The brakes on your car are critical, and if there is a problem with them, you need to have them repaired right away. Having a brake inspection done on your car or truck is often something you can add on to regular service, and most service centers will check the system for free.
Complete Brake Inspections
When you take your car to a brake shop for a full brake inspection of the system, the technician working on your vehicle will check all the system components. The brake pads and shoes are often the first things people worry about, but the system also needs to be checked for leaks and damage that could cause the brakes to fail while you are driving.
The technician will often check the brake lines under the car, the calipers and rotors or shoes and drums, depending on the vehicle, and the master cylinder on your vehicle. The brake inspection should also include checking the brakes' friction material, and a good service center will do a lamp inspection to ensure that the brake lights are working when the pedal is depressed.
A brake center is the best place for this work because they specialize in brake systems, but there are times when a brake inspection is less involved, and only part of the system is checked.
Basic Brake Inspection
When you take your car to the service center to have an oil change and a tire rotation, you may want to ask the technician working on your vehicle to do a basic brake inspection for you. Since the tires are off the car anyway, the tech can check the brakes' condition for you.
If you are experiencing any strange braking or handling when on the brakes, it could be related to worn pads or shoes or damage to a rotor or brake drum. The technician will check brakes for you, but unless there is an apparent leak or issue with a line or the master cylinder, they may not look at those during this brake inspection.
If your car needs new brake pads, most service centers can change them while the vehicle is on the lift, but if the tech finds a significant issue with the system, you may want to take the car to a brake repair shop to have them make the repairs. While many service centers can handle brake repairs, some things can come up during the repairs that are easier for the brake repair shop to deal with.
The time involved in making the repairs is often not something an oil change and service shop has because they are moving cars through the shop quickly, but if you take the report of what they found to a brake shop, they will check and repair the system for you.