In this article:
1 The Secret to Make Your Brakes Last Much Longer
The vehicular brakes are crucial and elementary and perform a very vital safety feature that must function efficiently and dutifully. The Brakes are responsible for reducing the vehicle’s momentum and bringing the car to a stop, parking the car on a slope or slant surface, applying emergency braking to avoid collision or accidents, and reducing the speed of the vehicle on road during maneuvers.
The brakes in the vehicle are of two types – Disc and Drum brakes. These work in conjunction with ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) that prevent skidding during braking and retain steering control and reduce the overall distance required to bring the car to a complete halt. To learn more about the braking system in the vehicle consider reading this article http://blog.partsavatar.ca/2020/02/25/understand-your-brake-system/.
The brakes need to be kept in proper working condition in order for the best results when braking and to increase the chances of averting inadvertent situations. To maintain the brakes in pristine condition it is necessary to call out any signs of brake failure before they develop into bigger problems that require more expensive repairs.
2 What are the Signs of Brake Failure?
- Soft Pedal: If you require to push the brake pedal harder and farther than usual then there is an issue with the brakes which may be a result of a number of things such as a severely worn-out brake pad or shoe, a leak in the brake lines, failing master cylinder or brake booster, or air has been introduced in the brake lines which causes spongy responses on the pedal operation.
- Annoying Sounds from the Brakes: Many brakes have specific functionality in which once the brake pads are completely worn out, a metal disc comes in contact with the rotor causing a squealing noise due to metal on metal contact. Grinding noise is another sound that may emanate from the brakes mainly due to two reasons – there could be dirt, gravel, or rocks on the caliper or disc rotor causing grinding noises when brake pads come in contact. Second, the brake shoe, in drum brakes, may contact the metal surfaces like the backing plate causing similar noises due to rust inhibition.
- Vibrations while Braking: If the brake pedal, steering wheel, or the tires seem to wobble or vibrate when the brakes are applied then there may be a problem with the brake discs. This is evident from the uneven rotor surface for the effective brake pad engagement causing the vibrations across the vehicle. This may also be caused by improper lug nut (nuts that hold the tires to the wheel hub) installation, which is an easy fix, simply remove and reinstall the wheel with proper torque downed nuts in a star fashion. Another more severe cause could be faulty brake calipers which do not fully disengage causing passive gripping of the rotor and generating vibrations.
- Vehicle Pulling to One Side: The brakes are applied with even pressures to both corresponding wheels and the distribution of the braking force is equivalent. When the vehicle pulls to one side or causes uneven braking, it indicates that the brake pads may be worn out unevenly in adjacent wheels or that the brake cylinder for one of the wheels isn’t functioning properly due to a leak or pollutants in the brake line. Also, the brake caliper in either wheel gains extra pressure which may be due to leakage in the opposite wheel brake line or the brake caliper isn’t functioning properly which causes imbalanced braking operation.
- Pungent or Burning Smells: Burning or pungent smells may be a result of overuse of the brakes which push them to their limits causing extreme heat in the brake shoe or pads. This can be particularly dangerous since avoiding to stop and allowing time to vent and cool off the brakes can cause the brake fluid to heat up to its boiling point and result in complete brake failure.
- Brake and ABS Warning Light: Since modern vehicles are more electronically empowered, there are warning lights that can indicate potential failures of many systems in the dashboard. In case the brakes are worn out there is a brake light in the dashboard indicating potential brake failure. The ABS warning light can mean that the ABS system’s functioning is compromised which can be seriously disadvantageous to the vehicle even though the brakes may still be functioning. It is never advised to ignore these warning lights and you should inspect or have them looked at immediately.
3 How to Make Your Brakes Last Longer?
It is always easy to get a new set of brake parts assembly in order to get the best working results from the brake system but this can be less economical and hard on your wallet, but instead taking a few measures to limit the brake wear and increase the overall life of the brake system can help reduce repair and replacement costs and save you big bucks.
There are two ways you can make the brakes last longer, one way is to exercise cautionary operations and the other is to employ upgraded gear that can help reduce brake pad wear. The efficient operation techniques are:
- Carry Light: The more the load in the vehicle, the more energy is required to stop the vehicle and hence causes the brake pads and shoes to work a little harder to stop the vehicle. If you remove unnecessary things in your vehicle that are unneeded then you can reduce the wear experienced by the brakes.
- Coasting: It means allowing the vehicle to come to a natural stop without the use of brakes. This is advised only in heavy traffic situations while maintaining considerable distance from the vehicle ahead. What this does is limit the use of brakes in short distances and slow speeds, where the force of nature can do the task of stopping the vehicle itself.
- Using Single Foot to Brake or Gas: Braking and accelerating at the same time is probably the worst thing to incur on the brakes since it prematurely wears out the brakes as they do not serve any purpose and are simply rubbing against a moving rotor or drum causing enormous wear on the pad or shoes.
- Avoiding High-Speed Braking: Speed is the enemy of brakes. Avoiding sudden brakes from high speeds can reduce excessive brake wear. Make sure to be in a position where there is ample time to brake efficiently and effectively or simply avoid aggressive driving where sudden braking is eminent.
Now, for the upgrades, you can do to forget about frequent brake pad and brake shoe replacements and save you more in the long run.
- Replacing Brake Fluid: The brake fluid has a tendency to produce moisture when heated to its boiling point due to excessive brake engagement that generates a lot of heat. This moisture can be the downfall of your brake system since it can cause rust on various brake parts like the brake lines. Hence it is imperative to replace the brake fluid every two years to discourage corrosion and prolong brake system life.
- Larger Brake Rotors: An increase in diameter of the discs means there is more surface area for heat dissipation and hence reduces brake pad cooking or wear.
- Vented Rotors: Factory rotors may sometimes come solidly which isn’t a good heat insulator due to less mass but having vents in the rotors can encourage better heat dissipation which will ultimately reduce the wear endured by the brake pads.
- Brake Pad Selection: Perhaps the effective and cost-saving method would be to employ a brake pad more suited to your driving condition. The type of material used is key to selecting the brake pads, there are metallic, semi-metallic, composite or organic, and ceramic brake pads. The price increases as we go from metallic to ceramic but the wear reduces and life span increases. For maximum lifespan, ceramic is the one to go for but for cost-effective results with good performance, semi-metallic is ideal.