Brakes are arguably the most crucial part of our cars, but they don’t get nearly enough attention. Taking steps to protect your brakes ahead of time can save you from enormous repair costs in the future.
Between changing your driving habits and supporting your brakes with maintenance, you can avoid needing significant repairs. Here are four suggestions for extending the life of your brake pads!
1. Avoid Pressing Both Pedals At The Same Time
Unnecessarily stressing your brakes shortens their lifespan. It’s not uncommon to see cars cruising down the road with their brake lights illuminated. If you pedal with both feet, you may inadvertently stress your brake pads by pressing both pedals at the same time. Using just one foot to pedal makes this less likely to happen.
Brakes work by transferring the kinetic energy created by your car into heat. The faster you go, the more your brake pad has to work when it’s time to stop. This is why after certain point brake pads become unusable. Avoiding pressing the gas and brakes at the same time prevents a lot of stress from building up on your brake pads.
2. Keep Your Car Light
It may not seem like it makes a difference, but what you have in your car affects how long your brake pads will last. It’s not unusual to be driving around with some boxes or items in your car you just forgot about. These extra items seem innocent, but they add extra pressure on your brake pads.
Another way you may inadvertently be adding weight to your car is with aftermarket parts. Parts that aren’t made for your vehicle are usually much heavier. Aftermarket tires are notorious for weighing more than they should. Sticking to parts made for your car’s brand will help you save money on gas mileage and extend the life of your brakes.
3. Keep Your Brake Pads Well Maintained
Scheduling time for maintenance is an excellent way to keep your brake pads in good shape. Brake fluid helps the internal components of the brake system stay lubricated and working. Periodically replacing your brake fluid (flushing your brakes) helps the inner parts work better and last longer.
The more you drive, the more your brake fluid attracts water. Since your brakes are hot, the water that collects begins to boil which reduces how easy it is to stop. Having moisture in your brakes also ruins essential seals and contributes to corrosion of the internal parts. The importance of regularly changing your brake fluid cannot be underestimated.
Most car companies recommend changing your brake fluid every 20,000 miles or approximately two years. Make sure you take your car to someone who is knowledgeable and certified, especially if your vehicle has ABS brakes which are more complex to work with.
4. Look For Shortcuts On Your Regular Commutes
The simplest way to make your brakes last longer is to use them less. One of the worst ways of stressing your brakes is quickly accelerating and stopping. Unfortunately, repeated start-stop motions are pretty common during rush hour traffic. Looking for slight alternatives in your route can help you use your brakes less.
If you take the same route home from work every day, try and find a way where you can make fewer stops. For example, if there’s a roundabout on your route, you can slow down and time it so you glide through the roundabout.