Brake Tips: How to Extend the Life of Your Brakes

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Fixing the wheel bearing

When talking about brake maintenance, you may find yourself thinking about replacement costs, vehicle safety, and the time necessary to take your vehicle in to be serviced. While you may not be able to avoid the eventual servicing of your car, truck, or SUV, you can help extend the life your brakes with a few quick tips.

Low-Speed Braking
During your next commute or extended road-trip, try applying your brakes from lower speeds. In high speed driving situations, such as on highways and interstates, hitting the brakes from higher driving speeds means your brakes will need to dissipate a greater amount of energy. This additional energy will convert to extra ware of your braking system. Aside from emergency braking situations, trying to brake from lower speeds will help extended the effectiveness of your brakes.

Coasting More
Next time you’re driving on the street or highway, try to coast your vehicle more instead of braking. It’s not always necessary to use you brakes when slowing down your vehicle. If a traffic situation allows for it, coasting your vehicle can help minimize the impact on your brakes. While the extra seconds lost during coasting may not appeal to those on a tight schedule, it may be something to consider on your next drive.

Keep Your Distance
In most metropolitan areas drivers need to content with traffic jams on a daily basis, which can cause extended ware on vehicle brakes. One of the issues in this stop-and-go driving situations is how drivers fall into an unnecessary perpetual braking pattern. To break this pattern, try to keep enough distance between you and the next vehicle to allow for more coasting and low-speed braking where necessary. Not only will you help increases your safety on the road, but your brakes will thank you.

Lose the Vehicle Weight
Avoided excess vehicle weight can also go a long way to extending the life of your brakes. More weight means your brakes need to work overtime to slowdown and eventually stop your vehicle. For those upgrading the rims on their car, try looking for low-weight alloy wheels. When heading on an extended road-trip, try to pack only the essentials. Keeping the overall vehicle weight low will mean less stress on your brakes in all driving situations.

Braking with Your Engine
Next time you’re driving down a mountainous area or any steep grade roadway, let your engine pull its weight instead of your brakes alone. Shifting down to a lower gear in a downhill situation will help keep your brakes from overheating and enduring excessive ware. While using your engine to brake can be an option to save your brakes, it is not advised to try this in low traction weather situations, such as rain or snow.

Renew Brake Fluids
Maintaining the fluids in your vehicle can help ensure everything, including your brakes, continually runs efficiently. The fluid in your braking system can become contaminated with moisture overtime, which can cause less than ideal compression and diminish overall braking performance. The moisture in the lines can also become extremely acidic at high temperatures, which could degrade certain brake components. Regular maintenance of brake fluid can help you avoid costly repairs and also help extend the life of your brakes.

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