Xavier’s Auto Center

969 reviews

Xavier's Auto Center


1845 Wakeling St. Philadelphia, PA 19124
Mon - Sat: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Brake Repair and Service

Brake repair and service in Philadelphia

As important as accelerating and steering your car is the ability to come to a stop, which is why every vehicle has a brake system. Whenever you press the pedal, you need absolute confidence that your car will slow down at your command. The system is based around friction materials, and brake repairs and maintenance need to be performed occasionally to keep it operating safely and reliably. In Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding communities of La Mott, Abington, Willow Grove, and beyond, the service experts at Xavier’s Auto Center are the perfect place to ‘stop’ in.  

How the brake system operates

How do brakes work? Whether you have a car with disc brakes or drum brakes, the system uses hydraulic pressure through brake lines from the brake master cylinder to squeeze friction materials against sold steel rotors or drums, and the friction slows your car’s momentum. 

With disc brakes, brake pads are fitted inside a brake caliper and the disc’s friction surface spins between the pads. When you press the brake pedal, brake fluid causes the caliper piston to squeeze the brake pad material against the brake rotor. By far, disc brakes are the most common in today’s vehicles and can be found on many front and rear axles. 

For drum brake systems, curved brake shoes ride inside the hat of a brake drum. When the brake pedal is pressed, a wheel cylinder forces the shoes to apply pressure against the inner surface of the drum, and the friction slows your vehicle. Drum brakes are found on the rear axle of select vehicles today. 

Although very effective at causing your car to decelerate, friction inevitably results in worn brakes. Over time, certain wearable parts in the braking system will need to be changed.

Types of brake friction material

For braking systems, there are three common types of friction material used: 

  • Organic brake pads, also known as non-asbestos organic brakes, are a relatively soft compound that is quieter than most others. However, they produce more brake dust and wear out sooner than the other styles. 
  • Ceramic brake pads are a high-quality and long-lasting type of brakes, and they also perform very well with little brake dust or noise. They last quite long but they are certainly on the higher end of the price spectrum.
  • Semi-metallic brake pads are a mid-grade type that stop your car very well and can tolerate high heat. They last a long time although they have more noise and brake dust than ceramic pads. The benefit is they’re readily available and inexpensive.  

Symptoms of brake issues

How can you tell when there are brake problems? Common symptoms include: 

  • Squealing noise when you press the brakes
  • Grinding noise and feeling in the brake pedal
  • Vibration in the steering or car body when you brake
  • Longer stopping distance
  • Brake pedal travels closer to the floor when pressed. 

If you have these or any other concerns when you drive, have Xavier’s Auto Center perform a brake inspection. 

When do brakes need to be replaced? 

A brake inspection will reveal the condition your brakes are in. For safe driving, you should maintain brake pad or shoe thicknesses of 4/32nds of an inch at the thinnest point on any of the pads. At 2/32nds of an inch thickness, your brakes are considered worn out. You’ll likely notice decreased stopping power by this point. 

Normally, brake pads on the front axle will last twice as long as the rear brakes. Depending on the conditions you drive in, as well as how aggressive you drive, brakes may last anywhere from 20,000 miles to 60,000 miles. 

What does brake service include?

How brake issues are corrected varies based on the problems. Most commonly, vehicles need brake pads replaced and brake discs either replaced or machined. Other brake parts may need to be replaced including calipers or brake hoses. In some instances, your symptom may only require that the brakes need to be cleaned and adjusted to restore their operation. 

As well, brake fluid needs to be changed as routine maintenance. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water, and excessive moisture can cause longer stopping distances due to brake fade. A brake fluid exchange is a cost-effective way to prevent corrosion from the inside of the brake system out. 

Wondering when your car needs its brakes checked or changed? We can help. At Xavier’s Auto Center, we’ll perform a comprehensive brake inspection and report the findings to you. On your direction, we’ll repair your brakes using high-quality parts backed by out 24-month/24k-mile warranty.