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Five Ways To Look After Your Car Brakes

Five Ways To Look After Your Car Brakes

Experienced drivers who routinely take the same route to and from the places they visit for work and play get to know the road they are on. The result is that they become familiar with the twists and turns and, hopefully as a result, their driving style becomes smoother with less braking and aggressive steering manoeuvres. This is a good thing: The trick though is to try to carry this skill over into all of our everyday driving. One benefit of this is that our car brakes will last longer. Here’s how:

Look For Signs

It’s easy to misjudge a corner or an ever-tightening bend in the road and the result is often unnecessary braking while in the manoeuvre. This often happens when people misperceive a bend in the road and instinctively apply the brakes. Often, this isn’t really necessary and braking within a corner can unsettle the car. It also means that the cars behind will also have to brake.

One solution is ensure when driving that you pay heed to road signs; they are there for a purpose. Thus, when a sign indicates a sharp bend, it pays to lift off the throttle in advance and prepare for whatever might happen on the road ahead. It may mean not having to brake at all.

Think Fluid

How brake (and clutch) fluid ages can make a difference to the stopping power. It makes sense then that brake fluid should be intermittently changed and the system flushed. The brakes themselves may be fine but the fluid can actually draw in water over time, reducing efficiency and advancing interior corrosion. In fact, manufacturers recommend changing the fluid every two years for absolute best effect. Obviously, fluid degradation varies from car to car but as general rule it’s worth doing bi-annually. Your local car servicing garage can do this relatively straightforward job, perhaps as part of routine maintenance. Any braking defects will be found out come MOT time anyway.

Look Further

As drivers we all know to keep our eyes on the road. That’s a given. The trick is not to be mesmerised by the car in front; look beyond it. Try to scan the road well ahead and watch for any unusual activity or sudden braking. Forewarned is forearmed. If the vehicle has traffic alerts built into the navigation, keep it switched on. This may help avoid any stop/start motoring.

Declutter The Car

Excess weight will mean the brakes have to work harder to slow a hefty load. A lightly loaded car will stop faster than a fully-laden one over a given distance. To maintain that stopping distance the driver will have to brake harder, increasing wear and tear.

Speed

This is something we hear a lot about and the message ‘speed kills’ is not one to be ignored. Nobody says that we should drive around like Mr Magoo; as mentioned smooth driving is beneficial. That said, it does pay to be aware of traffic conditions and slow down when it makes sense to do so. How many times have you been overtaken by a speed merchant, only to catch them at the next set of lights. Exactly. The Tortoise and The Hare story has a lot of merit. Driving well within your limits means fuel savings and less demand on the brakes.

Bonus Tip: Regular car servicing means safer driving. It may seem to put off maintenance for another day but when the brake pads are shot and metal rubs on metal you might end up having to buy new brake discs as well as pads. Good car brakes are clearly vital. Attend to them regularly and drive carefully, being mindful of road conditions.

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