The Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) is sponsoring Brake Safety Awareness Month in August, in hopes of promoting better brake maintenance among all drivers. This is a good time to remind your fleet drivers of the symptoms of brake problems and the importance of routine maintenance.

"When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list," said Rich White, executive director of 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."

Brakes are a normal wear item for any vehicle and eventually they’ll need to be replaced. If a car is pulling to the left or right, or if there are odd noises when the brakes are applied, the brakes need to be inspected. Other warning signs include an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing.

For routine maintenance, a vehicle's braking system should be checked at least once a year, MAP said. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, and brake and dash warning lights. The car should also be taken for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.

Several factors that affect brake wear include driving habits, operating conditions, vehicle type and the quality of the brake lining material. Drivers should never put off routine brake inspections or any needed repair. Letting the brakes get to the "metal-to-metal" point can be potentially dangerous and lead to a more costly repair bill.

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. For a copy of the council's Car Care Guide or for more information, visit