How Your Vehicle’s Brakes Work

Most vehicles have different braking systems. If you have disk brakes, you can peer through the hubcap of your vehicle’s front wheel, and see a shiny metal disc. A pad consisting of a hard-wearing material clamps onto the brake disc and rubs it to make it slow down once you step on the brake pedal.

Some vehicles have disc brakes on all wheels while others have drum brakes on the back wheels. Drum brakes have shoes inside the hollow wheel hub that presses outwards. As the shoes push into the wheel, friction is what slows you down.

Your car also has a handbrake or as some call it, your emergency brake. When you pull this handbrake, it applies the two rear brakes (disc or drum) in a slower and less forceful way.

When you try to stop a speeding car, the energy from the car when you stop is converted into heat in the brake pads. These brakes can heat up to temperatures of 950⁰F or more. That is why brakes are made of materials that won’t melt such as alloys, ceramics, or composites.

Brakes use hydraulics which is a system of fluid-filled pipes that multiply force and transmit it easily from one place to another. Pressing your foot pedal would not generate enough force to apply all four brakes hard enough to bring you to a quick stop.

How Brakes Work

  • Push the brake pedal.
  • While the pedal moves down, it pushes a lever increasing your pushing force.
  • This lever pushes a piston into a narrow cylinder that is filled with hydraulic brake fluid.
  • While the piston moves into the cylinder, it squeezes hydraulic brake fluid out of the end.
  • Brake fluid squirts down a long, thin pipe until it reaches another much wider cylinder at the wheel.
  • Once the fluid enters the cylinder, it pushes the piston into the much wider cylinder with increased force.
  • The piston pushes the brake pad toward the brake disc.
  • Once the brake pad touches the brake disc, the friction between the two generates heat.
  • The friction is what slows down the outer wheel and tire, which stops your vehicle.

Your brake pedal operates four separate hydraulic lines running to each of the four wheels.

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How to Know If You Need an Emissions Inspection in Burke, VA

In Virginia, an emissions test is required for many original registrations. An emissions inspection must be done every two years in Burke, VA. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send vehicle owners renewal notices and the date the emissions test has to be completed.

Vehicles Subject to an Emissions Inspection Test

Cars, trucks, motor homes or RVs (recreational vehicle) are subject to an emissions test when:

  • A 1983 vehicle model or less (25 years older than the calendar year).
  • A diesel vehicle that is 1997 or newer which carries passengers or property.
  • Registered in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
  • A vehicle with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating up to 8500 pounds and runs on diesel.

Vehicles Exempt from Emissions Testing

  • 1983 model or older
  • New vehicle or the first registration provided by the manufacturer’s certificate or origin is attached
  • Hybrid vehicles
  • Powered by clean fuel
  • Diesel vehicle
  • 25 years or older powered by gasoline

Fee for Emissions Testing

The maximum emissions inspection in Burke, VA fee is $28 and is valid for two years. If the vehicle would happen to fail the inspection, it is eligible for ONE FREE retest when you take it back to the initial Burke, VA emissions inspection station within 14 calendar days of the original emissions inspection.

Emissions Inspection Stations

You can take your vehicle to any authorized emissions inspection station licensed by the State of Virginia. An authorized emissions inspection station will have an official sign issued by the DMV displayed along with the test standards and maximum fees.

Failed Emissions Test

You must have your vehicle repaired, and it must pass another emissions inspection test if it didn’t pass the original test in Burke, VA. If the amount of the repairs exceeds $815, you might be able to get a waiver. To qualify for a waiver, the repair work needs to be done at a DEQ certified repair center in Burke, VA and by a DEQ certified technician. To request a waiver, contact your DMV Emissions Test Facility.

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How to Know the Signs for a Brake Pad Replacement in Burke, VA

Are your brakes acting up? Signs you might need a brake pad replacement for your vehicle in Burke, VA include:

• Are your brakes continuously squeaking, squealing, or grinding?
• Are your brakes or anti-locking braking system (ABS) warning light coming on?
• Does your car jerk or pull to one side or the other when braking?
• Does your brake pedal feel soft or does it go all the way to the floor when pressed?

