Your Best Choice for Brake Repair in San Marcos, Kyle, and Buda, TX!

Your vehicle has to be able to stop. Whether you’re driving to the grocery store, dropping the kids off at school, taking a road trip vacation, or on your mundane daily commute, the most necessary function is bringing your vehicle to a halt. You don’t pay any attention to your braking system most days but at the first sign of brake troubles – squealing, grinding, vibration, and more – it’s of the highest concern.

When you need brake repairs in Hays County, bring your vehicle to the experts at Reliable Automotive. We offer a free brake check to all of our customers. If you need repairs, our helpful staff members will make you feel right at home with their friendly service while we perform your brake repairs efficiently and accurately. We perform trusted brake repairs in San Marcos and Buda, as well as at our new facility in Kyle, TX.

From minor issues to full brake replacement, our professional technicians are experienced in all types of brake services, including:

  • Brake check and visual inspection of the brake friction and hydraulic system
  • Resurfacing/turning brake rotors and/or drums where applicable
  • Brake fluid flush and replacement
  • Installing new premium-grade brake pads and/or shoes
  • Inspection and repacking of wheel bearings if applicable
  • Lubricating the brake calipers and hardware

Extend the life of your vehicle and ensure its safety on the road. Schedule your brake service at Reliable Automotive today!

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Trained Technicians for Honest Brake Repairs

At Reliable Automotive, our technicians are able to care for your brakes no matter what car, truck, SUV, or van you drive. They are ASE-Certified and experienced in most makes and models and perform knowledgeable brake repairs on disc brakes, drum brakes, and ABS brakes. We employ cutting-edge equipment to diagnose your brake concern and use professional tools to ensure the most precise brake repairs you’ll find anywhere.

From ABS wheel sensor replacement on your Chevrolet Silverado and brake pad and rotor changes on your Ford Fusion to parking brake cable repairs on your Toyota Tacoma, you can trust Reliable Automotive with all your needs for a brake check in San Marcos, Buda, or Kyle.

We know the frustration of repeat visits for the same concern because of failed parts. For that reason, we always use high-quality aftermarket and Original Equipment parts and fluids for all of our repairs.

Regular Inspections Help Extend The Life Of Your Brakes

Bringing your vehicle in for a professional brake check regularly will help extend the life of your brake system and catch any issues early. 

Everyone’s brakes wear differently depending on their driving habits, the driving conditions, and the types of brake pads, etc that are used. So, how often your vehicle needs a brake service will vary. In general, it is recommended to have a professional brake check done every 6 months or 6,000 miles, whichever comes first, or if you suspect any problems.

Bring your vehicle into Reliable Automotive for a FREE brake check today. If requested, we’ll also check your brakes with every oil change.

Signs Your Vehicle May Need Brake Service

There are some things to watch out for that indicate there may be an issue with your brake system. Signs that it’s time for brake service include:

  • Unusual sounds like squealing, thumping or grinding
  • Leaking yellow brake fluid
  • Reduced resistance in the pedal when braking
  • Vehicle pulling to one side when braking
  • Vibration in the pedal when braking
  • More distance needed to come to a stop

If you notice any of the above indicators, bring your vehicle to Reliable Automotive for a brake inspection right away.

The Reliable Automotive Advantage

Keep it local, keep it Reliable! For quality, affordable brake repairs, visit the experts at Reliable Automotive in San Marcos, Buda, or Kyle. Call us today or use our convenient online appointment form to schedule your visit.

  • ASE-Certified Technicians for Accurate A/C Repairs
  • Committed to Complete Customer Satisfaction
  • Cutting-Edge Automotive Technology
  • Locally Owned and Operated Family Business
  • BBB Member with A+ Rating
  • Jasper Distributor
  • Buda and San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Member
  • Authorized AC Delco Battery & Valvoline Retailer

How Your Brake System Works

Through 100 years of technological innovation, vehicle brake systems have transformed from crude stopping mechanisms into efficient and dependable combinations of speed variation equipment. While today’s brake systems vary based on the make and model of the vehicle, the basic system consists of disc brakes in front, and either disk or drum brakes in the rear. A series of other components supply brake fluid (hydraulic fluid) and connect your brakes to each wheel.

The critical braking equipment/components that make stopping possible can be broken into two categories: hydraulics and friction materials.


Master Cylinder

The master cylinder is the pressure converter of your vehicle. When you press down on the brake pedal, the master cylinder converts that physical pressure into hydraulic pressure. This hydraulic pressure then propels the brake fluid to the brake components within the wheels.

Brake Lines and Hoses

By the hydraulic pressure, the pressurized brake fluid is delivered to the braking unit(s) at each wheel through steel-braided brake lines and high-pressure, road and shock-resistant brake hoses.

Wheel Cylinders and Brake Calipers

In disc brake systems, the calipers squeeze the brake pads onto the rotor. Alternatively, the wheel cylinders in a drum brake system consist of two cylinders surrounded by rubber-sealed pistons that are positioned above the brake shoe. When brake pressure is applied, these pistons exert force on the shoes, pushing them into the drum. Both components apply pressure to friction materials to stop your vehicle.

