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service areas February 25, 2018

The Story Behind Brake Pad Replacement in Burke VA

Why You Should Care About Brake Pad Replacement in Burke, VA

Brave Bertha’s Breakthrough: Brake Pads

You think you have it hard. You head to the grocery store and your car starts making funny noises when you push the brake pedal and it’s taking feet instead of inches to stop.

But consider the dilemma faced by Brave Bertha Benz in 1888 on the world’s first-ever long road trip by automobile. She faced startled horses, disapproving pedestrians and a horseless carriage that wouldn’t stop when she told it to. Not only that, she had her two teenage sons in the car with her. This woman faced challenges.

The Mother of Invention, as well as the two unruly kids, she invented the first brake linings on her historic road trip, 66 miles each way. She made the jaunt from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany to see her mom, using the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, a three-wheel contraption that was just the third built by Benz.

She sped along at 10 mph through the German countryside, raising eyebrows and dust along the roads. This intrepid motorist hadn’t asked her husband’s permission to make the trip. In fact, he didn’t know she had left the house.

Mom or Marketing?

That’s because Bertha was on a mission. Though she told friends the purpose was to see her mom, the real reason was to prove to her nerdy husband that his invention had practical value. She wanted him to market it to everyday folks—with money—who wanted to take longer trips.

Prior to Bertha’s adventure, road trips were usually very short excursions, just 2 or 3 miles, for the adventurous maybe 5. And a mechanic always sat alongside the driver.

Her husband Karl, who is credited as the inventor of the first car, was losing confidence in his creation. No one was buying it. Bertha had invested her dowry in his invention. Together their finances were at an all-time low, and there were the two teens to feed, as well as three other children.

Karl was a genius when it came to motors, but he was a dud when it came to marketing. She figured if she could raise awareness of the car’s possibilities for easier transportation, it would be a snap to sell the Motorwagen. And indeed she was right. The company went on to become Mercedes-Benz. All because of Brave Bertha.

Bertha Invents Brake Pads

As she tooled along, listening to her teen's whining, “Are we there yet?,” she noticed that the wooden brakes on the Motorwagen were failing.

Bertha was a can-do lady, so she did the logical thing and stopped at the closest cobbler shop. She had the cobbler install shoe leather along the interior of the wood brakes, inventing the world’s first brake pads.

After the trip, she discussed this problem with her husband. In future models, he installed brake linings that vastly improved the braking power and safety of the vehicle.

More Inventions

The trip was just one darn thing after another. Bertha solved a number of mechanical problems, and invented solutions, all along the trip.

Filling Station. The car carried fuel in a container holding 4.5 liters within its carburetor and ran on ligroin, a petroleum solvent. It was sold at the apothecary, or pharmacy shops, the drugstores of the day. Bertha’s command to “Fill ‘er up,” surprised the pharmacist, but that’s how the apothecary in Wiesloch developed into the first filling station.

Blocked fuel line. She discovered an additional use for a woman’s best friend, the hat pin, unblocking the clogged fuel line. She finished cleaning it out with fabric from her garter.

Chain repair. The Motorwagen was still using bicycle technology. Noticing a clunking sound, she stopped at a blacksmith shop to get one of the car’s chains mended during the trip.

New gear. The car had just two gears, which didn’t provide the power to make it up all the hills along her route. She made suggestions to Karl after the trip that resulted in a third gear being added to new models.

Teen power. Since the two gears weren’t enough to get the vehicle up some of the hills, Bertha invented teen power. She had her two sons get out and push when she came to a hill.

Test drives. Her long trip established a new essential step in all automotive design work. After her jaunt, the test drive was an official part of the design process for all future cars.

The World’s First Long Road Trip

Brave Bertha’s glorious adventure is considered one of the critical technical advances in the evolution of the horseless carriage.

Today her historic journey to visit her mother is commemorated in the Bertha Benz Memorial Route, an official part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. It runs from Mannheim through Heidelberg and on to Pforzheim in the Black Forest, and back.

Did She Get Credit?

On Bertha’s 95th birthday in 1944, she became Honourable Senator, a title bestowed by Karlsruhe Technical University. It was her husband’s alma mater. The school had given him a doctorate during his lifetime.

