Stop It! You Need Good Brakes!

Brake Repair in Kalispell, MT.

Most drivers are not prepared to react properly if their brakes fail. If you have ever been through the terrifying experience of having your brakes go out, you know that good brakes are one of the most important parts on any vehicle, especially in the Kalispell area. The best thing you can do for your car is to keep the brakes well maintained. Today, we will discuss warning signs that your car brakes are going bad, making good brake repair choices, and knowing when it is time to bring your car into the shop for a brake job.

Listen for noises associated with worn or bad brakes. The first indication that something is wrong with the brakes is an annoying and unusual sound. An obnoxious high-pitched squeaking sound, grinding noises, or scraping sound are all pretty clear indications that something is wrong.

A high-pitched squeaking or chirping sound is an early warning indicator that your brakes need repair. Most cars are equipped with a little piece of metal or device embedded in the brake pads, which causes that squeaking sound when it touches the rotor. The idea behind this is to allow you time to make an appointment for a brake repair. Once you hear that sound, schedule an appointment at Loren's Auto Repair as soon as possible.

If you hear a chattering or chirping sound, it can indicate that something is loose. This is a little more urgent. It could mean that your brake pad or even your brake calipers are loose, and if one of those parts falls off, you will have a very difficult time stopping your vehicle. If you are experiencing this sound, it is a good idea to park the vehicle until you can get it to the auto repair shop.

Grinding or scraping sounds normally indicate that your brake pad is completely worn down, and that the metal part of your brake is rubbing against the metal brake rotor, which can cause significant damage if left untreated.

Another warning sign that indicates that you may need a brake job is when your brake pedal is difficult to press. If your brake pedal begins to feel soft and spongy or hard to push in, it is time to get your brakes checked. And of course, if you notice a dashboard brake warning light, a quick brake inspection will easily determine the cause. Worn brake pads or warped rotors can cause vibrations to occur when braking. It is never safe to ignore braking vibrations. Failures in the anti-skid braking mechanism can also create shudders.

Replacing your brake pads is a recommended part of your maintenance routine. When replacing your brake pads, you do have several options to choose from. You can purchase standard brake pads, budget brake pads, or premium brake pads.

If you opt to get the same pads that came standard with your vehicle, you can expect the same performance and durability as with the factory pads that came on the car. You can also opt for inexpensive brake pads, or a budge brake pad, if your budget demands it.

As with most low-end items, you should be aware of the trade-offs that come with lower budget brake pads. Lower grade pads are often noisier than standard or premium brake pads, and they also tend to generate more of the black brake dust that accumulates on your wheels. Budget brake pads do not last as long as standard or premium brake pads. This means that you will have to spend the money to replace them sooner. The few dollars you save when buying budget brake pads is usually not worth the compromise.

The more expensive option when choosing which type of brake pad to purchase for your vehicle is premium brake pads. With premium brake pads, you can expect quieter operation, less brake dust, and better stopping power. They perform at much higher specifications than budget or factory brake pads.

If you drive around with worn or bad brake pads, you can do significant damage to your car’s rotors. To stop your vehicle, the brake pads clamp down on discs—or rotors. If you find that your rotor is scratched, you will need to bring your car into the auto repair shop to have it resurfaced or replaced.

Resurfacing a rotor is when a thin layer of metal is shaved off the surface to make it smooth. But if the grooves are too deep or if you have already had your rotor resurfaced in the past, there will not be enough material to resurface them again. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.

To keep your brakes performing safely and effectively, it is important to have the brake fluid changed. Changing the brake fluid is often overlooked, but scheduling to have the system cleaned and refilled with fresh brake fluid will help to ensure your brakes are working properly for optimal performance.

It’s always a good idea to remember that if you suspect, inspect. Have your brakes inspected if you notice any of these warning signs; an adviser will help you to make the best repair decision for you and your vehicle. 

Brake Service at Loren's Auto Repair in Kalispell

Brakes really aren't optional equipment for Kalispell car owners. And taking care of them isn't optional either.

A regular brake inspection is on every MT car's maintenance schedule. At Loren's Auto Repair, our team will check your brake system and let you know if there are any essential problems. Of course, if you're having trouble with your brakes, get your car into your Kalispell or Whitefish service center right away. And watch out for these problems:

  • Low or spongy brake pedal
  • Hard brake pedal
  • A brake warning light that stays on
  • Constantly squealing or grinding brakes
  • Vibrations or clunking sounds when you apply your brakes

There are two types of brakes: disc and drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that's attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, kind of like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Pads, called shoes, push against the inside of the drum to slow the vehicle.

