Trusted Car Brake Service Advice in Birmingham, AL

The Brake Down Infographic - Ernest McCarty Ford

Do you know everything there is to know about the brakes on your vehicle? Check out our brake down infographic to prevent an avoidable breakdown on the road. 

The Brake Down Infographic

Brake knowledge is not as common as one may think. School yourself on all there is to know about brake parts, inspections, weather conditions, and when to know your brakes need a little TLC in order to prevent yourself from having an unnecessary breakdown.

Brake Parts - The Domino Effect

Brakes are made up of several parts that work together to make your vehicle stop when you put pressure on the pedal. Stepping on the brake pedal activates the cylinder. The cylinder delivers brake fluid to the calipers, which then engage the brake pads. The brake pads apply pressure to the rotors, creating the friction that is needed in order to stop your car.

The What?

Let's backpedal a bit to ensure that we understand each of the individual brake parts. Rotors directly connect to each tire, and they must stop spinning in order to stop your car from moving. Calipers require brake fluid in order to function, and they apply the pressure that is needed to activate the brake pads. The brake hose is what the brake fluid travels through to reach each caliper. Brake fluid is the key to crucial energy distribution-without it, brakes will not work.

No Brake Fluid, No Braking

To be clear, without brake fluid, brakes are broken. Good brake fluid results in solid pressure from what feels like a brick-like pedal when you give it pressure, indicating strong brake power. Bad brake fluid results in spongy pressure and a weak pedal, indicating weak brake power. If you have bad brake fluid, your vehicle needs a break until it's fixed.

Brake Inspection

Your brakes require an inspection every year. The 10 areas thoroughly tested include: pads/shoes, calipers, rotors/drums, wheel cylinders, hardware, hoses, parking brake cables, fluid condition, wheel bearings/grease seals, master cylinder fluid exchange. Just like how you don't wait until your annual doctor's appointment when you get hurt or fall ill, you should not wait if warning signs arise within your vehicle-an inspection could save you from a worse scenario. 

When Your Brakes Need TLC or They'll Break

There are several key signs that your brakes need attention. If you hear a scraping noise when applying brakes, this is an indication that something is wrong with the brake pads. If your vehicle wobbles when you are braking or turning, this indicates warped rotors. If you experience weak pedal resistance, and you can push the pedal to the floor with little to no resistance, safely pull off the road and call for help. If your vehicle is pulling to one side, this can indicate a broken caliper. If you feel vibration when you brake, there may be a problem with the rotors. The dashboard warning lights will tell you when there is low brake fluid and/or issues with the master cylinder. If the brake fluid is leaking, the brake lines may be rusted out or the master cylinder may have gone bad.

When to Hit the Brakes in Weather (for a car driving 35 mph)

Whether we like it or not, weather always plays a role in when to hit the brakes. On a dry day, vehicles require between 60 to 100 feet of braking in order to safely arrive at a full stop. When the road is wet, vehicles require 120 feet or more to stop. In the snow, give yourself 180 feet to come to a full stop. On an icy road, it is best to hit the brakes 600 feet or further out from where you need to arrive at a full stop, be it a traffic light, a stop sign, or an open space in a parking lot.

As much as we rely on vehicles to get from point A to point B, we rely on working brakes to stop us when we apply pressure to the pedal. By having the knowledge of how brakes work and when they need a break, mindful driving will make the road a safer place for everyone around you.

If your brakes make squealing or grinding sounds, wobble when braking or pull to one side, it's time to have your vehicle's brakes serviced. Fortunately, Ernest McCarty Ford's service department provides top-notch brake service in Alabaster, Alabama. Schedule an appointment by calling 888-321-3890, or visit Quick Lane at Ernest McCarty Ford to have routine maintenance and service done with no appointment necessary.

