Increase the lifespan of your car and maximise vehicle safety with regular services. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff can service your car with original matching quality parts while saving your hundreds on dealership prices. To find out what's included in your Car Service and more visit Car Servicing
Brake Disks and Pads Checking your car brakes regularly is part of any vehicle’s preventative maintenance plan. It allows you to identify potential problems before they impact your braking abilities. As a result, you get the opportunity to react before it’s too late and ensure that your vehicle’s braking system operates at peak level. You never know when you will need to brake suddenly in an emergency situation. If your brakes are worn, it could literally mean the difference between life and death. Everyone should know how important brakes are, and properly servicing your car and brakes should always remain a top priority. Find out more by visiting the Brakes section of our website.
Think about how often you apply the brakes and it becomes abundantly clear how important these car parts are. While car brakes should be replaced at about 50,000 miles, there are several factors that determine how long they will last. It all depends on the type of car you drive, where you drive, the number of passengers, your driving style and the quality of brake pads previously fitted. The type of brake pads on your vehicle can certainly affect how long they will last. Here is a simple breakdown of the most common types of car brake pads:
- Organic brake pads are cheaper but won’t last very long
- Low metallic car brake pads are noisy with a slightly longer lifespan
- Semi-metallic car brake pads are common as they have a long lifespan and more affordable
- Ceramic brake pads last longer than any other brake pads and are more resistant to wear but they are also the most expensive
Similarly to brake pads, the lifespan of brake discs will differ depending on the type of vehicle. Brake pads and brake discs often need to be replaced simultaneously but discs mostly outlast pads. It is common for front brake discs to get too thin which results in overheating and a loss of braking efficiency. You should replace your brake discs when the thickness reaches the minimum allowed threshold which is etched on the outer disc rotor. Remember to replace both brake discs on the same axle at the same time. This will extend the life of your braking system and allow all the safety critical components to operate at optimum levels.
Signs your brakes might be failing
Brakes are one of the most essential parts of any vehicle and you should check them at least once a year. Just how do you know when your brakes need replacing? There are several ways your car might tell you that it’s time to replace the brake pads or brake discs from grinding, pulsating to a spongy brake pedal. If your car does any of the following, you should arrange a FREE brake inspection at Elite Garages. Our expert technicians will tell you everything you need to know about your brakes while getting dealership quality service at affordable rates. Grinding is a common sound when brake pads are worn. More often than not, the noise comes from the brake pad being worn down to the metal caliper. While there are many reasons why brakes squeal, it commonly suggests that the brake pads have worn down. If your car pulls to either side when applying the brakes, your car’s brakes are no longer evenly-balanced. This is usually a sign of sticky hydraulics or a mechanical component, like a seized caliper, that prevents your car from slowing down in a straight line. When your brake pedal pulsates while applying brakes, it could indicate that the brake discs have become warped. This is usually as a result of excessive heat. When car brakes start to wear, it could affect your overall performance. If pulling away feels sluggish, your brake calipers are sticking which causes your car to drive as if the brake discs were partially engaged. A clear sign that moisture has entered the brake lines is a spongy feel when applying the brake pedal. It makes the car’s brakes seem unresponsive, as the moisture prevents the brake fluid from flowing through the system effectively. This is indicative of old brake fluid that needs replacing or that your brakes are worn. Most car manufacturers agree that you should change the brake fluid every two years for optimal performance. At Elite Garages we know first-hand how important regular brake checks are and the effective maintenance thereof. All of our branches offer a FREE brake inspection with trained experts ready to inspect all aspects of your car brakes. They will identify any possible issues to help keep you safe on your journey. If you require a repair or a replacement, we provide you with a no-obligation quote and will never do any work without your consent.
Why is wheel alignment important?
Regularly checking the wheel alignment on your car can extend the life of your tyres by up to 12,000 miles. Correctly adjusting wheel alignment can also increase fuel efficiency and fix any potential steering and suspension problems. Doing it often, and at a reputable centre, wheel alignment can also help increase your vehicle’s stability. Incorrect alignment can result in rapid, uneven tyre wear and can even affect the handling and safety of your vehicle. Look for any unusual, premature wear on your tyres on the inside or outside shoulder. This could be the first sign of incorrect alignment. Find out more about why this is important and what to do in our Wheel Alignment section.
What causes misalignment?
When you hit a kerb or drive relatively fast over a pothole, and even speed bumps, could result in misalignment. Of course, the more severe circumstances include accidents where you actually knock your vehicle’s suspension out of alignment. Remember that any wear on suspension parts are also a common cause for wheel misalignment.
How often should I check my wheel alignment?
While wheel alignment checks should be done at least every 6 months or 6,000 miles, you should get it looked at immediately when you’ve hit a kerb or been in an accident. Incorrect alignment almost certainly leads to uneven tread wear which means you will have to replace your tyres sooner than is actually required.
