A car’s brake system is crucial for your safety and the safety of others on the road
Those who worked as car mechanics are familiar with the consequences of neglecting to replace brake pads, discs and hardware on schedule. In some cases, the brake pad wears down to the point where the metal plate slips off the caliper, causing the wheels to lock up. Other times, the caliper’s piston can shatter, or the pad wears out completely, resulting in a dreadful grinding sound with only the piston and caliper preventing metal-on-metal contact with the rotor. However, there are ways to extend the life of brakes and reduce the likelihood of these issues.
Regarding safety, properly maintained brake pads and hardware can last an average of 25,000 to 40,000 kilometres and should always be inspected regularly. In hybrid or electric vehicles, brake components last longer due to regenerative braking that slows the car at higher speeds. In addition, rear brake pads can suffer premature wear due to reduced airflow and vehicle weight distribution.
Between inspecting the brakes and rotors, driving efficiently and servicing the brake system, you can make your brakes last as long as possible.
Five tips to make your brakes last longer:
One of the easiest ways to extend brake life is to drive responsibly, like avoiding frequent acceleration and braking. The faster you go, the quicker you have to stop. Stopping a fast-moving car accumulates a lot of extra heat on the brake pads, which causes them to wear out faster. This higher heat can also cause the rotors to deform, causing more damage to the brake system. Instead, try to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and maintain a constant speed to avoid having to stop suddenly.
When braking, try to do so smoothly and gradually. Avoid applying the brakes harshly to avoid damaging the pads and rotors. Doing this reduces stress on your brake pads and prevents excessive wear.
Regular maintenance is essential to prolong the life of your brakes. You should have your brakes checked at least once a year or more frequently if you notice unusual noises or vibrations when applying the brakes. Brake pads and rotors should be replaced as soon as they show signs of wear, for example, if they are too thin or cracked. Not replacing them in time puts your life and the lives of others in serious danger.
Avoid constant overloading:
Avoid overloading your vehicle, as this can strain the brakes. If you must transport heavy loads, consider using a trailer or removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle to reduce the load on the brakes.
Buy quality brake pads and hardware:
Buying cheap brake pads or reusing old hardware on new pads can lead to rapid pad wear and will not fix the issue of noisy brakes. On the other hand, quality brake components, including brake clips, are made to minimise friction and noise.
By following these tips, you can help maintain and extend the life of your brakes, reducing the need for costly repairs and replacements in the future. Remember that the safety of you and your passengers is vital, so never overlook signs of brake wear or damage.
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The brake fluid
An essential part of the vehicle’s brake system is rarely checked. Many people even forget about its existence until it is too late! This part is the brake fluid.
The brake fluid is a vital part of the brake system, as it transfers the force from the brake pedal to the brakes, making it crucial to keep it in good condition.
Like any other vehicle part, the brake fluid must be checked and serviced regularly.
But how often does the brake fluid need to be changed?
There is no single answer that fits all cars. To be on the safe side, you should read the Owner’s Manual to know when to replace the brake fluid.
Here are some signs that the brake fluid needs to be replaced:
- Darker brake fluid: Fresh brake fluid is typically clear or light yellow. Over time, the fluid can become contaminated, causing it to turn dark brown or even black. If your brake fluid has become dark, it’s time to change it.
- Low Brake Fluid Level: If your brake fluid level is low, this could indicate a leak in your brake system. Low brake fluid levels can cause your brakes to feel spongy or unresponsive, which can be dangerous while driving. Ensure your brake system is inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
- Spongy Brake Pedal: If you notice that your brake pedal feels spongy or soft, this could be a sign that there’s air in your brake system or the brake fluid is contaminated. This can make it difficult to stop your car quickly in an emergency, making it important to address this issue as soon as possible.
- Noisy Brakes: If your brakes are making unusual noises, such as squeaking or grinding, it’s a sign that your brake pads are worn out, and it’s time to replace them. However, noisy brakes can also indicate moisture in your brake fluid, which can cause corrosion and damage to your brake system.
- Long Brake Pedal Travel: If you have to press your brake pedal further down than usual to engage your brakes, this could be a sign that your brake fluid is contaminated or has air in the system. This can make it difficult to brake quickly, which can be dangerous while driving.
If you notice any of the signs above, have your brake system inspected and repaired immediately to ensure your safety on the road. It is essential to monitor the brake fluid and to change it regularly. Most manufacturers recommend changing your brake fluid every 2-3 years, but this can vary depending on your driving habits and the condition of your brake system.
Remember: when you replace the brake discs, you must also change the brake pads. The latter, however, can also be changed without replacing the brake discs (if they are not too worn).
Brake pads and discs are at the heart of the braking system, and they must always be perfectly efficient to ensure the complete safety of your vehicle.
Caution: when replacing these elements, it is important always to do a short break-in period. We recommend about 200 miles, during which you should brake gently so that the surface of the pads is in perfect contact with the disc.