Friction Materials:

Brake Pads and Brake Shoes

Most modern cars now have a disc brake system on the front and the rear of the vehicle. A disc brake relies on the pistons to squeeze two brake pads against the disc, forcing it to stop.

Some older model vehicles have disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the rear. In this system, the stopping friction comes from brake shoes versus brake pads. Brake shoes are crescent-shaped components that sit inside of the brake drum and have a rough friction material on one side. The brake shoes are forced outward against the inside of the brake drum when the brake pedal is pressed, slowing down the wheel.

How It All Works Together

When the brake pedal is initially pressed, this presses the plunger of the master cylinder, triggering a release of brake fluid into the system of lines and hoses. These tubes and hoses run to the braking unit of each wheel. Brake fluid can’t be compressed. So now it journeys through the network of brake lines and hoses with the exact same pressure and motion it initially started with. When it comes to stopping 2,000-pounds of a vehicle at high speed, this consistency is critical.

It is valuable to know that when air is introduced to the brake fluid, the performance of your brakes can be greatly affected. Since air can compress, when this happens it creates sponginess in the pedal. This disrupts the pressure consistency and results in bad braking efficiency. This is what the “bleeder screws” (located at each wheel cylinder) are for. These screws can be removed so that any unwanted air is bled from the brake system.

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Brake Repair Service FAQs

The recommended interval for a brake fluid flush varies depending on the type of vehicle and your driving habits. It can range from every two to five years or more. Your vehicle owner’s manual is the place to look to determine the manufacturer’s recommended interval for your specific vehicle. 

If it hasn’t been done in a while, there are indications that it may be time to have your brake fluid flushed and replaced, including: 

  • ABS (anti-lock braking system) light is illuminated: This light will come on in newer vehicles if the brake fluid is too dirty or the level is low.
  • Brake pedal feels different: If your brake fluid needs to be replaced, your brake pedal will often feel different when pressed. It may feel “spongy” or is harder to press down.
  • Reduced effectiveness of brake pads: If your brake fluid is low or dirty it can affect your brake pads. When your brake pads are not working as well as before to stop the vehicle, it is usually an indicator that your brake fluid should be flushed and replaced.
  • Unusual noises from the brakes: Dirty or low brake fluid can cause strange noises, like grinding or squeaking, when braking.
  • Burning chemical smell: After hard braking, a strong burning chemical smell can indicate that your brakes are overheating due to low or dirty fluid. If this happens, pull over safely immediately and let the brakes cool. If you do not, you risk overheating the brake fluid and your brakes completely locking up. 

Here at Reliable Automotive, this is why we recommend having your brake system checked every 6,000 miles or 6 months. Doing so helps ensure your brake fluid stays in peak condition and keeps your vehicle safely on the road. 

Schedule your appointment today for your free brake inspection!

As the driver, you know that once you step on the brake, it will bring your vehicle to a stop. But so much more goes into the process that you can’t see, in order to make this happen.

Once the brake pedal is pressed, it activates a plunger on the master cylinder that sends brake fluid into a network of hoses and lines. Each wheel is connected to this system of lines and hoses to receive brake fluid, which remains compressed from start to finish. That compression of the fluid on each wheel is what stops the car—it all happens very quickly!

Since the car’s weight typically shifts forward when you press on the brakes, the front brakes do most of the work. Disc brakes are usually located in front of the vehicle to handle this braking pressure. Drum brakes on the rear of the car, however, don’t need to handle as much pressure.

The compression of the brake fluid in the network of lines and hoses works because it remains compressed from start to finish. However, if air gets into the fluid, this compression is affected. That’s why you can feel the sponginess that occurs and your car may take longer to stop after you’ve pressed the brake pedal. 

“Bleeding” the brakes refers to getting the air out. There are screws on each wheel cylinder that can be removed so air is released from the brake system. Brake shops can perform this service for you during a brake check, so you are back on the road in safety.

Most cars made today have a disc brake system on both the front and rear of the car. A brake rotor attaches to the wheel and when the brake calipers squeeze the brake pads against the disc on each wheel, the wheel stops turning.

Older cars are a bit different. Many have disc brakes on the front only, with drum brakes on the rear. The friction required to stop the wheels comes from brake shoes, instead of pads. These shoes sit inside of the drum and have a rough material on one side. Once the brake pedal is pressed, the shoes and the rough material are forced against the drum, which stops the wheel. As part of regular maintenance on your car, a brake pad replacement may be necessary.

A general recommendation is that pads should be changed every 50,000 miles. Beyond that, there are other factors that must be considered which includes:

  • The quality of the brakes
  • The environment 
  • Driver habits 

Ask your brake specialist to add a brake inspection to your list of routine maintenance care. They will be able to diagnose the condition of your vehicle’s brake pads, as well as other components of the system.

