When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list. Brake Safety Awareness Month in August is the perfect time to have your brakes inspected to make sure they are in safe working condition before school starts and cold weather hits, says the Car Care Council. Brakes are a normal wear item for any car and eventually they’re going to need to be replaced. For routine maintenance, check your vehicle’s braking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems. If your car is pulling to the left or right, or if you hear odd noises when you apply the brakes, you should inspect your brakes. Other warning signs include an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing. Several factors that affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Never put off routine brake inspections or any needed repair, such as letting the brakes get to the “metal-to-metal” point, which can be potentially dangerous and lead to a more costly repair bill. .“A properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle operation and control under a variety of driving conditions,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Motorists can put a stop to any potential brake system problems by recognizing the signs and symptoms that their brake system may need maintenance or repair.” .The non-profit Car Care Council offers tools to help you learn more about auto care and brake repair. Visit www.carcare.org to order a free copy of the popular 80-page Car Care Guide or sign up for the council’s free personalized service schedule and email reminder service. For more brake safety, inspection and service tips, follow the Car Care Council on Instagram. The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.