There are several things that need to be serviced on the brake system. First, the brake pads and shoes wear out with use, and become too thin to really help. If the brake pads wear away completely you can damage the rotors. The calipers can grind grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor must either be resurfaced or replaced and that can be costly. But putting it off is dangerous because your Subaru won't stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack and must be replaced.

Brake fluid is also critical. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. Not enough fluid, not enough pressure to brake properly. Also, water builds up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks and dangerous brake damage, and with hard use, the brakes could severely fade or even fail. Kalispell motorists should change the brake fluid when their car maker recommends it.

There are different grades of brake pads sold in the Kalispell area. There are regular, metallic and ceramic - higher grades are more expensive, but give better braking performance and smoother operation. It's OK to upgrade your brake pads. But, never use a grade that's lower than what the car maker recommends.

Be sure to properly maintain your brakes because it's a lot cheaper than paying your nearest Kalispell area body shop after an accident.

Put On The Brakes: Brake Service At Loren's Auto Repair

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When it comes to preventive maintenance and car care, most Kalispell motorists know how critical it is to check their brakes. But brakes are more than just brake pads and shoes. There are a lot of components in the brake system, and they all need to be in good working order.

The pads and shoes are known as the friction materials in the brake system. They push together, providing friction, which stops the vehicle. It’s no wonder they have to be checked regularly for wear, and that brake pads and shoes need to be replaced periodically.

Brake pads/shoes gradually wear out, but that doesn’t mean your braking gradually becomes less effective. The pads are engineered so that they maintain good braking until they wear too thin to provide adequate friction. At this point, they need to be replaced.

But your braking system also has mechanical parts. These pistons and springs can also gradually wear out or get gummed up by oil, dirt and other road spatter. A brake inspection in Kalispell at Loren's Auto Repair includes a check of these parts as well as the pads and shoes. Your professional and courteous Loren's Auto Repair service advisor can then advise you of any parts that need cleaning or replacement.

The fluid component to the brake system needs a regular check-up at Loren's Auto Repair as well. The brake fluid cools and protects your brake system. Protective additives are gradually depleted by the operation of the brake system, and moisture build-up inside the fluid can diminish its effectiveness. When you have your brakes serviced at Loren's Auto Repair in Kalispell, the fluid should be checked and, if needed, replaced, which will clean out water, debris and dirt.

It is vital to remember that your brake system also includes your tires. No matter how well your brake system is performing, if your Subaru tires are worn, you won't get good stopping power. Traction is the gripping power of your tires to the roadway. Traction is always better on tires with a good tread. Good traction translates to good braking.

This is particularly vital on wet Whitefish roads. A good tire will give you good braking on either wet MT roads or dry. But stopping distance increases dramatically when worn tires meet wet roads. Tread on a tire acts to channel away water as the Subaru passes over the wet road, thus maintaining contact between the tire’s surface and the road, which maintains traction. But the thinner the tread, the less effective the water channels become, and water can get between the tire and the roadway, reducing friction. A loss of friction means a longer stopping distance and possibly the loss of control.

Braking depends on two things: the weight of your Subaru and the speed of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle or the faster the vehicle, the more braking power it requires. Thus, brake systems vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a pickup that is designed for heavy loads has a more powerful braking system than a compact car. Sports cars also have higher-grade braking systems than minivans.

Regardless of what kind of car you drive in Kalispell, it is always good auto advice to keep your brake system in good repair, and that means ALL of your brake system. Just one more way to keep your travels accident and worry-free.

Hitting The Brakes In Big Fork

Hello Kalispell, let's talk about brakes. Braking, as all MT motorists know, is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between Kalispell, Kalispell and Big Fork.

Hitting The Brakes In Big ForkBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new Subaru or truck rolls off a local Kalispell showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the Subaru. Kalispell car owners tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of auto manufacturers' specs that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around MT, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Loren's Auto Repair is important for your Subaru and your family's safety. At Loren's Auto Repair we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Loren's Auto Repair. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the Subaru fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Loren's Auto Repair cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the Subaru to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Kalispell area freeways and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. MT drivers need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

Stop It! You Need Good Brakes


Good brakes are obviously very important. If you've ever had your brakes go out while you're driving around the Kalispell area, you'll know how terrifying it can be. Today we'll focus on how to tell when you have a brake problem, and how to make good repair choices.

Often, the first indication that something's wrong with the brakes is an unusual sound. It could be a squeal, chatter or grinding sound.

