It probably will come as no surprise that keeping your car’s brakes in good condition is one of the biggest factors in keeping yourself, your passengers, and your car safe on the road. Unfortunately, brake pads don’t last forever so making sure they keep performing at their best is extremely important in terms of saving money and the frustration of frequent brake replacements/service. Further, improperly maintained brakes, low-quality brakes, and brakes that have been used for too long not only can reduce your safety on the road but, if left unchecked, can cause other serious problems and expensive damages to your vehicle.
Unlike oil changes or other maintenance items that are performed at regular intervals, brake checks and maintenance may need to be performed more or less frequently or at different intervals based on a variety of factors. Things like the quality of the brake pad, your acceleration/braking habits, and even the temperature can all have a significant impact on how long your car’s brakes last. In fact, the predicted lifespan of new brake pads can range from about 25,000 to 65,000 miles just based on the manufacturer! Make sure you note the predicted lifespan of your brakes when you have new ones installed and be sure to have them inspected at or before that point, even if they seem to be working fine.
Some people may be wondering how they can tell if their brakes are going bad early. Luckily, most brake pads have a built-in warning system to let you know that your brake pads are very worn down. Most modern brake pads have a small metal tab on the side that reaches a bit above the very bottom of the brake pad. Over time, as the brake pads wear down, the metal tab will make contact with the rotor, causing that all-too-familiar squeaking sound to come from the brakes as they are being applied. That means if you consistently hear squeaking or screeching when you use your brakes, there’s a good chance that they’re in need of replacing. Besides listening for squeaking, keep an eye out for any grinding, rattling, or prolonged braking times, which may indicate your brakes need to be serviced or replaced.
You’ve replaced your brake pads and know what to look for to let you know when they start to go bad, what can you do to prolong the life of your new brakes and push back their eventual replacement as far as possible? Luckily, a few simple driving tips can help you significantly reduce the amount of excess brake wear you encounter and help those brakes last as long as possible.
First things first, and for more than just for the sake of maintaining your brakes, take it easy on the pedals. Even if you’re in a rush, in the long scheme of things rapidly accelerating and waiting until the last minute to brake won’t get you where you’re going any faster. All you’re really doing is lowering your fuel economy and wearing down your brakes faster; Slamming on the brakes quickly adds extra heat and friction to your brake pad, increasing how fast they degrade and wear down. Braking from high speeds causes a similar effect – you can reduce the amount of heat and friction you expose your brake pads to by increasing your following distance and, as simple as it sounds, paying attention to the flow of traffic. If you can see and anticipate upcoming stops, you can take your foot off the gas and coast to slow down before actually applying the brakes. Finally, and this can help you get better gas mileage as well, remove excess weight and cargo from your vehicle before you drive. The more weight your brakes need to stop the more friction they encounter, which can wear them down faster.
There are a couple simple maintenance tips to help you get the most from your brakes. One of the simplest things is to use new hardware when replacing your brakes. Some brake pads don’t come with new hardware in the box, leading to drivers reusing old hardware that may be dirty, rusted or damaged. New hardware typically doesn’t cost much and will ensure you get the best performance and lifespan out of your brakes.
Finally, make sure you have your entire brake system checked and maintained regularly. Not only does this include your brake pads and rotors, but this means checking your brake lines and having a full flush done every couple of years to clear out any buildup.
In conclusion, not only does maintaining your brake system and smart driving help keep you safe on the road, but it can increase the lifespan of your brake pads, saving you a lot of money! If you start to notice some of the telltale signs that your brakes are wearing down, make sure you have a professional check them out and service them if necessary as soon as possible; You don’t want a $20 fix to turn into a repair that costs you hundreds!
If you’re in need of brake pads, rotors, hardware, or you’re looking for a mechanic to inspect or install new brakes for you, look no further than Holbrook Auto Parts! We’ve got the best prices on OEM and new aftermarket parts around Detroit, and our expert team knows how to get you back On the Move fast!
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