This holiday period lets have a look at how we can get the most out of brakes and keep you safe on the road. Typically, most quality brake pads should last between 70,000klms and 160,000klms providing you follow these simple tips.
Brake pad replacement can start at around $160-$170 for small cars and can increase considerably for larger cars, Japanese, European and performance cars. However, costs can multiply rapidly if you do not have your brakes checked regularly or at least when your car is due for its scheduled service.
1. Speed Kills Brakes
Heavy braking at speed is the number one cause of premature brake wear. That does not mean everyone has to drive on the freeway at 80klms an hour so they don’t wear out your brakes, that would be crazy. What it does mean is that you need to
- Take your foot off the exhilarator when taking the off ramp rather than maintaining the freeway speed till the very end.
- Don’t drive too close to the vehicle in front of you causing you to jump on the brakes whenever you see their brake lights come on.
2. Only Use One Foot
If you have been taught to drive by your parents or a drive school, one of the first rules they would have taught you is to tuck your left leg out of the way of the brake and excelorator. It is much safer to drive only using one foot or leg in an automatic car. This prevents accidently pushing both pedals in an emergency and causing an accident. The other reason is when using two feet, drivers tend to rest a foot on the brake pedal which keeps the brake pads ever so slightly engaged with the brake rotos or drums. If you can picture two materials as hard as metal rubbing against each other at 110klms per hour for hours, the heat and damage it can cause on the brake components and rotors is enormous. Excessive heat can warp the rotors, so resting your foot on the brake pedal can create unnecessary heat which will eventually warp the rotor. This will cause shuddering and shaking of the steering wheel and brake peddle during braking. Once this happens you will need to call your mobile mechanic to change the pads and rotors. The whole job can normally be completed in and hour and a half, two at the most.
3. Coasting saves Brakes
It is good driving practice to always look several cars ahead when driving in traffic. You also need to be aware of the traffic around you. This style of driving will allow you to judge traffic and driver changes ahead of you. This allows you to brake more gently rather than jumping on the pedal, creating premature brake wear. Consider paying more attention to the flow of traffic and stopped or slowed-down cars that are ahead of you, and coast whenever you can to lower your speed – as opposed to braking.
When going up hill and there are cars stopped in front of you, take your foot off the excelorator and coast up to the cars rather than brake at the last minute.
The same applies on freeway ramps, there is o need to race off the ramp and brake heavily at the end of the ramp. Roundabouts, stop signs, pedestrian crossings all are possible to coast too and it is safe practice to do so.
4. Why Hurry to Stop?
It only makes sense to coast to stop signs, roundabouts, pedestrian crossings, orange and red lights. Racing up behind stopped cars or warning signs or signals will not only cost you more in fuel, it will cost you in brake wear and tear and suspension components.
Brake pads should get you from car service to car service without a need to change them in between. If you do find the brakes grinding, shuddering or squealing between services, there is a good chance that you are using your brakes excessively which will cost you heavily by replacing pads and rotors much more than is necessary and costing you much more than it should.
5. Don’t Carry More than Necessary
Carrying unnecessary items in your car only builds up the weight of the cars which in turn decreases fuel efficiency and wears brake and suspension components prematurely. You might be a tradie or someone who needs to move equipment around daily. Have a look at what is in the car and really ask yourself if everything is needed and remove things you don’t really need. The same goes with the family car and 4WD. Do you really need the pram and the kids sporting gear in the car every day? DO you need to carry around a compressor, towing gear, winches, heavy duty jax, bull bars etc when you go four wheel driving twice per year?
Take them out of the car and save yourself hundreds if not thousands in fuel and brake repair costs.
6. Change your Brake Fluid Every 2 Years
Don’t stress as this is something your mobile mechanic can measure and do for you. Brake fluid can turn putrid if not changed as required. Your mobile mechanic has a device to measure whether it is time to change the brake fluid, and this will for part of their service routine. The reason brake fluid can turn putrid is that it attracts water which intern can start to rust braking components. The combination of brake fluid and water can regularly overheat due to heavy braking, deteriorating seals and other components, reducing the braking performance of the vehicle and can lead to brake failure.
Simple changes can save you thousands $$$!
You won’t get away with never changing your brake pads and rotors as they take and enormous amount of stress and strain from stopping your vehicle. What you can do is reduce the amount of time these components need to be changed by
- Having your brakes checked by one of our mobile mechanics
- Coast up to stopped cars
- Coast to the end of the freeway ramp
- Coast up to stop signs, orange lights and crossings
- Change your brake fluid
- Remove unnecessary items from the car an reduce the vehicle weight.
Safety is always the main factor for keeping your vehicle ship shape. However, the added financial bonus is a very positive reason as well. Having one of our experienced mechanics services your car as per your service booklet makes financial sense. Repairs and replacement components are always more expensive than maintenance.
Happy New Year and Safe & Happy Driving this holiday Season from Grant and the Team