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Home Motoring 7 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Brakes

7 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Brakes

by James Musoba
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Your car’s brake system plays a crucial role in your safety and overall driving experience. Without the brakes, you will literally crash your vehicle and cause property damage, physical injuries, or even loss of life. This is why you should take care of your brakes. They’re designed to be extra durable so they can withstand even the toughest situations, but they’re not indestructible. Things like car accidents can cause them to break or get damaged, and bad driving habits can speed up the wear and tear of your car’s braking components.

Speaking of bad driving habits, we list a few of the most notorious ones below. Avoid them as much as possible to prevent unnecessary strain on your brakes and maximise their lifespan:

Stop-and-Go Driving

To put it simply, when you step on the brake pedal, the brake pads “bite” the rotors. This action, which produces friction and pressure, is what stops the wheels from turning. If you frequently step on the brake pedal, both the brake pads and rotors will wear down much faster due to the constant friction and pressure between them.

For longer-lasting brake components, make sure to keep a good distance between you and the car in front. This way, you can slow down and brake properly. Of course, stop-and-go driving isn’t 100% unavoidable; the key is to avoid it as much as you possibly can.

Speeding

It can be exhilarating to drive at high speeds, but this can also be dangerous. It’s also bad for your brakes. This is because the faster you go, the more power your brakes have to exert to stop your vehicle. Therefore, the brake components will be put under more stress. In short, it will be safer for you and better for your car’s brakes to maintain a reasonable speed. 

Slamming Down on the Brakes

In relation to speeding, there may be times when you’re going too fast and have to suddenly step hard on the brakes. This produces too much heat and pressure, which, again, are bad for the brake pads and rotors. The damage can also spread to the hose, which can result in brake fluid leaks. Ultimately, this will lead to brake failure.

Obviously, like stop-and-go driving, there may be times when you really have to slam down on the brakes. However, if you can avoid it, then don’t do it. It will do your car and brakes a lot of good.

Not Coasting 

There are some situations when you don’t have to step on the brakes to slow down but rather just coast. Coasting is the act of letting go of the accelerator so that the car moves forward on built-up momentum and then slows down on its own. This will give your brake pads maybe a few more weeks or even months of additional life.

Do note that there are also situations when coasting is not a good idea, such as when you’re driving down hills and slopes. Not only does this not result in fuel savings, but it also means you aren’t able to accelerate immediately if you need to. Coasting down slopes also means you’ll lose engine braking, which can lead to the brakes overheating.

Not Changing the Brake Fluid

Over time, your car’s brake fluid can become contaminated. It can attract moisture or be contaminated with debris. This can result in poor heat dissipation and brake performance. The moisture can also cause internal corrosion in the brake lines, calipers, master cylinder, and other brake components.

Your car’s owner’s manual should have an ideal schedule indicated for brake fluid changes. If you have lost the manual somehow, it’s good to follow a once-a-year schedule. A soft or bouncy pedal feel may also indicate that it’s time to change the brake fluid.

“Riding” the Brakes

Riding the brakes means keeping your foot on the brake pedal even when you don’t need to slow down or stop. This can cause additional stress and heat on the brakes, which can speed up wear and tear. Riding the brakes can also confuse the driver’s behind you and cause accidents.

The bottomline is, if you don’t need to stop then don’t step on the brakes.

Keeping Unnecessary Bulk in Your Car

When it comes to your car, high-speed driving is similar to carrying heavy weights in that they both require more braking power. Thus, it’s best to drive with less weight in your car. Clear out your junk and only leave the essentials like your emergency toolbox and first aid kit.

You may also want to ease up on the accessories. If you really want to install add-ons like bumpers and storage racks, find products that are made from lightweight materials like aluminium or carbon fibre.

Some of these driving habits can be hard to break. Nevertheless, you should definitely make the effort in order to keep your car’s brakes in good shape for longer. It can save you a lot of money and also keep you safe.

Happy driving! 

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