The brakes on your car are vital to your safety when driving, so you want to keep them in good repair. Brakes eventually wear down and need to have the pads replaced. The frequency that you need to have brakes replaced depends on several factors including if you do a lot of driving in the mountains or a congested city. Here are some tips for getting the longest life from your brakes:
Inspect And Service Brakes Regularly
Your brakes should be inspected every time your wheels are rotated or checked. This lets you know if the pads are wearing down so you can plan to have them replaced before they wear out completely. When the pads are worn out, metal parts rub on other metal parts and this causes expensive damage and makes your car unsafe to drive. You'll want to change the pads before you hear squealing or grinding noises when you hit the brakes. In addition to changing the pads when needed, you'll want your mechanic to change the brake fluid regularly so it can do its job properly.
Coast Before Braking
City driving is hard on your brakes. When you accelerate after stopping and then hit the brakes every few blocks, your brake pads wear down more quickly. Your brakes will last longer if you coast rather than break when it's possible. You'll need to watch the cars ahead of you to judge when you need to let off the gas and start coasting so you can avoid braking until necessary. There are several scenarios when driving where you can coast to a slow speed rather than hit the brakes hard at the last minute. Although you'll still need to hit your brakes to come to a full stop, it is easier on your brakes to stop when you're traveling at a slower rate than it is when you're driving faster because of the friction and heat produced on the pads.
Limit Heavy Hauling
Extra weight wears out your brakes faster. If you regularly haul a boat or camper, you'll need to replace your brakes more often. If you drive a pickup truck rather than a car, you may want to keep the bed empty most of the time rather than haul around heavy items needlessly. Also, storing heavy equipment in the trunk of your car might put extra wear on your brakes too. Plus, extra weight puts stress on other parts of your car and decreases your gas mileage, so limiting hauling to when it's absolutely necessary is usually a good idea.
Buying quality brake pads when it's time to replace them is a good practice too. Although they'll cost more than budget pads, the extra wear and safety they provide are worth it if you regularly haul heavy loads or drive on hilly roads.