What happens if your brake light comes on?

If your brake warning light comes on, you need to take your vehicle to a certified technician for a brake inspection. It could indicate that your brake fluid is low, you may have worn brake pads in which case you will need a brake pad replacement, your brakes could be leaking, or quite possibly, you could even have a faulty sensor that may affect your antilock braking system.

What makes your car shake when you brake?

You could have an out-of-round rotor or brake drum which you are feeling through the brake pedal. You might have a sticking brake caliper with worn out brake hardware which causes you to feel vibrations through the steering wheel. If you are having these symptoms, take your vehicle to your mechanic in Burke, VA so that he can determine what repairs need to be done. Quite possibly, you will need a brake pad replacement

Why do you hear a grinding noise when stopping?

Once your brake pads wear down, you might hear a grinding noise from the worn down friction material allowing the metal backing plate to contact the rotor. At this point, you will need new rotors or the old ones repaired and also a brake pad replacement from your Burke, VA technician.

Why does my brake pedal feel spongy?

A spongy or soft brake pedal when you press down with your foot could mean you have air in your brake lines. Take it to your technician in Burke, VA to have your brakes inspected.

You should have your brakes checked at least once a year or every 15,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to see what your vehicle manufacturer suggests. Because of the materials and components that brakes are made of they wear down over time. A brake pad replacement for your Burke, VA vehicle is just part of regular maintenance and one you should never overlook. You should be able to have at least two brake pad replacements in Burke, VA before you have to replace your rotors.

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How to Obtain an Emissions Inspection near Fairfax Station, VA

Certain vehicles garaged near Fairfax Station, VA require a Virginia Emissions Inspection PASS or WAIVER before the DMV can complete a registration process. These vehicles are categorized by fuel type:

  1. Gasoline-Powered passenger or property carrying vehicles less than 25 years old before 1st of January of the current year which have a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less.
  2. Diesel-Powered passenger or property carrying vehicles built in 1997 or newer models with a gross weight of 8,500 pounds or less.

Those vehicles categorized by the above fuel type require an emissions inspection when garaged in the following locations:

  • The counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford
  • The cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park

An emissions inspection near Fairfax Station, VA is valid for two years and may be obtained by visiting a certified emissions inspection station or by driving past a RAPIDPASS on-road emissions testing site which is an optional program in the Northern Virginia area. RAPIDPASS lets motorist drive through an on-road RAPIDPASS system and after 72 hours they can go online and check their vehicle’s qualification status. They can pay for their emission inspection online and proceed with the registration renewal process for their Fairfax Station, VA vehicle.

Once you have completed the emission inspection near Fairfax Station, VA your DMV record will update automatically. You will not be able to register your vehicle until it has passed an emission inspection or has been issued an inspection waiver for repair costs that exceed a repair threshold.

If you are registering your vehicle for the first time near Fairfax Station, VA and it already has a current valid emissions inspection certificate acquired within the last twelve months, you can title and register your vehicle without a Virginia emissions inspection.

Vehicles are the single greatest pollutants in Northern Virginia. An emissions inspection is required to improve air quality near Fairfax Station, VA and other Northern Virginia areas. This helps to reduce emissions from motor vehicles driven near Fairfax Station, VA to make the air safer for you to breath.

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How a Virginia State Inspection near Springfield, VA is Performed

All vehicles near Springfield, VA are required to have an annual Virginia state inspection. The required inspection at an approved Springfield, VA state inspection center requires the following:

The state inspector at your Virginia state inspection center near Springfield, VA will remove your old inspection sticker and inspect certain parts and features on your vehicle to make sure they are in proper working order.

