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How to preserve the life of your brake pads

Technical Bulletins

Oct 23, 2016

The braking system is one of the main safety elements active in any vehicle. There are various components that make up an entire braking system but the two main components that cause friction are your brake discs and brake pads.

Regular servicing and the use of quality parts such as brake pads, brake fluid, brake cleaner and lubricant will certainly extend and preserve the lifespan of your brakes. A quality brake system will also enhance your safety and reduce the risk of accidents.

While brake wear is inevitable, how you use your brakes can increase the lifespan of your brakes. With careful use and avoiding excessive braking wear rates will reduce along with the number of costly repairs. Bendix recommends a few tips on how to preserve your brakes.

When to get your brakes checked, Maintenance and Replacement Brake pads will wear at a predictable rate under normal driving conditions, but under certain conditions like towing, this wear can be extreme. If you notice that your brakes are wearing at an abnormal or accelerated pace you should have your brakes checked for faults and avoid the risk of further damage to your braking system. Each time you depress the brake pedal friction is generated between the brake pads and disc rotors over time the materials wear and require replacement. Worn components can be identified in a number of ways; such as comparison to manufacturer’s specifications to built-in warning devices.

The Bendix Brake Wear Indicator is designed to make identifying worn brake pads easy. With a white wear line indicator printed on the side of Bendix brake pads you can see at a glance when you are due for a replacement. There’s also minimum thickness of the brake rotor which is indicated on the brake discs. It is important to remember that when the brake discs are replaced, the brake pads must also be changed.

Brake Fluid

Most brake fluids are hydroscopic, which means they absorb moisture, over time as the brakes heat and cool condensate can contaminate the fluid. Regular testing and flushing of the vehicle’s brake fluid during servicing will also help preserve brake components and minimise the risk of corrosion. Using a high quality brake fluid helps lubricate a vehicle’s brakes, making them function more effectively.

Avoid Riding Brakes Some drivers have the habit of riding their brakes, especially when driving down steep hills. The more pressure people place on their brakes, the quicker they wear down their brake pads. Rather than ride the brakes, vehicles with manual transmissions can shift down a gear, allowing the engine to slow the vehicle. Drivers can also release the accelerator when descending hills and apply brakes in short spurts to slow the vehicle down. This reduces friction and heat that causes wear and tear on brake pads.

Coasting The harder you brake, the more pressure and wear it puts on your brake pads. If you regularly decelerate quickly from high speeds then you could be putting a lot of unnecessary strain on your brakes. If you are driving on the motorway, try to indicate early and coast for a while to reduce your speed before you have to brake.

Drive within Speed Limit By driving within the speed limit, drivers can avoid having to stop suddenly for changing lights or to avoid other vehicles that cross their path. Slamming on brakes for sudden stops generates friction and heat on brake pads, causing them to wear down faster. People who drive within the speed limit will be able to slow down easier without putting a strain on their brakes. Careful driving is a plus when it comes to preserving a brake system’s lifespan.

Unload the car We are all guilty of leaving things in the car even though we don’t need them because we just can’t be bothered to unload them at the other end or find a permanent place for them to live. However, the heavier the car is, the more strain it puts on your brake pads. Regularly driving around with far more weight in the car than is necessary could dramatically reduce the lifespan of your brake pads. Simply by taking those unnecessary items out of the boot and finding them a permanent home could make a real difference. It may be a minor inconvenience to move them but it will pay off in the long run.

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