Are Your Driving Habits Causing Premature Brake Wear?

Like tires, there’s no real standard on how long your brake pads should last; the average lifespan of brake pads can range anywhere from 25,000 to 65,000 miles. Why is there such a large range? It depends largely on two factors: the quality of the components, and perhaps even more importantly, your driving habits.

Many drivers don’t realize how their actions behind the wheel directly impact the amount of wear and tear their brakes receive. Fortunately, by having a better understanding of how your driving habits affect your brakes, you can adopt practices that will extend the life of your brakes and improve your safety on the road.

Late or Abrupt Stops

Consistently braking at the last minute or making sudden, hard stops can significantly shorten the lifespan of your brake pads. It also puts unnecessary strain on the entire braking system and generates excessive heat.

Higher than normal temperatures can cause the brake pad material to deteriorate faster and increases friction between the brake and rotor or drum. As a result, you can experience longer stopping distances and reduced braking performance. Excessive heat can also lead to a phenomenon known as “brake fade,” which is when the brake pad material loses its effectiveness temporarily.

To prevent these issues, it’s important to anticipate the flow of traffic, maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you, and coast to stops whenever possible. Avoiding speeding also helps prevent the need for abrupt stops.

Resting Your Left Foot on the Brake Pedal

If you have a habit of resting your left foot on the brake pedal as you drive, it can cause you to unintentionally engage the brakes. Even the slightest pressure can generate heat and cause premature brake pad wear. In addition, it can keep the brake lights activated which can be confusing to drivers behind you. Instead, it’s recommended to cover the brake pedal with your right foot so you’re ready to respond quickly when needed without inadvertently riding the brakes.

Excessive Braking While Driving Downhill

It’s essential to slow down while you’re driving downhill, but prolonged and excessive braking can cause your brake pads to overheat. To keep your brakes in good shape, it’s recommended to shift your car into a lower gear when going down extremely steep grades. This technique, known as engine braking, helps slow down the car without relying too much on the brakes.

Heavy Load Hauling

Whenever you’re carrying more weight in your car or towing a trailer, it makes your brakes work harder. Although it’s OK to carry heavy loads on occasion, frequent hauling requires specialized brake pads that are designed to handle heavy-duty tasks. Extra weight can make your brake pads wear out faster and make it harder to stop safely. If you need to carry extra cargo, consider using a rooftop cargo holder to keep it secure and balance the load front to rear. This will make it easier for your braking system to decelerate and come to a safe stop.

Neglected Brake Fluid Maintenance

If the brake fluid in your car is too low or dirty, it can cause issues with the master cylinder and brake lines. For this reason, it’s essential to change the brake fluid regularly, ideally once every few years. Low brake fluid can affect the performance of your anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control which will make your brakes work harder to stop your vehicle—and cause your brake pads to wear out faster. 

By being mindful of your driving habits, you can extend the lifespan of your brake pads and enhance the overall effectiveness of your braking system.

Get Reliable Brake Repair & Maintenance at Accurate Automotive Attention

At Accurate Automotive Attention, we take pride in offering comprehensive brake repair and maintenance services. With the distinction of being the only AAA Approved Auto Repair shop in Yuma and having earned the title “Yuma’s Best Auto Repair” for 20 consecutive years, we’re dedicated to providing exceptional service to keep your vehicle safe and well-maintained.

Our team of ASE-certified technicians has the expertise to diagnose and address any brake-related issues promptly and efficiently. Whether you need a brake pad replacement, brake fluid flush, or other brake system repairs, you can trust your vehicle is in expert hands. Contact us today!

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