It happens in every town across the world, and I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself, young kids in their souped-up cars gathering together of an evening, or especially a weekend. Shiny wheels, loud stereos and blacked out windows are all hallmarks of the boy racer, who, despite their name usually have less driving ability than most! The boom of the aftermarket exhausts compliment that of the bass and make what would otherwise be a quiet car park a lively and often intimidating place.
I paint this picture of a Saturday night in any town you care to mention, including mine, not to fill you with rage at the ‘youth of today’, but rather to highlight a growing problem – that of car maintenance. Studies have shown recently that despite cars growing ever more powerful, the level of maintenance is at its lowest ever. You may say that modern engines don’t need as much looking after, and in some sense that is right, but performance models today tend to be more highly strung, so that when they do go wrong it happens in a big way.
More than that, this culture of not knowing how to maintain your vehicle, or in some cases being almost prevented from doing so by the manufacturer, leads to a nation ignorant of the warning signs. Boy racers highlight this mainly because of their more enthusiastic driving styles, but the amount of people who don’t pay any attention to small maintenance matters on their vehicle is vast. From balding tyres to worn or damaged brake pads, low brake fluid to oil levels, it is important to know what to look out for with your car.
Whilst fluids and tyres are simple enough to check, damaged brake pads are not as easy to spot. It might not be until it is too late that you find out they need to be replaced. So, here are the warning signs to look out for:
– Vibration, knocking or grinding when braking
– Other odd sounds or smells when braking
– Changes in trajectory i.e. veering off to one side
– An increased stopping distance
This infographic from Autodoc gives more detailed information and is a handy take away guide to possible braking problems. If you notice any of these when driving, get your vehicle checked as soon as possible. Even if nothing is wrong, it serves to check, and learn to look for these signs in the future.