When your vehicle starts to squeal or grind as you press on the brakes, it's time for new brake pads. Once you get your new pads put on, your car is able to stop more efficiently and you have a safer vehicle for driving on all road conditions. Brake pads should be replaced every 25,000 to 70,000 miles, although many factors go into their overall longevity.
While you can expect to change your pads at least a few times throughout your vehicle ownership, the lifespan of your brake pads is largely dependent on how you handle and care for your vehicle. Here are tips to help you extend the life of your new brake pads, which in turn gives you a safer, more reliable car to drive.
Bleed Your Brakes Regularly
Bleeding your brakes is essential in keeping air out of your brake lines. When air gets in your brake lines you will notice — either every time you break or just occasionally — a delay in your brake’s response. Another example of the effect of air in your brake lines is when you have to press your brake pedal all the way down to get your brakes to respond.
If you notice your brakes go all the way to the floor or rumble when you try to stop, then there may be air in your lines. Your mechanic can bleed your brakes for you when you notice these symptoms or when you have your oil changed.
Drive at Slower Speeds
The faster you are going when you press on your brakes, the more friction you place on the pads, which causes the pads to wear out. If you are driving in an area where you need to brake frequently, then slow your speed by a few miles per hour to lessen the strain on your brakes when you use them.
When driving on the freeway or at higher speeds, use your cruise control. Of course, you should still pay close attention to the road even while using cruise control. Cruise control allows you go at one speed and use your brake and gas pedal less frequently, therefore lessening the wear and tear that using your brakes creates.
Another strategy you can use to preserve the life of your brake pads is by downshifting to slow down instead of using your brakes. You can use this strategy when you approach an intersection or an area with a lower speed limit.
In short, when you drive slower you create less friction, use your brakes less, and brake with less of a slamming force, therefore preserving your brake pads.
Replace or Turn Your Vehicle’s Rotors as Needed
Your brake pads are only as effective at slowing your car as the rotors they are attached to. Rotors usually outlast brake pads and need to be replaced less often, but in order to make them last, you need to have them turned or rotated as recommended by your mechanic.
If your brake rotors have holes or are scored deeply, have them replaced, even if your brake pads are in good condition. Your mechanic may recommend having your rotors replaced when you get new brake pads. This is sound advice because worn rotors can wear out new brake pads, which, in the long run, will cost you more money and cause your driving to be impaired.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, there are many other ways you can preserve your brake pads. For example, the way you drive and how often you have your car inspected can greatly affect the health and longevity of your brake pads.
Your mechanic should inspect your brakes fully when you take your car in for its regular maintenance and fluid checks. Our team of mechanics at Greg's Garage are able to address many of your car's issues. Contact us today to schedule your vehicle for maintenance or repair.