5 Tips for Getting More Miles out of your Brakes

Your car has a number of “normal wear” items: things like tires and belts… components that are designed to wear out over time.

One of the more familiar normal-wear items is the brakes. They’re designed to wear out as they create friction to slow your car. So, eventually, your car’s brakes will wear out and you’ll need to have them replaced. It’s part of owning a car.

But a brake job on today’s cars can be an expensive proposition. So it just makes good sense to reduce the brake wear, so they don’t have to be replaced any more often than necessary.

There are five simple things you can do to help get more miles out of your brakes, and, generally speaking, they don’t require a lot of effort.

  1. Slow down — The faster you drive, the harder your brakes have to work to stop the car. So driving slower will not only save you gas; it’ll also help you get more miles out of your brakes.
  2. Anticipate your stops — Look ahead; not just at the car in front of you, but farther down the road. See that traffic light? If it’s red, let off the gas a little and let your car start to coast. Keeping your foot on the gas only means you’ll have to apply the brakes harder when you reach the light, creating more friction and wearing your brakes faster.
  3. Pump the brake pedal — As you’re slowing down or coming to a stop, don’t just hold the brakes on. Pump the pedal, completely releasing it and then reapplying it. That allows the brakes to cool a little. That short cooling sequence can add miles to your brakes.
  4. Use your right foot for the brake and the gas — The situation seems logical: You have two feet and two pedals. But if you drive two-footed, you’re probably going to rest your left foot on the brake pedal… not much, but it doesn’t take much. Resting your foot on the brake pedal, even a tiny bit, prevents the brake fluid from releasing all the way. That tiny connection will cause the brakes to drag, burning them out in no time.
  5. Buy better brakes — Most brakes are available in a wide variety of materials, from simple organic pads to high-end ceramic. And, generally speaking, the more durable the material, the more it costs. So ask your shop technician to use a better grade of brake material; it’ll pay for itself many times over in extra miles.

Follow these five simple steps, and you’ll get more miles out of your brakes, and save money over the long haul.