8 Maintenance Tips to Maximise Brake Lifespan

car brake

Even the most amateur driver knows that their vehicle’s brake system is one of the most crucial components.

Despite this, not many are aware of how to properly take care of their car’s brakes. Indeed, there are car owners who don’t realise that they have certain habits that shorten the lifespan on the brake pads and rotors.

This results in more frequent replacement and higher overall maintenance costs, not to mention safety issues.

To help maximise the lifespan of your car’s brakes, here are a few maintenance tips and good driving habits to keep in mind:

Check the Brake System Annually

Vehicle manufacturers recommend checking a car’s brake pads every 20,000 kilometres. If you don’t drive all that often and over long distances, it’s still good to have the brake pads and rotors checked at least once a year.

These parts get worn-down more quickly than other components of the brake system, and thus need more frequent maintenance. If you know what to look for, you can perform the inspection yourself. If not, have an expert do it for you.

Get the Right Parts

If the brake pads, rotors, or any other components need replacing, make sure to get the right parts. Get in touch with a reliable auto parts supplier in NZ for quality components that work well and last for years. Don’t sacrifice safety just to save a few dollars on affordable but substandard parts.

Pay Attention to Warning Signs

There are a lot of warning signs that can clue you in on the status of your brakes. The most noticeable would be squealing or screeching noises whenever you step on the brake pedals. A sharp smell like burning rubber or hot metal can also indicate excessive wear and tear.

Another thing that can indicate failing brakes is if you need to press harder or longer on the pedal before the brake engages.

With good brakes, the car should stop without delay. Have your brake pads and rotors checked and replaced immediately if you notice these signs. 

Don’t “Floor It”

Unless you’re zooming in a race car down the track, it’s best to stick to driving at a decent speed.

The faster your car goes, the more power your brake system needs to exert to stop it. As an example, it takes about 35% more energy to stop a vehicle that’s running 100 kilometres per hour versus one running at only 75 or even 80 kilometres per hour.

This 35% extra energy also eats up more brake material. Pushing the “pedal to the metal” can be thrilling, but your brakes will certainly complain.

Coast Before Braking

One good way to preserve your car’s brakes is a simple technique called coasting. This is where you take your foot off the accelerator pedal and simply let the car slow down on its own before braking. 

Remember: higher speeds mean more power is needed for stopping. When you coast before you brake, you put less pressure on the brake components. Coasting is not recommended in certain situations however, such as when you’re driving downhill. Still, try to practise it whenever possible.

Keep Distance

Driving too closely behind another car means you will have to stop whenever they stop. This will cause your brakes to wear more quickly and unnecessarily. It’s usually more ideal to keep your distance, especially since this will allow you to apply coasting as mentioned previously.

By keeping your distance, you not only prolong the life of your brakes but also improve general safety. 

Flush the Brake Fluid and Bleed the Brake Lines

The role of the brake fluid is to “send” the message from the brake pedal to the brake system.

Once you step on the brake, the brake fluid transfers the pressure through the components until it reaches the brake pads and rotors. In short, if the brake fluid is contaminated, it won’t be able to effectively send the message.

Moisture can also get into the brake fluid, which can cause corrosion. As such, it’s highly recommended to flush out and replace a car’s brake fluid every 40,000 kilometres.

You should also bleed the brake lines every 2 to 3 years. This process removes excess air trapped inside, which can affect the effectiveness of the brake system. Fortunately, bleeding the brake lines is a simple process.

All you have to do is to step on the brake pedal and adjust the bleeder valve. This should be done every 2 to 3 years or whenever necessary. When in doubt, always ask a qualified mechanic.

Don’t Overload

Aside from speed, another enemy of your car’s brakes is extra weight. The heavier your car is, the harder the brakes will have to work to make it stop. As such, don’t overload your vehicle with too much cargo. You should also remember that installing aftermarket parts such as bumpers can also add extra weight to your car.

Ensuring that your brakes are in good shape is being a responsible driver and car owner. Indeed, with a properly maintained braking system, you will not only save money but also protect and save lives.


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