Signs You Need Brake Service

The more you use your brakes, the faster they will wear down. If you notice grinding or squeaking noises, your calipers may be rubbing against the metal of your rotors as the result of worn brake pads or shoes. This is just one indication that it's time for a brake inspection. Other signs include:

  • A burning odor
  • A hard-to-press or spongy brake pedal
  • Vibration in your steering wheel
  • Noticeable rust on your brakes or rotors
  • Illuminated brake system warning light

What You Can Expect From a Brake Inspection

If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, it's time to visit Ernest McCarty Ford to have an expert technician conduct a thorough inspection and perform any needed maintenance or repairs. Areas tested during our comprehensive brake inspection include:

  • Pads/Shoes
  • Calipers
  • Rotors/Drums
  • Hardware
  • Hoses
  • Wheel Cylinders
  • Parking Brake Cables
  • Fluid Condition
  • Wheel Bearings/Grease Seals
  • Master Cylinder Fluid Exchange

Whether your vehicle requires pads and shoes or drums and rotors, we use only high-quality, genuine Ford and Motorcraft brake products and brake fluid for your peace of mind. To learn more about our Alabaster, AL brake services, contact us today.

Discover signs of brake wear and the importance of a brake inspection.

Your brakes are one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. Ernest McCarty Ford is here to help you make sure they're in optimum condition. Brakes are designed to slowly wear as you use them. That's why it's so important to visit your Ford Dealership where an expert technician can perform a thorough inspection and complete any needed maintenance or repairs.

Can you spot the signs?

Have you ever wondered what's stopping you? Do your brakes feel squishy or squeak? These are signs you shouldn't ignore. Even if you don't see any signs, a routine inspection at your Ford Dealership can save you money on costly repairs. To discover more about how brakes work, how to spot warning signs and why it's so important to have regular brake inspections, please view the video above.

Lifetime Brake Pad Guarantee*

At Ford, we'll stop at nothing to make sure you can stop for anything. That's why we provide a Lifetime Brake Pad Guarantee. Our brake pads are specifically designed and engineered for your Ford. For optimum stopping power, schedule a brake inspection at your Ernest McCarty Ford

*Eligible Motorcraft brake pads purchased after July 1, 2014. Nontransferable. Requires completion of any other necessary brake service such as brake rotor service. Replacement Motorcraft brake pads must be installed by a Ford Dealership or Quick Lane® technician to be eligible. Labor costs not included. Restrictions and exclusions apply. See Service Advisor for details. Motorcraft® is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company.


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    Expires: 06/30/18

    *Subject to credit approval. Rebate valid on qualifying purchase before tax; not valid on prior purchases. Complete purchase must be made on the Ford Service Credit Card. Offer valid 4/01/18 to 6/30/18. Submit rebate by 7/31/18 by mail-in rebate form or online at Limit one $25 mail-in rebate per visit. Rebate by prepaid debit card. Cannot be combined with other Ford Service Credit Card offers. Valid at participating U.S. Ford Dealerships.


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    Expires: 06/30/18

    *Per-axle price for pads or shoes on most vehicles. Exclusions apply. Taxes extra. See Service Advisor for details. Offer valid with coupon.


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    Expires: 06/30/18

    *Per-axle price on most vehicles. Exclusions apply. Taxes extra. See Service Advisor for details.


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    Expires: 12/31/18

    *Available for Motorcraft® brake pads purchased after 7/1/14 and Omnicraft™ brake pads purchased after 7/1/17. Nontransferable. Replacement requires copy of original repair order and completion of any other necessary brake service, such as brake rotor service. Motorcraft or Omnicraft brake pads must be installed by U.S. Ford or Lincoln Dealership or Quick Lane® technicians to be covered. Pads only; labor costs not included. Restrictions and exclusions apply. Omnicraft is a trademark of Ford Motor Company. Offer valid with coupon. See Service Advisor for details.


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    Expires: 06/30/18

    *Inspect brake friction material, caliper operation, rotors, drums, hoses and connections. Inspect parking brake for damage and proper operation. See Service Advisor for details. Offer valid with coupon.

  1. Ernest McCarty Ford

    1471 1st Street North
    Alabaster, AL 35007

    • Sales: (888) 375-0371
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Ernest McCarty Ford

1471 1st Street North
Directions Alabaster, AL 35007

  • Sales: (888) 375-0371
  • Service: (888) 321-3890
  • Parts: (888) 313-2313


  • Monday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Friday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Saturday 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Sunday Closed