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Brake Service 101: The Pros and Cons of Tackling This Task Yourself

It’s time to get your brakes checked. While searching for where to find “brake service near me,” you may consider attempting to complete this task on your own to save money. After all, you’re used to changing your own oil and fixing various parts in your car that have worn out over time, so why can’t you fix your brakes as well? You may find that DIY brake service isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t have accurate knowledge of the process and what complications to watch out for. However, some drivers may feel confident enough to take on this type of project. If you’re on the fence, let’s discuss some common benefits and limitations to watch out for when it comes to typical brake service for your vehicle.

What Does Brake Service Entail?

When you bring your vehicle to a shop for brake service, there is a list of tasks the certified technicians will complete. These include inspecting your brakes and looking for any wear and tear. You may need some work done to your brakes, which usually consists of brake pad or shoe replacements and rotor or drum services. They will also check your brake fluid level and change it, if necessary, as well as check your anti-lock brake sensors, parking brake, and essentially all aspects of your brake system. Do you think you want to take this on yourself? Let’s go over some of the main pros and cons.

A mechanic is shown holding a rotor.

Pro: You Choose the Parts for Your Vehicle

A big benefit of choosing to complete brake service yourself is the fact that you’re in control of the quality of parts that go into your vehicle. When you take your vehicle to a service center, especially one that may like to cut costs, you won’t have the best selection when it comes to the parts offered for your vehicle. Choosing to go about this on your own allows you to do your research and find the best brake elements to ensure that you’re enjoying a safe and controlled ride. From your brake pads to your rotors, you’ll have the chance to purchase the parts that meet your expectations. Plus, if you’re looking to harness firmer stopping power or more responsiveness, you’ll be able to achieve this better if you’re in charge of this task. This is particularly important if you engage in activities such as autocross or track days, where specialized, upgraded brake components may be desired.

Con: You’ll Need Ample Room and Potentially Costly Equipment

Brake service isn’t quite as simple as an oil change. You’re going to need enough space to jack your vehicle up and support it safely on stands so that you can get underneath it and properly work on it. Many vehicles have disc brakes, which are located in a tight spot behind each wheel. It can be challenging to get into this small space without the help of a commercial lift system. You’ll also need various tools that may not reside in your garage, including combination wrenches, a ratchet and socket set, jack system, lug wrenches, as well as a specialized brake tool called a caliper clamp. If you don’t have all of these tools readily available, it could end up costing you a pretty penny to fix your brakes yourself. However, you only need to buy these tools once. Once you have them, you can keep using them on future brake jobs.

Pro: Brake Service Is Done on Your Time

It can often be a hassle to find time to bring your car in for service, especially when you have a busy schedule. By choosing to perform brake service yourself, you’ll be able to do this at a time that works for you, instead of being limited to when a service center is available. Although most service centers offer convenient scheduling and plenty of flexible hours, some drivers wish to have more control over the process and complete it on their terms. Keep in mind that choosing to do this yourself may take more time than if you were to hire a professional, which means that you may have to devote one of your weekend days to this instead of taking the time to relax.

A mechanic is shown repairing brakes.

Con: It Can be Difficult to Diagnose a Problem

Unless you’re well-versed in working with brake systems, complications may arise that you’ll be scratching your head to find a solution to. Sometimes, it’s not as cut and dry as simply removing the old brake pads and installing new pads. Sometimes, there are underlying problems that need to be addressed. For instance, if some pads are wearing at a faster rate than others, this may be due to dirty calipers, hydraulic brake line issues, or problems with your master cylinder. This can be difficult to diagnose on your own, especially if you notice that your brakes have begun to grind or they’re not working as efficiently as before. In the end, it can cause a routine brake replacement to become a much more complex, daunting, and sometimes expensive process.

Pro: You May Be Able to Save Money

Service centers not only charge for parts, but they also charge for labor. These professionals are well-trained in their field, diagnosing issues and fixing problems that you may not be capable of fixing, and they deserve to be paid well for their expertise. If you’re confident that you’ll be able to service your brakes on your own, you’ll only need to pay for parts, which can end up saving you a good amount of money. It’s important to note, however, that should an issue arise, you may have to take your car into the professionals, which may end up costing you more than you initially planned for. This is why it’s only recommended that those who are confident in their ability to perform brake service on their vehicles do this themselves.

A mechanic is shown performing a brake change.

Con: There’s Little Room for Error

Every driver understands how important brakes are. In choosing to perform a brake service yourself, you run the risk of making a serious error, which can result in an unsafe driving experience. From installing the wrong type of parts to placing them in the incorrect locations, there are rookie mistakes that can end up costing you big time. Not only could this result in serious damage to your brake system as a whole, but this can cause you to find yourself in an unsafe driving situation, which may result in a serious accident. Again, unless you’re confident in your ability to perform this service yourself, it’s not worth the risk.

Why Many Drivers Turn to the Professionals for Brake Service

It’s true that only a select few are comfortable and confident enough to take on brake service by themselves. It’s a critically important component of your vehicle that has the potential to wreak havoc on your experience on the road, as well as impact those traveling around you. Many drivers choose to bring their vehicles in for brake service at a reputable service center to have peace of mind with the process. These facilities are staffed with experienced and highly trained technicians, and they also have the resources available to them in order to complete this process properly and in a timely manner.

If you’re comfortable with working on your vehicle’s brake system on your own, be sure that you know what to expect and have the necessary tools at your disposal so that you’re able to complete the process correctly. We can’t stress enough how crucial it is to service your brakes with the utmost care, because they are some of the most important components of your vehicle. If you’re ready to take on this challenge, be sure to arm yourself with plenty of knowledge, secure the proper tools, and pay careful attention to every step of the process.