Brakes are one of the most crucial parts of your vehicle, especially for your safety as a driver. As your brakes wear down gradually, it may take longer for them to stop your vehicle to avoid sudden obstacles or driving difficulties. Increased problems with your brakes will also cause further damage to other vehicle parts, which will lead to more costly repair issues.
Before your brakes give out and you find yourself at one of our Utah auto repair shops, take a look at these tips for extending the lifespan of your brakes. Both proper driving technique, as well as proper maintenance, will go a long way in helping you to protect and prolong the lifespan of your brakes.
Follow Proper Driving Technique:
Slow Down: While driving at higher speeds alone will not necessarily strain your brakes, it will put a bigger strain on your brakes when you are forced to brake hard at higher speeds. Even just a few miles per hour can add considerable strain to your braking system. If you drive a little slower, it will lessen the burden on your brakes as well as improve general safety.
Another way to reduce the strain on the brakes is to let the vehicle coast for a short while before stopping. Coasting will allow the vehicle to slow down on its own before putting pressure on the brakes. The slower you are moving when you start braking, the less pressure you put on the brakes to stop the vehicle.
Allow For Increased Stopping Distance: Fast and harsh stopping puts immediate strain on your brake pads and deteriorates their rubber and metal. Although emergency braking is necessary no matter how careful you are, you can avoid common issues like tailgating other cars or sudden changes in traffic by giving yourself an increased stopping distance.
Allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Plan your route and give yourself enough time to get to your destination. Rushing around can lead to faster driving and harder braking. Be aware of what is ahead of you. It’s simple: the less pressure you put on your brakes, the longer they will last and the safer you will be.
Avoid Brake Tapping: It can be difficult to not constantly apply pressure to your brakes, especially when traffic is bad and inching along. Even if traffic is congested but moving relatively quickly, you may find yourself braking often. Small brake taps are abrasive to your brake pads, and you should avoid them as much as possible. Take time to pay attention to the traffic ahead, and adjust your speed to match the flow so that you won’t have to slow down suddenly or as often. Avoid brake tapping just because the vehicle in front of you did. Also, avoid break tapping when anticipating an upcoming change from red to green light.
Avoid Heavy Loads: Don’t make your vehicle carry more than it should. When your vehicle carries a heavier load, it has more momentum, which will then cause your brakes to have to work harder when stopping. Pay attention to whether you feel a difference in the amount of pressure you have to assert to make your vehicle stop. If you want to know more about how much your vehicle can carry, look it up in your owner’s manual or stop by at our Riverton auto repair for advice.
Keeps Brakes Properly Maintained:
Make Regular Brake Inspections: Your brake pads and rotors play a key role between the braking system and tires. As such, they wear out more easily and should be checked and maintained regularly. The brake pads wear down due to heat from friction with the tires, so it is important to see how much depth the brake pads have.
You may have issues with your brake pads and rotors if you hear squeaking when depressing the brakes, smell a burning smell, or if you require increased distance to make a stop. You can check the wear of your rotors and brake pads at home by removing the tire, or have a trusted mechanic check them at your local auto repair shop.
Buy Quality Brake Components: When it’s time to buy new parts for your braking system, be sure to upgrade to high-quality parts. Not only will this improve the performance of your vehicle, but will also increase the longevity of your braking system. In addition, you may find it useful to buy more durable and expensive parts that come with warranties. A warranty will protect you from expensive repairs if there is a premature issue. It will save you money on replacements.
Change the Brake Fluid: Brake fluid is a key component that acts as a messenger between the pressure you put on the brake pedal and the rest of the braking system. However, brake fluid brings in moisture and oxidizes over time, making it highly damaging and corroding to the braking system. As this decreases the brakes’ effectiveness, brake fluid should be checked and flushed regularly. If the brake fluid appears milky or cloudy, then it should be changed. Though the frequency depends on a few factors, a general guideline is to change the brake fluid every 25,000 miles.
Taking care to brake appropriately when driving and avoiding bad driving habits, as well as taking care of your brake maintenance will both go a long way in ensuring the longevity and safety of your braking system.