The brakes of your vehicle play a pivotal role in keeping you and your passengers safe when you're driving. Many people, however, make the mistake of ignoring the many signs that their brake pads are in need of replacement and continue to drive despite having reduced braking response. While it's important to visit an auto shop when your brakes are nearing the end of their useful life, you can take a series of steps to help the pads last as long as possible. Here are three practical changes that you can make when you're driving to extend the life of the brake pads.
Remember the Roads
It can be easy to daydream or listen to the radio while you travel, but it's advantageous to also note specific factors related to the roads you're driving on, especially if you travel on them often. By watching the positions of hills, sharp turns, and other landmarks, you'll be able to tailor your braking accordingly—and, in doing so, reduce unnecessary wear on your pads. For example, by remembering that a sharp corner is coming up, you can slowly begin to reduce your speed instead of waiting until the last minute and braking hard, which will wear down your brake pads unnecessarily.
Don't Carry What You Don't Need
The heavier your vehicle is, the harder you'll have to brake to reduce your speed based on traffic or road conditions. Think about what excess items you're carrying—particularly in your trunk—and evaluate what you can leave at home. Some drivers load their trunks with bulky children's strollers, sports gear, and other items that can combine to add considerable weight to your vehicle. By reducing what you don't need to carry on a day-by-day basis, you'll be putting less wear on your brake pads every time you step on the brake pedal.
Watch Down the Road
Motorists who make a habit of looking only a few feet in front of their bumper are often surprised with changing road conditions and, as a result, have to apply their brakes hard. You can avoid this situation by getting into the routine of watching well down the road. With this approach, you'll see traffic lights beginning to change and brake lights lighting up several car lengths ahead of you—and you'll then be able to coast to reduce your speed or simply brake lightly until you've reduced your speed or stopped.
If you need your brakes inspected or repaired, make an appointment at a service like Express Oil Change.