AUTO: Are Regular Car Maintenance Checks Important?

Chris, Shannon, and Russ answers all your questions on car repair during their two-hour call-in radio show, Saturday mornings from 10AM-Noon on WTYM AM 1380 & FM 103.7.

Dear Motor Medics,
My car runs pretty good and I am not one to bring it in just to have it checked over once in a while. I am more of the kind of person who visits the shop once the car has broken. After listening to your show I am thinking I may be able to save some money by doing some preventative maintenance instead of waiting for the major breakdowns. Recently my brakes started making some noise but they don’t do it every day. How can I tell the difference between needing brake repairs or if it’s just a little noise; and if I wanted to be proactive on brake maintenance how often should they be checked? I have been in before for a squeak and they said they were fine, just a little rusty.
Thanks, Joanne in Madison Wisconsin

Dear Joanne,
Routine maintenance will save you money on repairs. Regular inspections should be performed on safety items at each oil change and addressed as needed. These inspections are done for free at most shops so check around if yours does not offer this service. Inspect brakes annually and completely check them right away if there is a change in pedal travel or if noise is heard when applying them accompanied by grinding. Damp mornings can cause rust on the braking surfaces resulting in noise. This should go away after a couple of pedal applications and should not be felt in the pedal.
Take care, the Motor Medics