How To

ABOUT THE BRAKE SYSTEM

Your brakes are critically important safety features — keeping them in optimal condition should always be a top priority. Here you’ll learn about key brake components, basic brake care and the signs indicating that brake service is necessary.


MAJOR BRAKE COMPONENTS

Most GM vehicles are equipped with disc brakes at all four wheels. Key disc brake components include:  
  
A. Brake Pads — Brake pads are comprised of frictional material that presses against the rotor to slow and stop your vehicle.

B. Rotor — The rotor is a disc that rotates with the wheel. The brake pads press against the rotor to slow and stop the vehicle.

C. Brake Caliper — The brake caliper is a hydraulic clamp that presses the brake pads against the rotor.

Some GM vehicles feature disc brakes at the front wheels and drum brakes at the rear wheels. In a drum system, the drum rotates with the wheel. During braking, brake shoes press against the inside of the drum, creating friction, to slow and stop the vehicle.

BASIC BRAKE CARE

Your brake system will need to be maintained throughout the life of your vehicle. There are no specific mileage intervals for brake service because brake wear varies depending on driving habits and conditions. That’s why at GM Dealerships your brakes are inspected during every Multipoint Inspection. Trained technicians will inspect your vehicle’s front and rear brake pads (or shoes), rotors, hoses and calipers for wear. They’ll also inspect fluid lines for cracks and leaks.  

SIGNS THAT BRAKE SERVICE IS NECESSARY

The brake pads in your brake system may feature Brake Wear Indicators that will alert you when service is necessary. The indicators are metal tabs built into the brake pads. When the pads wear to the point that the indicators are revealed, the tabs will rub against the rotors when the brakes are applied, emitting a chirping, squealing or whistling sound. When you hear any of these sounds, it’s time to get your brakes checked.

Your vehicle may also feature a Brake Pad Life Monitor that uses front and rear thickness sensors to estimate brake pad wear. When service is needed, it will display a message in the Driver Information Center.

Other signs your brakes may need service:

  • Grinding noises
  • Longer-than-normal stopping distances
  • Spongy brake pedal feel
  • Brake pedal extends farther than normal
  • Vibration in the brake pedal or steering wheel when the brakes are applied
  • Vehicle pulls to the left or right when the brakes are applied 

If you have any questions or concerns, ask the Certified Service Experts at your local dealer.



Q&As

Do metallic pads shorten rotor life?

Yes. Pads with higher metal content will tend to operate with more abrasive friction, where hard metal particles in the pad interact directly with the brake rotor surface. Use of metallic pads will create more brake dust and will shorten the rotor life. Most GM vehicles in North America use non-asbestos organic pads (also known as ceramic pads). These pads develop a transfer film, which is a layer of material on the pad and rotor surface that acts as a cushion (at a microscopic scale) between the pad and rotor. This helps protect both from abrasive interaction that causes wear.


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To find out if your vehicle has this feature, contact your dealer or refer to your vehicle’s equipment list. Please check your Owner's Manual for more information about features.

  • The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees, and optional equipment. Dealer sets final price. Click here to see all Buick vehicles’ destination freight charges.

  • EPA estimated MPG 25 city, 30 highway FWD.

  • Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA estimated.

  • Functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth® and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • EPA estimated MPG 30 city, 32 highway 1.3L engine FWD.

  • Buick Driver Confidence: Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator and IntelliBeam. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and a compatible Android smartphone. Data plan rates apply. You can check which smartphones are compatible at g.co/androidauto/requirements. Android, Google Play and Android Auto are trademarks of Google LLC.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple® and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone® and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay, Siri, iPhone and Apple Music are trademarks of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Safety or driver-assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Buick Driver Confidence Plus: Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator, IntelliBeam, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Park Assist. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • The system wirelessly charges one compatible mobile device. Some phones have built-in wireless charging technology and others require a special adapter/back cover. To check for phone or other device compatibility, click here or consult your carrier.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. To use Android Auto on your car display, you’ll need an Android phone running Android 6 or higher, an active data plan, and the Android Auto app. Google, Android and Android Auto are trademarks of Google LLC.

  • Bose is a registered trademark of the Bose Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

  • EPA estimated FWD model.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Preproduction model shown throughout. Actual Production model may vary.

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