Properly maintained brakes are crucial to a safe driving experience.
Know what it means when your brakes begin making a noise.
When it comes to driver safety, one of the most important components of any automobile is the braking system. The performance of a car’s brakes can spell the difference between avoiding a collision and a terrible tragedy.
If a car’s brakes begin making an unusual noise, it’s important to have them checked by a professional to determine if there’s an issue that could lead to a serious accident.
To understand the types of noises a car’s brakes can make, it helps to understand exactly how brakes work. Most cars today include metallic discs called rotors behind each wheel. When the brake pedal is depressed, sandwich-like devices called calipers clamp down on the rotors, squeezing them and bringing the car to a halt. The part of the calipers that actually make contact with the rotors are the brake pads, and those pads wear down over time.
Some cars incorporate a drum-and-shoe system for the rear brakes, where stepping on the brakes pushes the shoes against the inside of a round drum. Although the design is different, the basic principles are the same.
There are typically three types of noises a braking system will make. Although they differ in the seriousness of the problem they indicate, each call for immediate attention.
Squeaking or squealing – many types of brake pads today include wear indicators; metal tabs that rub against the rotor and make a squeaking noise when the pads have worn down beyond a certain point. The noise may initially occur only when depressing the brake pedal, but left unchecked will eventually occur most or all of the time. It’s imperative to replace brake pads as soon as the wear indicator begins making a noise to avoid more serious problems.
Other issues that can cause brakes to squeal include glazing; a crystallization of the pad surface than can occur due to excessive heat caused by slamming on the brakes. In addition, debris caught between the pad and rotor can cause squealing as well.
Grinding – A grinding noise from a car’s braking system indicates a more serious issue. The first step to take if the brakes make a grinding noise is to pull over, turn off the car and have it towed to a repair center.
The most common cause of a grinding noise from a car’s brakes is brake pads that have worn completely down. What typically occurs in this situation is that the metal backing behind the pad material makes contact with the rotor, digging in to the rotor surface. Aside from being a serious safety hazard, it can result in significant (and costly) damage to the rotors and calipers.
Clicking or thumping - Other types of brake noises can be caused by the components that hold the rotors, calipers or pads in place being loose or broken. Some braking system issues don’t result in unusual noises, but can show themselves via a shudder or vibration in the brakes or a difference in how far the pedal must be depressed to bring the car to a halt.
Don’t take a chance!
Although accidents caused by brake failure are relatively rare, they do happen. Failure to properly maintain a car’s braking system puts not just a car’s driver and passengers at risk, but other drivers as well. Any unusual noise or change in the performance of a car’s braking system should be investigated by a trained repair professional. Your life could depend on it.
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A news station out of Portland, Oregon asked 86 inmates currently serving time for burglary, what they looked for when breaking into homes, what would deter them and what time of day they would typically commit their crimes.
Below is a summary of the answers they received.
It's quite eye opening.
1. How did you typically break into a home or apartment?
Most inmates broke in through an unlocked door or window. Several burglars kicked the door open.
“I would kick in the door rather than break glass. Loud bangs are better than loud glass breaking, plus you run the risk of getting cut,” said one inmate.
2. Once inside, what was the first thing you looked to steal?
Jewelry, electronics, cash and credit cards are all attractive to burglars. Inmates also added collectibles and guns.
“NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal,” wrote one burglar.
3. Where did you look for hidden valuables?
Most burglars started by searching the master bedroom for valuables, then moved through the rest of the house.
“Everywhere! From the stove and freezer, to the fish tank and toilet tank, book shelves and in boxes of cereal,” said an inmate.
4. What time of the day did you prefer to break in?
Burglars prefer breaking in early morning or afternoon.
“Between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Anyone that was home for lunch should be gone by then and most kids should all still be in school,” wrote a convicted burglar.
5. Did home protection or security signs posted outside the home deter you?
Burglars had mixed opinions about home security signs. Some burglars said it didn’t faze them. Others said they knew how to disable alarms or avoid setting them off.
6. Did pets in the home, like a dog, make you think twice?
If a homeowner had a big, loud dog most burglars would stay away. Smaller dogs don’t seem to bother them.
“Dogs are a deal breaker for me,” said one inmate. “Big breeds, home protectors are the best to keep people out.”
7. Did you typically knock on the front door before breaking into a home?
Yes. All of the inmates who responded said they would knock on the front door before breaking in.
8. If someone answered the door, what would you do or say?
“Act like I was lost or looking for a friend.”
“I would approach the resident as though they had posted an ad on Craigslist.”
