Your braking system is without a doubt the most important thing in your car that needs to be working properly at all times.
Major brake repairs can be covered with the right kind of vehicle breakdown coverage (often referred to as an extended car warranty).
Responsive brakes help you avoid incidents and accidents. If a mechanic tells you they’re broken or something is wrong with them, you usually won’t hesitate to say yes to a repair. Unfortunately, dishonest mechanics know this and they’ll often upsell brake services when you don’t need them.
Read below to avoid falling for a brake scam at the repair shop.
How does your car’s braking system work?
Most cars today have brakes on all four wheels of the car. They work on a hydraulic system and brakes can be disc type or drum type.
In many cars, you will find both types, with disc brakes, which are more efficient, in the front and drum brakes in the rear. Expensive and high-performance cars may have all-disc braking systems while older and smaller cars can have all-drum systems.
When your foot pushes on the brake pedal, a piston moves into the cylinder and squeezes hydraulic fluid into the entire braking system. It then transfers pressure to all four brakes in equal amounts. Your car comes to stop because of the friction created between the brake pads and brake rotors.
If you’re looking for an extended car warranty and service plan, here are some tips on how to find an affordable extended car warranty online.
Why are brake scams so common at the repair shop?
Dishonest mechanics upselling unnecessary repairs is nothing new. Upselling brake repairs is perhaps the most common upsell.
To put it simply, people fear having their brakes suddenly stop working on the road. Manager, job ticket writers and mechanics all stand to gain if they upsell you services you don’t need because they split the commission.
If your trusted mechanic tells you you need new brakes, you may not need to question their recommendation.
But if you’re trying out a new mechanic or you’ve simply gone to the nearest shop, don’t immediately say yes.
How to avoid a brake scam at the repair shop
The number one rule is to be cautious and get estimates from various shops before agreeing to getting any work done on your car.
When you hear that your brakes are bad, it’s very likely that all you need is new brake pads. It’s normal for brake pads to wear out from use.
In general, you should be replacing your brake pads every 40,000 to 50,000 miles (which is around every 3 years on average).
If a mechanic is insisting you to replace pads, rotors and/or calipers, you can ask him to show you the parts and to tell you exactly why they need replacement.
You can ask for other more inexpensive options instead of getting a full replacement of the braking system. For example, mechanics can scrape a layer of metal from the rotors to create a blemish-free area (this is referred to as “turning the rotors”).
Does Vehicle Repair Protection cover necessary brake repairs?
Vehicle Repair Protection can provide coverage for parts of your brakes that are malfunctioning. Major components of the brake system are covered so you don’t have to pay an expensive repair bill. You just pay a low-monthly subscription each month, take your car to the repair shop as soon as you notice something going wrong, and VRP takes care of the rest.
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