3 Ways to Increase the Average Life of Your Brakes

May 4, 2022

The most important safety feature on your vehicle is your brakes. Because of this, it makes (dollars and) sense for you to get the most out of your brakes. We have outlined our top tips for increasing the life of your brakes. Read on to learn how to extend the average life of your brakes.

Every vehicle differs but, a good set of brakes and rotors will provide you with about 40,000 miles of trouble-free braking. If you fail to get them serviced regularly, brakes won’t last that long. They could also pose serious hazards for you or someone else.

Follow these tips to help you get the most mileage between brake service:

  1. Plan Ahead

Slow down well before the stop instead of stomping on the brakes just before the stop sign, traffic light or turn. Then the engine does some of the work, reducing wear and tear on your brakes. On the highway, lift your foot off the gas pedal as soon as you see brake lights ahead.

  1. Use the Right Braking Method

If headed downhill or over the pass on dry pavement, drive in lower gears. When you start to head back downhill, use your engine and transmission to slow the car down instead of the brakes. Shift to a lower gear before you start heading downhill, as this will help slow down the car without you having to ride the brakes – these recommendations come from the National Park Service.

By balancing engine braking and pumping your brakes, you allow your brake system to cool. Riding the brakes down a long hill generates friction (which creates the stopping power you need). It also creates heat as your brake pads are in constant contact with the rotor.

Don’t use this technique when you are driving downhill in icy or slick conditions. Start at the top of the hill as slowly as possible and double the distance you’d normally give between you and the driver ahead.

  1. Follow the Three-Second Rule

Simply leave 3 seconds worth of room between you and the vehicle you are following. Just watch the vehicle in front of you pass a road sign or other inanimate object on the side of the road and count out “One Massachusetts, Two Massachusetts, Three Massachusetts” before your vehicle passes that same object.

Save Your Brakes: Drive Smart

Brake pads, shoes, drums and brake rotors will eventually need service for regular wear and tear. Be sure to follow your owner’s manual guidelines. If you think something’s wrong with your brakes, or one of your dashboard brake indicators is lit up, don’t wait to get your brakes checked.

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