Imagine you’re cruising down the highway at 65 miles per hour. You hit the brakes but nothing happens. Seems scary, right? Thousands of car accidents involving brake failure are reported every year across the country.
Your brakes are one of the most important parts of your car, and properly functioning brakes save lives. To get the most out of your brakes, and to keep you and your passengers safe, give them some TLC. Not only are well-maintained brakes reliable and last longer, they also save you money (a brake repair job can cost up to $1,000).
Here are some ways to extend the life of your brakes.
Cultivate good driving habits
The way you drive can affect the longevity of your brakes. Fast and hard braking puts strain on the brake pads, wearing them out prematurely. To reduce stress on your brakes, allow for plenty of stopping distance between you and the car in front. Plan your route out carefully and look ahead in anticipation of road traffic or other road obstacles.
Do not speed. The faster you go and the harder you’ll need to stop, the more stress you put on your brakes. Allow your car to coast a short distance to slow down naturally, rather than slamming on the brakes to come to a grinding halt.
Avoid frequently tapping on your brakes. One way to do this is to anticipate traffic conditions and adjust your speed accordingly.
It’s common for drivers to place the right foot on the gas pedal and the left foot on the brake pedal. This practice encourages braking while actively accelerating, which increases wear and tear on the brakes. To slow down wear and tear, avoid using your left foot entirely.
Inspect your brakes regularly
Inspect your brakes regularly. Worn-down rotors can cause grinding and lead to serious problems. To prevent costly repairs down the road, repair or replace brakes before they wear down to the rotors. If your brakes look thin, have your mechanic inspect them.
Additionally, brake fluid can become contaminated or oxidized, which can cause your brake calipers and cylinders to fail. To prevent these kinds of problems, flush brake fluid regularly. Not only will your brake pads last longer, but they’ll work more effectively.
How frequently you need to flush your brake fluid will depend on different factors, such as your driving habits and the type and quality of brake fluid you use.
Lighten the load
The heavier your car, the more momentum it gains and the harder your brakes will have to work to bring it to a halt. Follow these tips to reduce the weight of your car:
Remove items you don’t regularly need or use.
Fit lighter panels.
Get rid of or swap out heavy electrical components.