Perhaps more importantly to Bertha personally, her husband Karl Benz wrote, “Only one person remained with me in the small ship of life when it seemed destined to sink. That was my wife. Bravely and resolutely she set the new sails of hope.” Indeed.

What Are Brake Pads, and Why You Should Care

Modern brake pads or shoes, often referred to as brake linings, last much longer than Bertha’s first efforts. And brake assemblies are no longer made from wood. Brake pad replacement in Burke, VA, is now done at the auto repair shop, not your local cobbler shop.

Called brake shoes on older vehicles, they sit inside a brake drum, which is inside the wheels of your car. When you press down on the brake pedal, a hydraulic wheel cylinder presses the shoes outward so they touch the inside rim of the drum. The result is the car slows down. If you notice a problem stopping, you probably need brake pad replacement or shoe replacement in Burke, VA.

In the most recent cars, brake pads are part of the disc brake apparatus. They sit within the hydraulic brake caliper. When they get squeezed against the brake disc or rotor, the car stops. If this doesn’t slow down your car the way it should, look into brake pad replacement in Burke, VA.

Modern brake linings last for 10,000 to 50,000 miles or more, depending on the type of car. When they start wearing away, they need a brake pad replacement. The best way to tell if you need brake pad replacement in Burke, VA, is by having an ASE-certified mechanic at Wiygul Automotive Clinic check them. The rule of thumb is if the pad is below 2/32 of an inch, it needs a brake pad replacement.

How will you know it’s time to check? There are two big indicators, warning that your brake pad replacement in Burke, VA needs to be done. Do you hear strange sounds when you use the brake pedal? Are you having trouble getting traction on the road? If either is true, take your car in for an inspection in Burke, VA, to see if you need a brake pad replacement.

Noises. When the pads start wearing down, you’ll hear grinding sounds, squealing and possibly whining noises from the area around your wheel. If you hear metal grinding against metal, you’ve waited too long. The pads are worn through. Get to an auto repair shop immediately for brake pad replacement in Burke, VA.

Traction. Wear is present if you press down on the brake pedal and you stop more slowly or the stopping is less than before. If the pads are really worn down, you might press the brake pedal and they simply won’t stop. Sadly, this seems to happen in bad weather, just when you need braking power the most. Don’t wait that long for brake pad replacement in Burke, VA.

Trust Your Brakes—and Safety—to Experts

The crew here at Wiygul Automotive Clinic in Burke, VA, can keep you safe. We have been serving the local community since 1996, and your safety is our mission. We do brake pad replacement in Burke, VA, as well as complete brake repair work.

Wiygul Automotive Clinic in Burke, VA, is a local auto shop that takes pride in providing excellent care for each customer. We know the people in our community, and they know us. We base our reputation on repairing your vehicle right the first time, and every time.

Our waiting area is comfortable and the coffee is free in Burke, VA. We have newspapers and magazines to keep you busy while we work on your car. Our mechanics are ASE-certified and fully trained in the latest models, equipment and best practices. Every day we work hard to earn and keep the trust of each of our customers.

Check our website for special offers. We also proudly post customer reviews. Find out what others in the local community think of our service. You can also make an appointment right for your brake pad replacement in Burke, VA, online using our special contact form. Ask us about a loaner car.

Wiygul Automotive Clinic in Burke, VA, is a proud and active member of the community. We sponsor a variety of groups and teams, including:

  • Robinson High School Boosters
  • Lake Braddock High School Boosters
  • Paul VI High School Boosters
  • Clark C. Griffith League
  • WT Woodson High School Boosters

We offer our support on a regular basis to a range of community projects, including:

  • American Cancer Society
  • Vehicles for Change
  • IHFR Foundation—In Hope Freedom Rings
  • T. Reed Memorial Fund
  • Matthew Center for Children with Special Needs

Wiygul Automotive Clinic, a full-service car shop in Burke, VA, employs ASE certified mechanics and offers:

  • Auto maintenance
  • Auto repair
  • Goodyear tires
  • Inspection stations
  • Kelly tires
  • Oil changes
  • Brake repair, including brake pad replacement in Burke, VA
  • Emissions inspections
  • Car batteries
  • Check engine light work
  • Wheel alignment
  • Exhaust repair

Call Wiygul Automotive Clinic today for a free, no-obligation quote for brake pad replacement in Burke, VA.

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