Some brake pads have a little piece of metal embedded in them that will make a squeal or chirping sound when the brake pads have been worn down to the point that they need to be replaced. It's an early warning indicator.

When you hear that sound, schedule an appointment at Loren's Auto Repair soon.

Now a chattering sound is more urgent. That usually indicates that something is loose. It could be a brake pad or even the brake calipers. If one of those parts falls off, you could have some serious trouble stopping the vehicle. It would be a good idea to park it until you can get into the shop.

A grinding noise usually means that the brake pad is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are rubbing directly on the metal brake rotor. That means the rotor is being damaged and will need some work. More on that later.

Another warning sign is that your brake pedal may feel soft and spongy – or it may even feel very hard to push in. Both could mean trouble. And of course, you may get a dashboard brake warning light.

Now when it comes time to replace your brake pads, you have a choice to make. You can get the same pads that came standard on your vehicle. You can expect the same performance and durability as with the pads that came on the car from the factory.

Now you can also get a budget brake pad. Sometimes drivers insist on lower cost pads. That's OK if the budget demands it, but you need to be aware of the trade offs. Lower grade pads are usually noisier, so you'll have to live with more noise when you apply the brakes. They also tend to generate a lot more brake dust, you know, that black dust that accumulates on your wheels. And they probably won't last as long either. In our opinion, that's a lot of compromise for just a few dollars in savings.

You can also choose to buy premium brakes pads. These perform at higher specifications than the factory pads. You can expect quieter operation, less brake dust and better stopping power.

Now, getting back to the rotors. The rotors are the discs that the brake pads clamp down on to stop the vehicle. If you've been driving with completely worn brake pads, you've scratched grooves into the rotors. If the grooves aren't too deep, the rotor can be resurfaced. A thin layer of metal is cut off the surface of the rotor to make it smooth again.

Now, if the grooves are too deep or if the rotor has already be resurfaced before, there may not be enough material to resurface and still have a rotor that's thick enough to safely stop the vehicle. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.

Something that's often overlooked is the brake fluid. Your manufacturer has a recommended schedule for evacuating the old brake fluid, cleaning the system and refilling it with fresh brake fluid. This is really important to brake performance.

So here's the bottom line: if you suspect, inspect. If you notice any of these warning signs, have your brakes inspected. Your advisor can help you make the repair decision that's right for you.

Braking News: Keep Your Stopping Power

Having your vehicle’s brakes inspected is part of every vehicle’s routine maintenance schedule. At Loren's Auto Repair, we will check your brake system, correct any potential safety issues, and replace necessary parts.

If you are experiencing unusual symptoms while applying your brakes, it is absolutely essential that you bring your car into Loren's Auto Repair right away. Signs that your brakes need repair are squealing or grinding sounds when you brake, vibrations or clunking sounds when you brake, a brake warning light that stays on, a hard brake pedal, or a low or spongy brake pedal.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to get your brakes checked.

Your vehicle will come with one of two types of brakes, disc or drum. Disc brakes have a rotor that’s attached to the axle. Calipers straddle the rotor, much like the brakes on a bicycle. Drum brakes are more common on back wheels. Both types have pads or shoes that press against the brakes to slow the vehicle down. Brake pads and brake shoes are made from a very durable material that was designed to withstand the heat and force generated when you stop your car. Eventually, they wear out with use and need to be replaced.

If the brake pads wear our completely, it will cause damage to your rotors. The calipers will grind out grooves in the rotor. Then the rotor needs to be either resurfaced or replaced. When your rotors have grooves in them from the calipers, it can be fairly expensive, and it is also dangerous because your vehicle can’t stop as quickly. Sometimes rotors warp or crack, and they need to be replaced.

Brake service will also include a check of your brake fluid. When the brakes are applied, the pressure in the fluid activates the brake pads or shoes. When there isn’t enough fluid, you aren’t able to brake properly. Water can build up in the brake fluid over time, which leads to corrosion, leaks, and even brake failure. You should change the brake at the recommended intervals outlined in your vehicle’s owner manual.
There are also different grades of brake pads, a lower grade, a standard grade, and a premium grade. Higher grades cost more, but they also provide increased braking performance and smoother operation. It’s always beneficial to upgrade your brake pads, but you should never use a grade that’s lower than manufacturer’s recommendation.

Make sure you are properly maintaining your brakes; it is much less expensive to take care of them now than it is to pay for repairs after an accident occurs.

Come in to Loren's Auto Repair for an brake inspection before damage occurs. You can call ahead for an appointment by calling 406-755-7757.