Getting your brakes checked and serviced is a normal part of vehicle ownership. It’s also important for keeping your MINI running as safely as it should. Since the brakes are one of the most important parts of your car, it’s a good idea to understand the basics. Here are a few things you need to know.
Your Ideal Brake Service Schedule
One of the most common questions we hear is: “How often do I need to have my MINI’s brakes serviced?” The answer to this question depends, in part, on your driving habits. If you’re an aggressive driver or live in a city where you have to do a lot of stop-and-go driving, your brakes are going to need service sooner.
Generally, MINI recommends that you have your front and rear brakes removed and serviced at least once every 12 months or 12,000 miles. In addition, you’ll want to change out your rotors approximately every 30,000 to 70,000 miles. If you’re rough on your vehicle, plan to shorten these timeframes.
Signs Your MINI Needs Brake and Rotor Service
There’s no reason to wait until you have problems with your brakes and rotors to get them serviced. However, if you notice any of the following warning signs, you’ll want to make an appointment with a certified MINI technician as soon as possible.
Brake Light Turns On
The most obvious sign you have a problem with your brakes is when you see the brake light warning on your dashboard. This light could simply mean that you’re due for an inspection. On the other hand, it could be a sign of a larger issue. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if your warning light comes on, do yourself a favor and have a technician take a look at your brakes.
Grinding or Squealing Sound
If you hear a strange noise when you apply your brakes, this is definitely a red flag. A squealing sound typically means you need to replace your brake pads. Your brake pad wear indicators are made of steel and will make a metallic-sounding squeal when they come into contact with the rotor.
A grinding sound could be caused by something as simple as a rock or piece of gravel stuck in your calliper unit. Or, it could be a result of your brake pads being worn all the way through. If you have rust in your brake shoe, this could also cause a grinding sound.
Vibration, Scraping, or Wobbling
If your steering wheel shakes or vibrates when you apply the brake, your might have uneven wear in your rotor. Other possible issues could be your brake caliper not releasing properly or damaged brake components. It’s difficult to diagnose this on your own, so you’ll want to have a professional take a look at your vehicle as soon as possible.
Pulling When Braking
Does your MINI pull to one side when you apply your brakes? If so, this is another sign that you could have a caliper problem or a bad brake hose.
If you notice a strong chemical odor coming from your vehicle when you apply your brakes, it’s important to pull over in a safe place as soon as you can. Make sure your parking brake is released and wait for your brakes to cool before you start driving again. Otherwise, your brakes can overheat so much that it causes your brake fluid to overheat, which can lead to brake failure.
If you notice smoke coming from one of your vehicle’s wheels, you might have a stuck brake caliper. In this case, it’s unsafe to drive your vehicle until it has been repaired.
Soft or Spongy Brake Pedal
If you notice your brake pedal doesn’t have the usual amount of resistance, this is another potential red flag. A brake pedal that feels “soft” or goes all the way to the floor is a sign of a serious problem. Some of the most likely causes are air or moisture in your braking system or an issue with the master cylinder.
Dangers of Missed Brake Service
It’s normal to get busy and let your routine vehicle maintenance fall to the wayside. You may also be able to ignore red flags for a while. However, if you don’t get the service you need, your brake pads or roters can wear out, The damage will continue getting worse, eventually becoming more expensive to repair. In the worst case, your brakes could fail while you’re driving, creating a situation that’s dangerous for both you and other drivers.
Don’t Wait to Service Your Brakes!
The highly-trained technicians at The Haus have years of experience working on MINI Cooper brakes and routers. Whether you’ve noticed one of the red flags listed above or you’re ready for some proactive service, we’re here to help.
We have two locations to serve you – one in Sherman Oaks and another in Santa Monica. Contact us today to schedule a VIP service appointment at the location of your choice!