Every vehicle owner dreads that familiar squeaking noise that signals brake trouble. Depending on the brand and driving conditions, brake pads can last for several thousands of miles. No matter where you live and how often you are on the road, you can extend the life of your brakes and brake pads by following these tips.
Eliminate Unnecessary Weight From Your Vehicle
The more your vehicle weighs, the more friction is placed on the brake pads when you push on the brake pedal. Clean out the truck and get rid of your kid’s sporting equipment or the second spare tire that you keep just in case.
You can also replace some components with lighter weight options. For example, swap out your heavier rims and tires for more lightweight models. Replace your existing front and rear glass windows with polycarbonate windows. The small reduction in weight from modifying your vehicle and cleaning out the trunk will help reduce the wear on your brakes over the long haul.
Avoid Stop and Start Traffic
The morning commute through town with all of the traffic jams and stop signs can be brutal on your brake pads. Each time you slam on the brakes, the friction wears down the metal pads.
Instead, find a route to work, your child’s school, and your favorite restaurant that has the fewest stop lights and stop signs. For example, always take highways, freeways, or any roads that have a constant flow of traffic.
Avoid tailgating as well. If the driver in front of you steps on the brakes, you will have the slam on yours.
Drive More Slowly
The faster you drive; the more friction is created when you are step on your brakes. Slowing down just a few miles per hour can help you avoid the damage that is caused when you slam on the brakes, such as right before a red light. When you do brake, gently step off the gas, and coast to the stop sign or stoplight. This places less trauma on the brake pads as well.
Watch for Early Signs of Potential Brake Trouble
Brake pads take several months to wear down to the point where they are no longer safe for use. Keep an eye out for these signs that your brake pads are near the end of the life or there are other potential problems with your brakes because the more quickly you act, the less damage you will do to the entire braking system:
- The brake light comes on. Low brake fluid, an issue with the anti-lock braking system, or an issue with the brake sensor are all possible causes.
- Fluid leak. Watch for a puddle at the back of your car. Brake fluid is colorless and has an oil consistency. The brakes cannot function properly if there is no brake fluid.
- Brakes feel soft. When air gets into the brake line, it can disrupt the flow of brake fluid. This can make your brakes feel spongy or soft.
- Grinding noise when you brake. The bottom layers of brake pads are steel, and when you step on the brakes and your brake pads are nearing the end of their life, you will hear the steel pads grinding against one another.
Contact a mechanic right away if you notice any of the above-mentioned signs or if your brakes don’t work as well as they once did. Do not attempt to repair your brakes on your own, as this is potentially complicated procedure that requires the right tools as expertise.
From emptying out your trunk to keeping an eye on signs of potential trouble, you have several ways to extend the life of your brakes. Contact the professionals at DeMers Automotive with any further questions.