  • Brakes are inspected for worn or defective linings or drums, discs pads or rotors, leakage and proper fluid level.
  • The parking brake is checked for broken or missing parts and adjustment.
  • Headlights are inspected for the condition of the lamps, lenses, wiring, switch and the aim and output. Also, the high beam indicator is inspected.
  • Other lights are inspected for approved type, aim of fog and driving lamps, proper bulbs, the condition of lenses, illumination of all lamps and proper color of lenses. Every vehicle must have a rear lamp showing a red light to the rear and a white light illuminating the rear license plate.
  • The signal device is inspected for proper bulbs, correct operation, and illumination of lamps and proper lens color.
  • Steering and Suspension will be checked for wear in the bushings, kingpins, ball joints, wheel bearings and tie rod ends, play in the steering, leaking power steering fluid, and wheel and axle alignment.
  • Tire inspection for the condition of tires to see if they are cracked or damaged and the tread depth will also be checked.
  • Mirrors are inspected for road visibility, mounting, and the condition of the reflecting surface.
  • The windshield is inspected for cracks, scratches, broken glass or other obstruction to vision.
  • The condition of the windshield wiper and the operation of the defroster will be inspected.
  • Exhaust system inspection will check the exhaust line including manifold, gaskets, connections, muffler and pipes, and leaka ge of gases.
  • A seat belt and airbag inspection will also be performed to make sure each are in good operational condition.

Virginia state inspections are done for your safety and other Springfield, VA drivers on the highways. A Virginia state inspection ensures you that your car has passed the safety inspection requirements for all registered vehicles in the state of Virginia.

By knowing what to expect during your inspection, you can pre-check specific parts before taking your vehicle to a certified Virginia state inspection center near Springfield, VA. This way you can avoid having a rejection sticker instead of a current Virginia state inspection sticker applied to your vehicle by your state inspector near Springfield, VA.

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How Your Mechanic in Burke, VA Can Help Your Car Last Longer

The best way to keep your car lasting longer is to have a great mechanic in Burke, VA close to where you live. When you have a mechanic on your payroll, so to speak, you are paying him to make sure your vehicle is running at optimal performance. A good Burke, VA mechanic will give you guidelines to enhance the performance of your vehicle, some of which you can do yourself and some your mechanic will do.

  1. Follow your Vehicle Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule—Common sense should tell us that unless you are a mechanic, you should probably use your vehicle’s maintenance schedule as a guideline because it lays out a plan to help your car last longer. As a car owner, you purchased a mighty machine to get you where you want to go, and more than likely, it cost you a great deal of money. Protect your investment wisely. Read and follow your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and have it available for your mechanic.
  2. Check Your Vehicle’s Fluids and Tire Pressure—This is something most vehicle owners in Burke, VA do themselves and it only takes about 10 minutes. If you aren’t up to it or can’t find time, let your Burke, VA mechanic do the simple maintenance. If you are up for it, grab a rag. Make sure the engine is cool. Open up the hood. Pull out the dipstick to your oil. Wipe it clean. Reinsert it. Pull it out again. Check the stick to see how much oil you have. Remember: This is one of the most important engine fluids.
    • Check oil
    • Check radiator overflow and reservoir level and brake cylinder reservoir
    • Check power steering fluid level
    • Check hoses and belts for signs of wear
    • Check air cleaner
    • With cool tires, check your tire pressure and add air if needed according to your owner’s manual
    • Start the car and once it is warm—check the transmission fluid level

Regular maintenance on your vehicle in Burke, VA goes a long way in preserving you car’s engine. Invest in a good mechanic in Burke, VA or learn to do the simple maintenance on your own vehicle. Either way, keep up with the maintenance on your vehicle and take care of your investment.

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How Auto Care Maintenance near Fairfax Station, VA Keeps Cars Running

The key factor in keeping your car running in tip-top shape is auto care maintenance near Fairfax Station, VA. Having regular fluid changes, filter changes and tire checks and other services will help to avoid more expensive repairs later. Over time with just normal driving, some auto parts and components will wear out and need to be replaced. Regular care maintenance near Fairfax Station, VA will help you address any issues before they become bigger ones.