“Say wrong house, sorry and thank you.”
“Ask if they’d seen my dog and leave.”
“Sometimes I would wear nice clothing and print a questionnaire off the Internet and carry a clipboard and see if they could spare a moment for an anonymous survey.”
9. If a home alarm system went off, what would you do?
Most intruders said they would leave immediately if a security alarm went off.
“I would try and turn it off or get the hell out of there,” said one burglar.
10. If there was a security camera visible, would it keep you from breaking in?
Generally, burglars agreed security cameras were a deterrent. But some said it also likely signaled there were valuables inside the home.
11. Did lights on in the home make you think twice?
Responses were mixed regarding lights on in a home. Some said it was a deterrent. But one burglar said the combination of lights on and blinds closed created an attractive location.
“Would drive through upper class neighborhoods looking for many things, like porch light on with all window blinds closed,” wrote one inmate.
12. If you heard a radio or TV on inside the home, would you still break in?
Most burglars feared someone might be home if they heard a radio or TV. They wouldn’t break in.
“Absolutely not,” wrote a burglar.
13. Would it make a difference if there was a vehicle in the driveway?
As a homeowner, this is one of the best precautions you can take. Almost all of the burglars said they’d think twice if there was a car in the driveway.
“Most of the time that is a sure-fire sign of someone being home,” wrote an inmate.
14. What was your ideal target for a burglary?
Burglars don’t want to be seen. They looked for homes with big fences and overgrown trees or bushes.
“Home away from other homes, blind spots, older window frames, cheap wooden doors,” wrote a burglar.
“Large trees, bushes or shrubs around the home, or very reserved and conservative neighbors,” wrote another inmate.
“Nice home with nice car = A person with money,” another said.
15. Did you ever do surveillance on your target?
The responses were mixed. Some burglars did surveillance before a burglary, while others did not.
16. If you did surveillance, what were you trying to figure out?
Of those burglars who did surveillance, most agreed they were looking for the best opportunity to break-in.
“Who lives in the home, what are their weekday schedules (weekends are too unpredictable), what they drive, is there a dog, a hidden key,” wrote one inmate.
“What time the house would be empty and for how long,” wrote another.
17. What is the one thing homeowners can do to avoid being burglarized?
Burglars suggest homeowners make their property visible with good lighting and trimmed bushes and trees. You should get to know your neighbors and alert police if you see anything suspicious.
“In my opinion, I think homeowners should always leave a TV or radio on,” said one inmate.
“Get a camera and make it visible!” wrote another.
“Put bars on your windows and doors, get an alarm, keep an extra car in the driveway, keep lights, TVs and radios on when you leave your home,” read one questionnaire.
“Home alarm, know your neighbor so they can report suspicious people around the neighborhood,” said a burglar.
Many of those inmates who responded were remorseful. They don’t want homeowners to be victimized.
“Thank you for giving me the chance to help and give back something that will actually help people,” wrote one inmate.
“I’ll never be able to give back the sense of security I destroyed but I can help prevent others from losing theirs,” said another convicted burglar.
You can read the entire, including full letters from some of the inmates here: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/investigations/we-asked-86-burglars-how-they-broke-into-homes/283-344213396?fbclid=IwAR272OgR8njbRyhEwFwQjO0KaWzU2BUjKmWN8WB-JDqyEIUNB13TOUwpdbM
What is medical payments coverage on my auto policy?
Medical payments (sometimes called “medpay”) covers hospital bills and funeral expenses, up to your chosen limit, if you’re in an accident. Your insurance company pays regardless of who is determined to be at fault (responsible). It even covers your passengers at the time of the accident.
Do I need medical payments coverage if I have health insurance?
Medical payments limits (the “limit” is the maximum amount of money you can expect to receive for a claim) vary by state. Typically, however, it’s $10,000 or less. So, the coverage is best used as a supplement for your primary health or life insurance. Medical Payments could come in handy for any deductibles, co-payments, or out of pocket expenses you incur related to medical treatment following an accident.
Interestingly, your medical payments coverage could apply if you’re struck by a car while walking or bicycling.
We always recommend having some medical payments coverage on your auto policy. You may have $0 copy or $0 deductible on your health insurance, but what about your passenger? Wouldn't it be nice to offer to pay for their hospital deductible if they're injured while in your car?
Like we always say...better to have more insurance than not enough. If that day comes when you need it and you don't have it, you'll be sorry.
I had been driving a 2011 Ford Escape for the last few years. It was a great little SUV, but I had over 108,000 miles on it and it was time for an upgrade.