Your vehicle's brakes will naturally break down over time due to the nature of their job. However, in order to save money and ensure that your brakes stay effective for as long as possible, there are a few simple maintenance and habitual things that you can do with your vehicle to extend their lifespan.
One of the simplest ways to reduce the amount of wear and tear that your brakes experience through regular driving is to travel at slower speeds. Having to constantly drop down from higher speeds causes much more wear on your brakes, and travelling at slower speeds allows you more time to coast and reduce your speed before you have to engage the brakes to come to a full stop. A small amount of saved friction at each red light and stop sign will build up over time.
Another simple thing that you can do to reduce the overall load that is placed on your brakes without changing any of your driving habits or spending any money at all is removing excess weight from your vehicle. Having luggage stored in the back, roof racks and bike racks attached, or even towing things around can increase the amount of momentum and weight that your brakes have to deal with. Removing these burdens and keeping them in your garage or home can help extend how long your brakes are able to last for.
You should make sure that your brake fluid is always clean and topped up. A good general rule of thumb is to have your brake fluid and lines inspected and flushed every two years, but you should check your vehicle's owner's manual for specific recommendations based on traveled distance. Inspections and flushing can help remove air and grime from the lines, which would otherwise reduce how well your brakes are able to engage and thus require more pressure—generating more wear—to slow down your vehicle.
Though this may seem minor, another important way to protect your brakes, and also the rest of your vehicle, is to have the underbody of your car cleaned thoroughly. This is extremely important if you live in a colder climate, as snow, slush, ice, and especially salt can build up on the exposed metal of your brakes and underbody, where it can cause rust to develop and spread throughout the metal components of your vehicle.
For more information, contact a brake service shop near you.