The longevity of wear items in your vehicle depends on the way you drive that vehicle. Keeping these wear items in good condition and replacing them in a timely manner will help ensure your safety on the road. Car brakes are one of these essential wear items. Your driving techniques can make brakes and its wearable components last longer or wear out quickly. Here are some of the best driving tips to make it easier on your car’s braking system, especially the brake pads.
1. Reduce Your Driving Speed
The speed of your vehicle is the greatest enemy of the braking system. Driving at high speeds and abruptly screeching to a stop places enormous friction (and, consequently, heat!) on the car brake pads. A slower speed will help you drive with the flow of traffic without pressing the brake pedal. Try driving slower than your usual speed and use cruise control while driving at freeways to minimise the need to step on that pedal.
The braking system’s stopping power depends on the friction generated between the brake pad and the rotor. Here’s a bit of science to understand what it takes to stop a moving vehicle:
Your moving car possesses kinetic energy (what you call the energy of an object due to its motion). To stop it, you will need a resistive force to counter this energy, which the car brake pads accomplish by providing friction to the moving parts. Since energy cannot be destroyed but only converted, the kinetic energy from this system is converted by friction into thermal or heat energy. That explains where the heat comes from.
The enormous heat produced by these dynamics weakens the brake pads in the long term. The faster your car goes, the higher the kinetic energy it has, and the more heat it will generate when brought to a stop. If you drive slow, energy conversion becomes easier and less heat-intensive.
2. Keep Your Eyes Up the Road and Plan Ahead
Another driving tip that will improve the longevity of car brake pads is to look farther up the road and plan ahead. Keep an eye at the changing traffic conditions and let your vehicle coast. It will decelerate slowly without the need to apply brakes. If your response time to the changing traffic conditions is accurate, you may not have to touch the brake pedal at all until you reach your destination. Always prefer coasting over braking whenever possible. Plan where to stop and turn to avoid instant brakes. Let your vehicle slow down when the stop or turn approaches.
3. Avoid Left-Foot Braking
You can save the brake pads by avoiding the use of the left foot. It is not a good habit to keep your right foot on the accelerator and tap the brakes with the left foot. Left-foot braking applies more pressure because the left foot is not as trained as the right foot. Thus, it tends to generate more heat, which wears out the brake pads prematurely, and also puts your life at risk.
4. Maintain a Safe Distance from the Vehicles Ahead
Maintaining a reasonable distance from the vehicles ahead gives you enough time to coast your car and do away with constant stepping on the brakes. Moreover, it allows you to change lanes easily. The closer you follow the car ahead, the more often you will have to use brakes.
Be attentive to the traffic flow, traffic lights, and signs, and adapt your speed accordingly. This practice of keeping yourself alert and adequately distancing your vehicle relieves you of frequent braking. It is so much friendlier to the pads and will add to their useful life, translating to savings for you.
5. Memorise Places
Many drivers apply brakes unnecessarily while driving on new roads. Familiarise with the route you’re taking as much as possible. If you go to the workplace and return daily on the same road, memorise places on the way. It will lessen the use of brakes and save brake pads. Commit to memory the traffic signals, bends, and intersections on the road. It will help you drive and use brakes smartly. Also, it is always good to lift your foot off the gas pedal when you see brake lights ahead.
Most of us underestimate the effectiveness of downshifting. It is a technique that decreases the use of brakes while driving on busy roads. Always downshift a gear or two before approaching steep hills or downward traffic. Downshifting is useful for both manual and automatic transmission vehicles. It offloads some of the brake's work to the engine and transmission. For this reason, experts recommend driving in low gear in hilly destinations.
7. Cool Down the Brakes
Last but not the least tip is to let the brakes cool down after pushing it to a heated situation. Always keep in mind how the braking system converts energy into heat and be aware when it is hottest. For instance, after driving down a steep and winding course and applying brakes in quick succession, you should know that the brake system would be piping hot.
After driving situations such as the one described, you should give your brakes a break immediately afterwards. Find an opportunity to cruise without braking, stopping, or slowing down. Cool air while driving fast reduces the heat in the braking system and will be friendlier to its wearable parts.
So clearly, it’s fair to say that your driving style impacts the health of your car’s braking system. Defensive driving and following these simple tips can increase the lifespan not only of your vehicle’s brake pads but the whole braking system as well. And come to think of it, it may not only be the life of the brake pads you’re saving but yours as well!
You may check out these articles on maintaining your car’s brake system and replacing worn brake pads for further reading and learning. And did you know that finding the best deals on automotive parts has now become a lot easier with Carpart.com.au? It’s an online platform for sellers to showcase their products worldwide. So if you’re a buyer looking for car brake pads or other car parts and accessories, don't waste any more time and head on to our website now!