Understanding wheel alignment
Wheel alignment involves checking the direction and angle of your wheels. The misaligned positions are often referred to as toe in, toe out, positive camber or negative camber. “Toe” is the difference in distance between the front and back of the tyres. Toe-in means that the front of the tyres are closer to each other than the rear and toe-out is exactly the opposite. Incorrect toe alignment can result in your vehicle steering to one side. “Camber” is the angle of the wheel measured in degrees and involves the inward or outward tilt of a tyre. If the top of the wheel leans out from the centre of the car, the camber is positive; if it’s leaning in, then the camber is negative. If the camber is too far negative, for example, your tyres will wear on the inside of the tread. All of our branches offer a FREE Vehicle Check with expert technicians ready to assist in any way they can.
Many car owners may not realise the importance of an exhaust in the running of a healthy car. It’s no surprise really as many drivers pay more attention to engine and tyres rather than exhaust repair or exhaust replacement. Exhaust pipes play a pivotal role in diverting exhaust fumes out of your engine, which in turn keeps your vehicle running smoothly. Built-up exhaust fumes can ultimately cause engine deterioration which is why checking your exhaust system regularly at a professional service centre is essential. Exhausts typically last for about five years although there are many other factors to take into consideration. Need to know more? Check out our dedicated page on what to look out for and how to maintain and effect Exhaust
Along with brakes and shocks, your clutch is one of the most essential parts on your vehicle. It’s important to pay close attention to early signs of clutch issues as leaving it unchecked could cause major problems later. A clutch repair is likely to set you back a fair amount of money, which is why you should always use an accredited and qualified service centre. At Elite Garages, our experienced technicians will advise you on any clutch repairs or clutch replacements required. We offer competitive prices and provide you with dealership quality service from the onset and throughout. Find out more here on our Clutch page.
Car batteries of today are mostly maintenance-free with a performance indicator so there really aren’t many physical checks you can perform yourself. The only thing you need to do is make sure that the terminal connections are tightened without any debris. A neat trick is to coat the car battery terminal connections with petroleum jelly to further prevent the build-up of corrosive material. Remember to not tighten the battery terminals too much as it could damage the battery casing and lead posts and result in battery failure. Another important point to keep in mind is crossing the positive and negative terminals. This can cause an electric shock, permanent battery damage and even an explosion in some cases. Find out more here on our Batteries page.
If your car has air conditioning, you probably already know that it is supposed to do more than just keep you cool. When serviced correctly, car air conditioning helps filter out pollen, pollutants and airborne bacteria. It’s a multi-purpose component for your car providing heat, cool air and improving the quality of air inside the cabin. An air conditioning service is not included in a normal car service schedule so people often forget to have it checked. If your car is older than 2 years or maybe you’ve never had the air conditioning serviced, perhaps now is a good time. We also recommend that you use your air conditioning all year round even if only for one or two short trips every week. You might be surprised to learn that this helps keep the system well-lubricated and prevents leaks. Find out when a Service might be necessary by checking out our dedicated Air Con page.
Why is suspension important?
The suspension system in your car consists of several components, including the chassis, which holds the cab of the car. Other important parts are the springs that support the vehicle weight, absorb and reduce excess energy from road shocks and, of course, the shock absorbers and struts. Your car’s suspension must be in good working condition as worn components may reduce driving stability and control. Without repairing or replacing a worn suspension, other components could wear at an accelerated pace. Your suspension and shock absorbers are important for a number of reasons, find out more on our Suspension section.
Tyre Safety Check
Not attending to tyre safety is a vital factor in many road accidents every year. You can have the best brakes and shocks but it won’t help if your tyres are worn or damaged. The idea behind braking is to have sufficient friction between the road surface and your tyres so your car can come to a complete stop. Poor tyre maintenance will lead to worn treads which means your tyres will slide all over the road without stopping the car. This also affects handling and steering ability. Tyre damage is a real concern and can occur in several ways, not just age or mileage. In fact, other factors include emergency braking, incorrect tyre inflation, wheel alignment, and poor road surface. Find out what's included in your FREE check and more on our dedicated Tyre Safety Check page.
Just as an annual health check is important to you, a car diagnostic test can help your car. Diagnostics can detect problems before they get worse and require expensive repairs or an inconvenient breakdown. While many drivers think a diagnostic test is only necessary once the dashboard lights up, there are many benefits of a proactive approach to car maintenance. Find out what's involved here on our Diagnostics page.
The purpose of the MOT is to ensure that your vehicle meets the minimum safety level required by law. If your vehicle is older than 3 years you are required to have an annual safety check, known as MOT (Ministry Of Transport) test. During the MOT the tester will conduct an inspection and a comprehensive series of checks around the vehicle. This includes the interior, exterior, under the bonnet and under the vehicle.
Once the MOT test is completed, you will receive either a Pass or Fail – with a corresponding certificate. If your car passes its MOT, you will receive a VT20 MOT certificate. In the likelihood of failing your MOT, test centres issue a VT30 ‘Refusal of an MOT Test Certificate’. This will include the details of your car, the MOT test number and reasons why it didn’t pass. Find out everything you need to know about the subject in our MOT page.