How to Extend the Life of Your Brakes

August 3rd, 2015 by

Bad Brakes

Your brakes are some of the most important components on your car. If you ever doubt that, just think of the panic that you would feel if you hit the brakes and got no response as you were cruising down the highway at 65 mph and heading straight for a concrete pillar.

Fortunately, you are unlikely to face a situation so dramatic. Instead, you are more likely to gradually wear down your brakes and require more response time to avoid obstacles. As you continue to use worn-down brakes, you also risk damage to your rotors or other car parts, leading to hefty repair bills.

Before you find yourself in a car brake repair shop in Albany, NY, you should take steps to protect your brakes and prolong their life. Here are a few things you can do to extend the life of your brakes:

Allow Plenty of Stopping Distance

The number one thing that wears down brakes quickly is to stop harshly. Fast and hard braking puts a great deal of strain on the brake pads and wears away the rubber and metal.

You can’t avoid emergency braking when a car turns in front of you too quickly or a deer darts out from the woods into the road. However, you can avoid tail gating other cars and plan out your route carefully to avoid last-minute turns.

Give yourself as much stopping distance as you can. Look far ahead down the road to anticipate any stopping needs, such as a light about to turn red or a stop sign lingering around a hill. The less force you have to apply to brake, the better.

Slow Down

Driving at high speeds will not put a strain on your brakes, but it will make it harder to stop if you face an unexpected obstacle. Even a 10 mph difference in speed can cause a bigger strain on your brakes.

Slowing down will not only improve your safety but will also reduce the burden on your brakes when you do have to stop.

In addition to driving more slowly, you should also get used to allowing the car to coast a short distance and allowing it to slow down naturally before you apply the brakes. The more slowly the car is traveling when you brake, the less wear your brakes will suffer.

Avoid Unnecessary Brake Taps

Traffic can be hard on your brakes. You sit in a long line of cars, moving forward slowly and tapping your brakes frequently. Even if traffic is moving freely, you will likely tap your brakes often when the roads are crowded.

You can avoid unnecessary brake taps by making it a habit to look far ahead while you drive to anticipate conditions. Many people just tape their brakes because the person in front of them did also. Yet if you know that traffic is not moving very quickly, you can adjust your speed so that you maintain steady but slower progress and do not need to hit your brakes as often.

If you are in stopped traffic, you can wait until a greater distance has formed between you and the car in front of you before you move. This way, you move greater distances at a time and brake less frequently.

Don’t Use Your Left Foot to Brake

Some people like to keep one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake pedal, giving them the powerful feel of a racecar driver. However, this practice encourages braking while actively accelerating, which can wear down the brakes quickly and lead to extensive damage.

Keep your left foot off the pedals, and use only your right foot to accelerate and brake. That way, you will only be able to do one at a time, and you won’t risk riding your brakes.

Lighten Your Load

The heavier your vehicle is, the more momentum it will attain while driving and the greater the force your brakes have to apply to stop it. You will likely notice the strain a heavy load puts on your brakes yourself, seeing that you have to press harder to stop within the same distance to which you are accustomed.

Don’t overload your vehicle with cargo, and be mindful of the aftermarket parts you install, such as wheels and muffler systems. If you are unsure about the weight limits your brakes can reasonably handle, talk to your mechanic to get expert advice.

Flush the Brake Fluid

Just like your oil or other fluids in your car, your brake fluid can become contaminated or oxidized, causing it to become less effective. Poor quality brake fluid can cause your brake calipers and wheel cylinders to break down and fail.

Protect your brakes by having the brake fluid flushed regularly. Not only will your brake components last longer, but they will also work more effectively.

How frequently you need to flush the brake fluid depends on a number of factors, including your driving habits, the quality of the brake fluid you use, and your vehicle. Talk with your mechanic at a brake repair shop in Albany, NY to learn the right schedule for your needs.

Inspect Brakes Regularly

It is important that you change brakes before they wear down to the rotors, causing grinding that can lead to even more serious and expensive damage. You might notice signs that your brakes are wearing down, such as hearing squealing or taking more time to stop your vehicle. However, it’s hard to know what’s really going on with your brakes without seeing them.

Ask your mechanic to inspect your brakes whenever you are in for a wheel alignment or a tire rotation or balance. If your brakes are starting to look thin, your mechanic can replace them before they have a chance to impact other wheel components.

Buy Quality Brakes to Start

You get what you pay for. That means that if you buy cheap brake pads or parts, they are not going to last very long. The easiest way to ensure that you get a lot of mileage out of your brakes it to buy quality brake pads and parts.

Not only are quality parts made out of better materials that are more durable, but they also often come with warranties. You can see this as a guarantee of the quality. And if your brakes do happen to fail prematurely, you can rest assured knowing that you will get replacement parts without spending the extra cash.

Even with the best brakes and the best driving practices, your brakes will eventually wear down and need replacement. When that happens, visit the best brake repair shop in Albany, NY: DePaula Chevrolet. We don’t just sell quality vehicles — we also provide top-quality repairs with expert workmanship and reliable and durable parts.

When you visit DePaula Chevrolet for service, our mechanics won’t just make the repair. They will also inspect your vehicle to determine the right parts and services for maximum performance. With our mechanics on your side, you will learn more about your vehicle and how to properly care for it to give it the longest life span.