Brake pads must be periodically replaced as they wear down and lose their effectiveness at smoothly and quietly stopping a vehicle. Brake pads theoretically last up to 70,000 miles. However, poor driving habits reduce their lifespan and can make it so brake pads require replacement after only 25,000 miles.
You save money and improve the safety of your vehicle when you adopt driving habits that prolong brake pad lifespan. The following are six mistakes to avoid so that you don’t wear out your brake pads prematurely.
1. Failure to Flush Brake Lines
One of the most important maintenance tasks for your brake system is flushing your brake lines. Brake lines need to be flushed to prevent air bubbles from accumulating in the brake fluid. These air bubbles detract from brake effectiveness and prevent brake fluid from lubricating effectively to minimize mechanical wear.
You should have your mechanic flush your brake lines and change your brake fluids about once every two years.
2. Failure to Use Lower Gears
Vehicles naturally move more slowly in lower gears. You should take advantage of this to moderate your vehicle’s speed when moving downhill without using your brakes. Downshifting to slow your vehicle minimizes brake pad wear.
Drive in a lower gear when your vehicle has a tendency to speed up like when you’re traveling downhill. You can use gears for speed moderation in all manual transmission vehicles and some automatic transmission vehicles as well.
If you drive a manual vehicle, avoid going up above third gear when driving downhill. If you drive an automatic, you can also moderate speed through gear usage if your transmission includes first or second gear options. Many automatic transmission models offer lower gears in addition to drive that drivers can use to downshift.
3. Lack of Space between You and the Vehicle Ahead
Sudden braking is hard on the brake pads. Drivers who tailgate are more likely to slam on the brakes suddenly.
Drivers who keep enough distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them avoid braking suddenly and are less likely to experience premature brake pad wear.
Not only is driving far enough back from the vehicle ahead of you good for your brake pads, but it’s also safer and minimizes the occurrence of accidents.
4. High Speed Travel
If you drive with a heavy foot, chances are high that your brake pads wear out fast. Brake pads work much harder to bring a high speed vehicle to a stop than they do to stop a vehicle traveling slowly.
Get in the habit of driving more slowly to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your brake pads. Slower driving provides the added benefit of minimizing your chances of getting in a crash or having to pay a speeding ticket.
5. Use of Warped Rotors and Calipers
If components of your braking system need replaced like your rotors and calipers, your brake pads are going to wear out quickly. Have your rotors and calipers inspected if your brake pads are wearing out faster than normal and buy replacement parts if needed.
6. Excess Weight
The heavier your vehicle is, the more momentum it has when it’s moving and the more energy your brake system expends to stop it. Therefore, you should avoid driving with excess weight in your vehicle to prolong the life of your brake pads and the rest of your braking system.
Take heavy clutter out of your vehicle when you don’t need it. Also, detach any trailer you tow with your vehicle when it’s not in use.