Four Ways to Keep Your Brakes in Tip-Top Shape

Let’s face it. When it comes to safety on the road, your brakes are the most important part of your car. When cruising through traffic at high speeds, the idea of your brakes failing is a total nightmare. Fortunately, cars are built well to prevent this type of catastrophe. Still, even slightly damaged brakes can make driving a little less safe, and cost you money down the road. Here are a few ways to protect not only your brakes, but the passengers in your car as well.


Educate Yourself

Before you can properly care for your brakes, it’s important to understand how your particular brake system operates. Drum brakes, disc brakes, air brakes, power brakes, anti-lock brakes—things can get pretty complicated down there, and every car is slightly different. Learning the components that make up your brake system will help you to better understand what’s best for them and detect potential problems.


Regular Maintenance

Once you learn a little bit about your brakes, you’ll probably be able to understand what your mechanic is doing on those maintenance issues. You’ll know that regular maintenance is very important, from checking brake fluid levels, to checking for wear and tear, to flushing the lines every couple years. Detecting and preventing problems will save you from being cleaned out by exorbitant bills in the future.


Watch Out For Warning Signs

There are plenty of ways to tell that you might have an issue with your brakes. First, and most obvious, is the bright brake warning light on your dashboard becoming illuminated. Sometimes, you can feel a compromised brake system when the pedal gets excessively low or feels spongy, or become difficult to push down. You can also detect brake problems with your ears if they happen to squeal or grind. In fact, brake pads are actually designed to emit a warning sound when it’s time to replace them.


Change the Way You Drive

The lifespan of your brakes depends largely on how smooth (or rough) you drive your car. Slowing down gradually and avoiding constantly stopping and going will reduce the stress on your brakes. It may take some time to change your habits, but it will be well worth it. Driving smoother can even increase fuel efficiency, saving you money on gas.


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