How Brake Pads Work and How to Make Them Last Longer

Your brakes are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. They are essential in keeping your vehicle running smoothly and safe. There are many factors that determine how long your brake pads will last. It’s important to work with your local mechanic to ensure you are getting the right brake pads for your vehicle, driving habits and budget.

The lifespan of brake pads will vary from vehicle to vehicle, but on average brake pads should be replaced every 80,000 km.

brake-pads-1Stepping on the brake pedal is simple, but the braking system in your vehicle is made of many parts. These parts work together to create a physical force that stops your vehicle quickly. Core to your brake system are the brake pads. The brake pads make the contact and apply the pressure and friction that slow and stop your wheels.

The role of brake pads seems simple, but they are actually a very complex part. There are various types of brake pads on the market, each with their own unique characteristics and price. They do a hard and thankless job, it’s important to keep them lasting to their full lifespan. Here are 10 ways to keep your brake pads healthy.

Watch Your Speed – Stopping quickly while operating your vehicle at a high speed puts a lot of strain on your brake system. Coming to a stop from 105 km/h compared to 90 km/h will use about a third more energy, therefore causing that much more work for your brake pads. A car’s motion generates kinetic energy. The amount of energy a vehicle generates will vary based on its weight and speed. When a car stops the brake pads turn kinetic energy into heat, which the pads absorb. Less speed causes less energy and therefore less heat on your brake pads.

Don’t Use Your Left Foot – Remember in driving school, when you were told to only use one foot to drive? The same can said when it comes to protecting your brakes. Braking while accelerating is horrible for your brakes; keep your left away from the pedal. Also, tapping your brake is another way to have your brake pads wear quicker.

Embrace the Coast – Coasting your vehicle is amazingly good for your brake pads; the more you coast the less you need to brake. If you know you need to slow down or stop, try coasting beforehand. Remember, lower speeds cause less work for your brake system. In addition to helping your brakes, more coasting will save you some money at the pumps.

Know Your Routes – Take advantage of your knowledge of a roadway. Memorize the places on your drive where people generally slow down, upcoming hills and corners, lane changes, traffic lights and stop signs. It’s amazing how much less your vehicle will need to work when you take advantage of the knowledge you have about your drive.

Look Ahead – Look far enough ahead to see nearby traffic lights, slow traffic, hills and other things that will make your vehicle work harder and plan accordingly. Paying attention the things happening ahead of you will change your driving habits without you even noticing.

Monkey See. Monkey Do. – How many times do you tap your brakes just because the person of you does? Don’t copy other driver’s bad habits. Pay attention to the road and brake when you feel it’s needed. Again, look ahead and plan your drive.

Carry Less Weight – It’s basic science; the more your vehicle weighs the more energy it will take to stop it or slow it down. Don’t carry unnecessary loads in your vehicle. Also, we sometimes find that aftermarket parts can add a lot of weight yours vehicle (especially tires and wheels). A heavy vehicle will be harder to stop, put more wear on tires and cause your vehicle to burn more fuel.

Flush Your Brake Fluid – You need change your brake fluid periodically. Your local automotive repair centre will likely call it bleeding and flushing your brakes. Regularly flushing your brakes will ensure they operate properly and will keep the components of your brakes lasting longer. Your brake fluid attracts water and over time this water will cause problems for your brake system’s performance and will damage things such as your brake’s rubber seals.

Find The Right Brake Pads – Typically, bargain-priced brakes pads will not last as long as more expensive pads. A brake pad is a very complex item, with various materials and components.  It’s important to find the right pads that work for both your budget and your drive. A good auto parts store or mechanic will be able to provide various brake pad options. Heavy driving or extreme weather should also factor into your decision.

Get Work Done When Needed – Don’t delay getting your brakes maintained when it’s needed. Waiting too long will cause you to pay more eventually. When your brake pads wear and metal touches metal, bad things happen quickly. Also, the safety of yourself, your passengers and fellow drivers will be compromised. Save some money, have your brake pads’ thickness checked when your tires are rotated.

Your brakes are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. At Kingston Nissan, we service and repair brake systems for all makes and models. Our Brake Pads of Life Program provides the ultimate way to have your brake pads work for years to come. Have questions about your brake pads?  Contact our Kingston automotive repair centre and one of our experienced service team members will help you out. You can also book your brake maintenance appointment online.