Your brakes are one of the key safety features on your car, so it's vital that you keep them in excellent working condition. Proper treatment and maintenance of your brakes also saves you money, since you won't need to replace or repair the components as often. The following tips can help you keep your brakes in safe working order for as long as possible.
Tip #1: Don't Drag Your Brakes
Avoid the temptation to inch forward when you are stuck in traffic or at a red light. Lifting your foot off the pedal slightly to roll forward puts unnecessary wear on both the brake pads and the rotors. This is because the pad drags across the rotors when your foot isn't fully removed from the brake pedal. Instead, stay at a stop until there is a considerable distance to move forward, such as a car length or more.
Tip #2: Avoid Fast Stops
While the ability to "stop on a dime" is a sign of optimum brake condition, doing so too often will just prematurely wear out the pads. Instead, keep an eye on traffic ahead of you so you can remove your foot from the gas and slow down long before you need to apply the brake pedal. You can also avoid hard stops by driving at lower speeds. There is no need to accelerate quickly if you will then have to hit the brakes just as quickly to slow down for the next stop light. Save the hard brakes for situations where there is no other choice.
Tip #3: Cool Your Heels
Overheated brakes can result in warped rotors. This will require replacement of the rotors. Warped rotors also cause pads to wear out more quickly, and they cause the car to feel like it is shaking when you come to a stop. Over-use of the brakes is what causes them to overheat. For example, if you had to ride your brakes coming down a steep incline or because you were driving too fast and braking too much in traffic. Overheating then leads to warping when the rotors and pads aren't allowed to cool properly. To avoid warping after over-using the brakes, drive around at low speeds for a few more minutes before parking the car. This way air will flow over your brake system and cool everything naturally.
If you have questions about your brakes or suspect a problem, contact a local brake repair shop like Buettner Tire & Auto to schedule an inspection as soon as possible.