Your car’s brakes are one of its most important systems. Functional brakes save lives on the road, while malfunctioning brakes not only jeopardize your safety, but can also affect vehicle performance and fuel efficiency.
But did you know warmer weather can affect your car’s braking performance?
Warm weather impact
When you press on the brake pedal, a tremendous amount of friction and heat is generated. When outside temperatures soar, the heat created during braking becomes much more significant.
And, as you can probably guess, heat doesn’t dissipate easily in warmer weather. With time, overheated brakes can lose their effectiveness or even fail prematurely.
During the summer months, you might notice you have to push down harder and longer on your brake pedal in order to stop your car, also known as brake fading. Not only does frequently applying the brakes in stop-and-go traffic increase wear and tear on your brakes, but it contributes to brake fade, too.
Plus, extreme heat damages brake pad components, and warmer weather has been known to cause brake fluid to boil, making your brakes less responsive. If your brake fluid falls below the recommended level, water from other parts of the car will move toward the brake lines. This is a recipe for disaster.
If water gets into your brake fluid, when the heat increases, the mixture will boil or evaporate. And if you continue driving your car without topping off your brake fluid, your brakes will start going out.
Summer brake maintenance
Check your brakes at regular intervals. To prevent expensive brake repairs, address problems as soon as they manifest. If the lining on your brake shoe or brake pad is worn down excessively, replace it.
Do your brakes squeak and squeal? This does not necessarily mean your brakes are beyond repair and need to be replaced, but if squealing and squeaking noises become scraping or grinding noises, this could be a sign that your brakes are no longer effective and should be replaced.
How you use your car will affect your braking system’s performance and how long your brakes will last. Here are a few tips to maintain and prolong the health of your brakes during the year’s hottest months:
Do not park your car in direct sunlight.
Create good driving habits.
Avoid slamming on your brakes when driving in stop-and-go traffic as this can increase wear and tear on your braking system.
If you find that it’s time to replace your braking system, consider upgrading your brake components. Replace your traditional brake pads with those made from special materials, such as ceramic, semi-metallic, or organic materials, and avoid overloading your car.
Have a professional check your braking system before the summer season. If your brake fluid has become contaminated, your mechanic will flush your brake lines.