Safe operation of a vehicle requires both the driver's full attention, as well as a flawless brake system that can react to sudden stops. Sometimes the brakes may indicate a need for repairs, and although the system may react efficiently enough, this should never be taken for granted. There are some parts that will need to be replaced occasionally, and although they are expensive, they cannot be ignored. However, there are some techniques that can prevent the unnecessary wear and tear of these braking components
Extreme driving conditions can have a big impact on the reliability of the braking system. For instance, extremely cold weather can cause some of the components to "lock up," which will eventually cause premature wear and tear if the parts are not allowed to reach a warmer temperature before attempting to use the brakes. This is a good general rule for overall maintenance of the car because the metal parts of the vehicle cannot work efficiently in extremely cold temperatures. While most cars will need a maintenance check only once every 15,000 miles, vehicle owners that drive in extreme conditions should have their brakes checked more often.
Friction materials, such as the brake pads, are a component of the brake system that will eventually need to be replaced. However, under ideal conditions this is only necessary every 50,000 miles, or longer. "Riding" the brakes is a habit that could easily shorten the lifespan of the brake pads. A driver "rides" the brake when they keep their foot depressed on the pedal, even when they do not need to use the brakes. This causes unnecessary wear on the pads because anytime the foot is depressed on the brake pedal, the pads are rubbing against the rotors. Additionally, downshifting on steep hills can prevent unnecessary wear because the engine shares some of the work of the braking system. However, since safety is always a driver's prime concern, downshifting is only advisable if the terrain is generally safe; and never in rain, snow or ice, where this technique could cause skidding.
The brakes on heavier vehicles that frequently carry large loads tend to need extra maintenance to ensure that the braking system is working effectively. When additional weight is added to a car, it becomes more difficult for the car to stop because the added weight creates more momentum. In fact, carrying any unnecessary weight in the car can have an effect on how quickly the pads will need to be replaced.
Many drivers have habits that can become costly, especially if these habits cause premature wear and tear within the braking system. Some of the most common brake repairs are unavoidable, however, certain driving habits can impact the frequency of the repair. Expensive brake repairs can be avoided by both maintaining the vehicle, and by avoiding certain driving situations and habits.