When you own a car, you’re going to want to take the best possible care of it. For most of us, our vehicle is our second largest investment in life, only coming second to our housing and accommodation. An important element of your car, of course, is its brakes.
You’re going to need to maintain these as best as possible to prevent larger costs down the line related to completely worn brake pads and other consequent damage that can come from a lack of care. The team here at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive have created a guide below that can help with this.
What Causes Brake Wear?
Like most things in life, brakes will experience wear and tear as part and parcel of their day to day use. Every time you use your brakes, they will wear down a little. Now, that’s not to say that you should use your brakes less. This is a key safety mechanism for your car and an essential when you’re driving. You need to break and you will eventually have to replace your brake pads, no matter how careful a driver you may be.
Of course, there are factors that can cause your brakes to wear down faster and these tend to revolve around your mileage, as well as your individual driving habits. Some include:
Location – city drivers are much more likely to experience brake wear than those who mostly drive in rural areas or on highways. This is because city drivers tend to find themselves in more stop-start traffic, facing more traffic lights and having to brake to accommodate other road users and pedestrians who are less numerous in rural areas or on highways.
Speed – if you carry out a lot of small, low-speed stops, your brakes will fare better than someone who carries out heavier brakes at higher speeds. Of course, you should always be driving in a way that encourages the first, as sudden braking can result in accidents if there are people driving behind you.
Brake pad position – generally speaking, front brake pads will wear down faster than rear brake pads. This is because the front of your vehicle handles a lot more weight transfer when you brake, which ultimately causes more wear.
Reducing Brake Wear
Of course, there are some factors you can’t really change when it comes to driving. You need to use your brakes while driving your truck or car and you will wear them over time. However, there are changes you can make with your vehicle maintenance and handling that will help your brakes to last as long as possible. Here are a few that you might want to take into consideration.
Change Your Driving Style
If you’ve invested in a quality car or truck, modified it and put effort into its maintenance, you need to make sure that you’re driving it properly to keep it in good shape. Avoid harsh braking wherever possible. Be a responsible driver and make sure to slow your speed gradually rather than suddenly before putting the brakes completely on.
Reduce Vehicle Weight
The more weight you have in your car, the harder your brakes will have to work to stop itself from moving. Avoid carrying excess weight in your car for no reason. Remove unnecessary luggage and any other extras while they’re not in use, such as baby seats or roof boxes. This will lighten the load and give your brakes an easier time when it comes to stopping.
Schedule a Service
It’s important to carry out regular check-ins on your car. This is where a service can come in useful. When you service your vehicle, a professional mechanic and engineer can take a look at your brakes and brake pads and ensure that they are in good working order.
If they identify any warning signs of wear and tear, or evidence of wear and tear, they will be able to replace the brake pads for you before they wear through and your brakes themselves become damaged. This can help better maintain the overall state and performance of your brakes.
Take Note of Repairs
Your vehicle will tell you when it needs an inspection on its brakes. Even if you’re not due a service, you should take note of the following issues and book in with specialists if you notice any of the following signs:
Squeaking, squealing or grinding
You need to pump your brakes to stop
Soft or spongy brakes
Stiff or hard brakes
Your brake light comes on
These top tips should help you to keep your brakes in the best condition possible. Give them a try and incorporate them into your driving routine!