Often, a squeaking noise from the brakes is coming from the dirt and moisture on the rotors. Mechanically, this doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the brakes. But squeaking may also indicate that the pads have worn too thin to work properly, the rotors are wearing out, or it could be a number of other problems. The service staff at your auto shop will discuss what needs to be done. 

When you step on the brakes and feel a vibration, it is usually caused by warped rotors. They might be old, they may be overheating, or you might be wearing them out too quickly by braking heavily. Any of these things can make the rotors uneven, which causes a shaking when the pads press against them. Over time, your stopping time can be affected by warped rotors, as well.

Schedule an Appointment for a Brake Check Today!

The rotors are the critical component that your brake pads make contact with to bring your vehicle to a stop. Because they’re made of metal, they wear down over time with use. Excessive heat generated while braking can also cause the rotors to warp. When your brake pads are replaced, the technician will also “turn” or resurface your rotors, as long as there is still enough material to do so safely. This means the rotor is put on a lathe and the surface is smoothed using an extremely sharp bit to cut into the rotor.

When people talk about their brakes’ lifespan, they’re usually referring to their brake pads. Having “worn brakes” might sound alarming, but this rarely means you need to replace your car’s whole brake system. Instead, it probably means it’s time to switch out your brake pads for a new set.

Brake pads wear out more rapidly than some car components due to the level of friction they contend with. Because of that, you’ll want to have a rough idea of when to replace them. Determining the exact lifespan of brake pads can be difficult. Still, considering a few factors can help you determine a reasonably good estimate.

Are you a Hays County, Texas driver who deals with traffic regularly? If you are, you should know that stop-and-go traffic can negatively affect the lifespan of your brake pads. The same goes for “riding” your brakes (pushing down and letting up on them more often than average).

When you’ve had a chance to weigh these factors, you can estimate your brake pads’ longevity. Let’s say you primarily drive in cities like San Marcos and Kyle. In that case, your pads will probably last between 30,000 and 35,000 miles before new ones are needed. On the other hand, brake pads in vehicles primarily driven in more rural parts of Texas could last until the 80,000-mile mark.

Sometimes, brake trouble can surprise even the most careful Hays County motorists. However, you can occasionally spot early warning signs of brake system problems. If you listen closely while driving, you might hear a faint squealing sound coming from your brakes.

This noise indicates that your brakes need attention, but it’s not technically an issue in and of itself. Many modern brake pads generate this sound as an intentional feature. The squealing noise comes from a metal tab in a brake pad, which can rub against your brake disc when enough of the pad’s cushioning material has worn out. If you hear this sound, your brake pads are telling you that it’s time to get a replacement set from one of Hays County’s most trusted brake shops.

Several other signs of brake pad wear should be on your radar. These include:

  • A warning light on your car’s dashboard.
  • Needing more time than usual to come to a complete stop.
  • Grinding noises.
  • Vibrations when you brake.

Have you noticed one or more of these signs in your vehicle lately? If so, your brake pads are probably on their last legs. Scheduling an appointment with one of our Hays County auto repair shops is the easiest way to resolve this issue. We won’t overcharge you for this simple task, and you can save extra cash by exploring our selection of online coupons!

These days, the majority of vehicles use a hydraulic braking system. These brakes rely on brake fluid to slow or stop your car. Of course, brake fluid functions like any other auto fluid, which means it needs to be replaced after a while.

You might have low brake fluid if you notice any of the following:

  • Your car’s brake warning light comes on
  • Excessively long stopping times
  • A brake pedal that feels “spongy” or “mushy”

The simplest and most effective way to determine your current brake fluid level is to check it manually. To do so, you’ll need to find your car’s brake fluid reservoir on its master cylinder. From there, you can inspect your brake fluid visually. If it’s dangerously low or darker than it should be, you’re overdue for brake fluid replacement. (This is a broad-level explanation of the brake fluid checking process—for a more detailed guide, check your vehicle’s manual.)

While it’s easy enough for most drivers to check their brake fluid, the same isn’t true of brake fluid replacement. Brake fluid is highly toxic, and an unexpected spill could spell trouble for your vehicle’s finish. Instead, visit one of Reliable Automotive’s nearby brake shops when you need to replace your brake fluid.

Brake pad replacement isn’t the most expensive auto maintenance service imaginable, but it still comes with an added cost. Because of that, some Hays County drivers might be interested in only replacing one or two of their brake pads at a time. Fortunately, this is a strategy you can take advantage of—if you know what you’re doing.

Generally speaking, brake components on a passenger vehicle’s front axle will wear out before brake components on the rear axle. These components include brake pads, so you may need brake replacement in the front before your rear pads become worn. If that’s the case, local brake shops can easily replace those brakes without swapping out the rear brake pads. Just be sure to replace both brake pads on the same axle simultaneously!

It’s important to note that this advice primarily applies to “standard” cars. If you have a high-performance vehicle, the brake components on both axles may wear out together. Taking that into account, your auto shop of choice should replace all four brake pads on these vehicles at the same time.