Be Safer on the Road and Save $$$ by Thinking About Your Brakes

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Many of us don’t pay much attention to our car’s brakes until we hear a weird screeching or grinding noise coming from them, increased stopping distance, or vibration when the brakes are applied. But waiting until one of those things happens can be expensive or even dangerous. 

The downsides of putting off brake maintenance

When you delay giving your brakes the care and maintenance they need, it can lead to higher repair costs, greater overall damage to your vehicle and risk of injury to yourself and others. 

One easy way to stay ahead of the game is to regularly check your brake pads or brake shoes. Brake pads or shoes are used each time you apply your brakes, which causes them to gradually wear down over time. When they wear past a minimum safe level, excessive pressure is applied directly to the brake rotors.  This can damage your rotors, which are much more expensive to replace than pads or shoes. 

Delaying brake maintenance can also damage your calipers. Brake calipers are the metal plates that hold the brake pads and press them against the rotor. The cost of replacing your calipers depends on the vehicle you drive, but are also more expensive than pads or shoes.

And in a worst-case scenario, brakes that are compromised can make it difficult to stop your car in time to avoid an accident. Needless to say, this is dangerous for you, other drivers and pedestrians.

In short, think about your brakes before it's too late!

Caring for your Brakes

Get in the habit of including brakes in your car maintenance routine. (And if you don’t have a routine, start one!) Here are some easy ways to get started: 

  • Inspect your brakes and brake pads. Have your brakes and brake pads inspected at least once every 10,000 miles, or whenever you have your oil changed or tire rotated.

  • Check your brake fluid regularly. If your brake fluid is dark, it means the fluid needs to be replaced. If the brake fluid falls below the minimum fill level, it means the brakes are low or there is an issue with the system and needs an inspection soon. 

  • Pay attention to your dashboard. If the brake warning light is illuminated, make sure to have your brakes inspected by a trained professional right away.

  • Listen to your brakes. If your brakes are making a grinding or squealing sound, it may be a warning sign to get them inspected. The same is true if your car vibrates when you apply the brakes.

  • Drive conservatively. Try not to follow cars too closely and try to coast before using your brakes whenever you can do so safely. And as a bi-product, you will conserve fuel consumption!

Brake Glossary

Brake Pads: Pair of steel backing plates lined with a friction material that press on the brake rotor or the inside of the brake drum.  

Brake Shoes: Positioned inside the brake drum and are attached to the backing plate. 

Rotors: Metal disc that’s attached to a hub that is held in place on the inside of the wheel. 

Calipers: The apparatus that applies force to the brake pads allowing controlled pressure to the surface of the brake rotor to slow or stop the vehicle. 

Brake Fluid: Type of hydraulic fluid that is used to transfer force into pressure, and to amplify braking force. 

Master Cylinder: Receptacle that the brake fluid in your car and distributes brake fluid to the brake system.

Brake Lines: Flexible hoses and metal lines that are fitted to a hydraulic brake system.

Zippity Funding Announcement : A Letter from the Co-founder and CEO

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I’m excited to announce that our intrepid Zippity team has closed $2.6M in Seed funding from BP Ventures, A3 Ventures, and the Boston angel community.

This funding propels forward Zippity’s unique vision of automotive maintenance as a workplace amenity. Zippity’s fully-equipped mobile service garages deliver a premier solution to car owners across Boston at an affordable price by aggregating demand at the workplace. By formalizing our partnerships with AAA and Castrol, a subsidiary of BP, we are poised to bring this benefit to workplaces in new cities, while enhancing the quality and breadth of our service offerings.  

Zippity started out of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in 2017. Between classes, we would work on cars amongst the snow banks of Hanover, New Hampshire. How far we’ve come in 18 months. Zippity’s five mobile service garages are in operation across New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island and can perform all routine automotive service and repairs - from oil changes to axle replacements - in a fully weatherproof and self-contained mobile garage. This robust service solution makes us the most comprehensive and professional of any mobile service provider.

Now, over 50,000 Boston area employees have access to Zippity services through their employers, including Staples, Fidelity, Talbots, MathWorks, Ocean Spray, Schneider, and Boston Scientific. Customers have booked 11,000 services through the Zippity platform. On their service day, these customers can track their vehicle maintenance online and see photos of the work being performed on their car. This workplace service is free to employers and has proven wildly popular with their employees, creating a win-win for HR teams, customers, and Zippity.

What makes this funding so exciting is that we now have the opportunity to expand our unique vision of car maintenance to so many more customers.

Our vision is unique in three ways:

  1. It is unique for customers. With Zippity, customers no longer have to coordinate rides to the auto shop or wonder if the work on their car is being performed honestly. We bring a full service auto shop to them, while providing full transparency with our digital platform and live photos of the work being done.

  2. It is unique for employers looking to provide a professional, easy-to-manage employee benefit. We're not just some guy in a truck. We provide the complete package, from coordinating with facilities teams to helping the HR team roll out the service smoothly to their company. Companies can be confident that partnering with Zippity will make their employee engagement initiative a great success. There are plenty of other mobile service providers out there, but no one else is laser focused on the workplace like Zippity is. The workplace has unique needs and we have completely designed our service around it.

  3. It is unique for our technicians. Most people don’t know this, but behind the scenes, Zippity is totally different in the way we deliver service. We are a blue collar company and proud of it. While many start-ups see technicians as an afterthought to a slick business plan, we believe our technicians are the foundation of our company. That is why they are W2 employees instead of 1099 contractors. They are the ones onsite every day inspecting vehicles, making recommendations, and advocating for our customers. By empowering them to succeed, the customer gets an outstanding experience. Customers let us know this every day. With 500 five-star reviews and counting, we’re clearly doing something right.  

Looking long term, Zippity’s car maintenance solution is mobile, adaptable, and scalable. As the automotive industry changes, Zippity’s combination of technology, technicians, and onsite expertise will enable us to deliver the most modern and seamless mobile automotive service in the industry.

Thanks to all our technicians, customers, corporate partners, and investors for their hard work and support - we’re on our way.

Ed Warren

Co-founder & CEO