Care maintenance on your engine, known as a tune-up will keep your engine working at its best and delivers the best power and fuel economy. Regular oil and filter changes and checking fluids are part of regular care maintenance near Fairfax Station, VA that should never be overlooked.  Inspect belts and hoses at each oil change for leaks, cracks and visible signs of wear. If a serpentine belt fails or breaks, your engine will fail to run and may leave you stranded.

Brakes are a normal wear item for any vehicle. Eventually, they will need to be replaced as regular care maintenance for your vehicle near Fairfax Station, VA. Your car’s braking system is your most important safety system. Never put off care maintenance on your braking system when needed.

Tires connect you to the road and affect your handling, traction, ride and safety. Proper care maintenance of tire balance and wheel alignment reduces tire wear and improves handling and fuel economy.

Check engine lights became standard on all car makes and models in 1996. This light tells you there is a problem with your car’s engine and you need to take it for a diagnostic test to evaluate the problem and have it fixed immediately near Fairfax Station, VA.

Staying warm or cool in your vehicle is crucial for interior comfort and safety reasons such as your defrosting. Having regular care maintenance near Fairfax Station, VA on your car’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system will keep your vehicle ride comfortable in any season. You should have a thorough inspection of your car’s heating and A/C system annually.

To keep your vehicle’s appearance looking new, your regular care maintenance near Fairfax Station, VA should include frequent washing and periodic polishing to protect your vehicle. Frequent cleaning prevents the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt that will damage a car’s finish. Road salt in the winter months near Fairfax Station, VA are extremely harmful to your vehicle’s finish and will cause it to rust through.

Care maintenance near Fairfax Station, VA keeps your vehicle safe and in good running condition.

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How Brake Service near Fairfax Station, VA Prevents Accidents

Brake Service in Fairfax Station, VA

Some vehicle owners wait for their brakes to start grinding or notice the brake pedal feels soft before going for brake service near Fairfax Station, VA. Keeping your vehicle in good working condition helps prevent accidents and protects your investment.

One of the most important systems on your vehicle is its braking system. You should have regular brake service near Fairfax Station, VA to keep your brakes working properly. Brakes that don’t work properly don’t stop fast enough, and you could end up causing an unfortunate accident.

How to Know When You Need Brake Service near Fairfax Station, VA

  1. Look at your brake pad for visible wear. The outside pad will be pressed against your rotor. There should be at least 3mm of pad. If there is less, you should have brake service near Fairfax Station, VA to replace your brake pads.
  2. The brakes are not as responsive as they should be when applied.
  3. The feel when brakes are applied is low, spongy or soft.
  4. The wheels lock when braking.
  5. The car pulls to one side or the other when applying brakes.
  6. The brakes squeal or make a grinding noise.
  7. The steering wheel shimmies or vibrates during braking.
  8. The brake warning light comes on. Do not ignore.

A Little Bit About Brakes

  • Having brake service near Fairfax Station, VA is a critical part of keeping your vehicle safe and running smoothly. Keeping your brakes in good working condition with regular brake service near Fairfax Station, VA can prevent more costly repairs down the line.
  • Braking systems need periodic inspection and attention to ensure proper operation and performance.
  • At 30 mph it takes 80 feet for properly operating brakes to stop your vehicle. Drivers who tailgate put themselves and others in danger if they do not have proper working brakes.

Brakes use friction to stop your vehicle, and as time wears on, so do your brake pads. When they do, you should not prolong taking your vehicle in for brake service near Fairfax Station, VA. If you wait too long, you will end up spending more and have to replace your rotors as well.

By following your owner’s manual, you should know when it is time to take your vehicle in for brake service near Fairfax Station, VA. A good rule of thumb is to inspect your brake pads for wear every 12,000 miles. Keeping a close eye on your brakes is necessary for your safety as well as other motorist on the highway.

