide a much greater level of friction than the road and stop your car much faster.

Overtime, the fluid running through your brake lines will get old and obtain air bubbles, and condensated water is created when liquid is on the brake pads. More liquid in the system causes the brake fluid boiling point to decrease whereas it is normally very high to withstand the heat produced from braking. 

The lower boiling point will allow for metal pieces to begin to deteriorate. Since the brake lines are made of copper, they leave copper residue in the fluid, resulting in lower braking power and eventually the costly replacement of calipers and brake lines.

To combat this you should have your brake fluid serviced every 30,000 miles. The BG Brake Service is done by taking contaminated fluid out of the master cylinder, pressurizing it, and adding DOT 3 or DOT 4 Ultra Drive Flushing Formula Brake Fluid — depending on the needs of your car — into the master cylinder until only new fluid is coming out of the lines at each wheel. 

This removes air and condensated liquid, leaving only your incompressible brake fluid and giving you maximum braking power. 

It is important to get this service done every 30,000 miles in order to be covered under the BG Lifetime Protection Plan, which will protect your Master Cylinder, Brake Lines, and Calipers up to $4,000 should they ever fail. 

You can have brake service performed at any BG Certified shop, such as Hometowne Auto Repair & Tire.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

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Brakes and the Virginia Safety Inspection

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Bringing your vehicle in for the Virginia safety inspection is one way you can protect yourself and others.

The brakes of your vehicle have to be working properly in order to pass the yearly requirement.

There can’t be a soft brake pedal.

A hard brake pedal or a vehicle having a hard time stopping can be caught during the state inspection, as well.

This can be caused by a problem with the vacuum. Many vehicles now have electric pressure pumps, rather than old components, such as the vacuum brake booster.

Twisted brake hoses is another problem we keep an eye out for.

Brake hoses can become twisted for various reasons. Perhaps someone who was putting a caliper back on turned it one too many times.

The inspectors ensure that nothing is rubbing on or starting to wear through the brake hoses and they haven’t begun to develop excessive cracks.

A vehicle will fail if any active leaks or oil contamination is found.

Brake pads must be at or above 2/32 inches.

We may start recommending new brakes at 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch, but they have to be under 2/32 to fail inspection. At 2/32 of an inch, brakes will technically pass, but they might not within a week or a month, depending on your driving conditions.

Rotors need a certain thickness that’s based on a manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Excessive rust on the rotors is another symptom we look for.

You could have a caliper that is seized, or maybe a piston is pushing in but a caliper isn’t sliding. This means one pad isn’t making contact with the rotor and the wheel only has half of its braking ability. When we see a lot of rust built up on the rotor, it’s a good indication that the brakes aren’t working correctly.

Vehicle safety inspectors are also checking to make sure the parking brake is able to hold on a slight incline.

Some of the vehicles driven today use an electronic parking brake. They don’t even have a handle that you pull up; instead, it’s run by a computer.

There are different ways that the electronic parking brake needs to be tested during the state inspection.

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) light is another component that’s checked. A vehicle can still pass inspection, even if the yellow ABS light is on. However, it will not pass if the red brake light is on, because that could indicate a problem with the parking brake system or fluid.

If it feels like there is a mechanical issue, inspectors can take the car for a test drive.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.