Brake pads can last anywhere from 15,000 to 80,000 miles. Their lifespan comes down to your personal driving habits and routine maintenance. Save yourself some money in repair costs by taking care of your brakes.
How Can I Make My Brakes Last Longer?
Between inspecting your brakes and rotors, practicing efficient driving, and maintaining the braking system, you can make your brakes last as long as possible. Extending the life of your brakes is as simple as following these tips and tricks whenever you can.
Inspect Your Brakes
Every year, have your mechanic check out your brake system. They will examine the life of the brake pads and rotors, flush the brake fluid and replace it, and remove any objects that can cause damage. Every month, check your brake fluid levels to make sure they aren't running low. Low levels can cause your brakes to work inefficiently.
If you catch your brake pads before they completely wear out and damage your rotors, you can save yourself some extra money at repair time. Listen for a loud metallic grinding noise and replace them right away. Follow your car's specific maintenance schedule to see exactly when to have any maintenance performed.
The faster you drive, the faster you have to come to a stop. Stopping a fast-moving car builds up a lot of extra heat on the brake pads, which causes them to wear down faster. This higher heat can cause the rotors to warp as well, leading to more brake system damage.
Defensive driving is when you anticipate any potential driving situations and react to them way before they happen. This can save your brakes by not having to slam them on at the last second, but by gradually slowing down ahead of time. Defensive driving helps avoid things like tailgating, which leads to a lot of quick braking.
Try Engine Braking
If you drive a manual transmission or have an automatic that has a mode that lets you change gears manually, you can take advantage of engine braking. Engine braking uses the transmission down-shifting gears to slow the vehicle down instead of completely relying on the brakes. This prevents brake wear when used regularly. You can't come to a full stop with engine braking, so don't rely on it completely.
Drive with One Foot
Some people get in the bad habit of driving with one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake pedal. This can lead to using the brakes and gas at the same time, which is a sure way to wear down both your brakes and rotors quickly. If you think you need to stop, use the cover braking technique instead.
Reduce Your Vehicle Weight
The more weight your vehicle has, the harder the brakes need to work to stop the car, causing more wear. Take anything you don't need to haul around out of your car. As a bonus, you'll even get better gas mileage.
Coast When You Can
Coasting is another great way to save your brakes. Coast as far as you can to slow down instead of using the brakes. For example, when you are exiting the highway, even coasting from 70 mph to 45 mph before using your brakes to slow down will significantly reduce wear.
Successfully Save Your Brakes
Put these tips and tricks into practice, and you could double the life of your brakes. Try signing up for an IDriveSafely.com driver's course to learn all of the driving techniques that help save your brakes and prepare you for anything else you could encounter while on the road.