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How to Communicate with your Auto Repair Mechanic near Fairfax Station, VA

If you put off taking your vehicle to an auto repair mechanic near Fairfax Station, VA for needed repairs or maintenance, you can compromise your car’s safety and performance. Missing regular maintenance or needed repairs for your vehicle might save you a few dollars now but later will, no doubt, cost even more.

The best way to save money over the life of your car is to have an auto repair mechanic near Fairfax Station, VA who is highly regarded and ASE certified. By allowing this auto repair mechanic to handle all your maintenance and repairs on your vehicle, he can recommend all the necessary repairs to prevent breakdowns and bigger and more costly repairs later.

The better you can communicate with your auto repair mechanic near Fairfax Station, VA as to what is wrong with your car, the easier it will be for your mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem with your vehicle. Write down anything you have noticed that your vehicle is doing that is not normal such as what kind of sounds it is making, leaks you have noticed, or any strange smells. If it quit running, what happened prior to it stopping. How was it different than before it stopped? Let your auto repair mechanic near Fairfax Station, VA know when the last time you had your vehicle into the shop and what it was in there for. It could be related.

Here is a list of common vehicle symptoms for you to use as a checklist if your vehicle is headed for the repair shop near Fairfax Station, VA:

  • Backfiring—a gunshot sound coming from the engine or tailpipe.
  • Bottoming—an excessive noise felt through your steering wheel or passenger compartment when going over bumps.
  • Bucking—a lurching feeling when your engine hesitates, or your transmission slips changing into gear.
  • Hesitation-a brief loss of power during acceleration.
  • Knocking—a rapid rattling heard when accelerating.
  • Sluggish—when your car does not accelerate smoothly or strong enough.
  • Surge—a sudden change in your engine’s speed.

Dealing with an auto repair mechanic near Fairfax Station, VA will be less stressful if you do not set unrealistic expectations. A quick and cheap repair might sound great, but keep in mind, there may be others ahead of you and always be sure to get an estimate before allowing your mechanic to do the repairs. This way there are no unforeseen charges. Leave your phone number with your auto repair mechanic in Fairfax Station, VA so that if another repair is necessary, he can call you before doing the repair.

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How Lubricheck Saves Time and Money On an Oil Change in Burke, VA

How often you should have an oil change for your vehicle in Burke, VA is quite a controversy. The advice since WWII has been to have an oil change every 3,000 miles. This advice was ingrained in most people by oil companies and service stations. With the significant advances in automotive and oil technology, this has dramatically extended intervals between oil changes in Burke, VA.

Newer manufactured automobiles such as Ford, Toyota, Audi, BMW, and others have engine oil quality sensors or other methods to estimate oil quality. These systems have dramatically reduced the frequency of oil changes in Burke, VA and have maintained the exceptional health of the engine over the life of the vehicle.

There is now a way that you can scientifically analyze your oil quality anytime and anyplace. Lubricheck, developed by WaveOn Technologies, is a handheld device that will give you the same results as the advanced technology found in many newer automobiles. Lubricheck also tests any sudden drop in your oil quality which can be caused by impurities in the oil such as coolant leaks, water, and metal particles.

Most people change the oil in their vehicles in Burke, VA, solely based on mileage. By doing it this way, it does not take into consideration these variables:

  • The condition of the engine, poor, fair, or good.
  • A person’s driving habits, driving fast, slow, steady, rapid acceleration, number of cold starts, and frequent speed changes.
  • Climate, whether it is hot or cold, humid or dry, driving on highways, or up mountains and hills.
  • The type of oil whether synthetic or standard.

These variables are hard to evaluate, so experts have advocated frequent oil changes to be on the “safe side.” Now you have the option of testing your own oil with Lubricheck and have an oil change only when needed in Burke, VA.

Wasted oil has an impact on our environment. Oil and oil filters not properly disposed of are considered to be one on the highest environmental hazards. The EPA estimates that people who change their own oil in Burke, VA do not properly dispose of or recycled; thereby, this is not good for the environment. With Lubricheck, you can save oil with fewer oil changes in Burke, VA and still make sure your engine is maintained in peak condition.

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