Depending on the type of the car you are driving, your brakes might be one of greater regular expenses. This is especially so if you have a car with serious aftermarket brakes, such as the ones from Brembo, or a heavy and big luxurious car that eats through brake discs faster.
Here are some tips that will help you reduce the maintenance costs regarding brakes.
- Drive more slowly. As the speed increases your brakes will need far more energy to stop the car. For example, going 50 mph will require a certain amount of energy to stop the car. Going 60 mph, which is 20% faster than in the previous example, will require more than 30% more energy. And this disparity grows as the speed increases.
- Use your right foot for the brakes only. Using your left foot for braking is something that not many manual drivers will do, since they need it for the clutch. However, people who drive automatics do this very often. The problem happens when they unknowingly rest their left foot on the brake pedal not knowing that they actually press it a little. This means that you are braking and accelerating at the same time and this is a terrible thing for your brakes.
- Use engine braking. As you are approaching a place where you need to stop, rather than going under throttle as long as you can and then braking, you should let off the throttle a bit sooner and thus reduce the speed without using brakes. On more modern cars this also means that you will save fuel, since on most of them injectors stop sending fuel as soon as you lift the foot off the throttle and the car is still in gear.
- Keep your distance. This means you’ll be forced to brake far less often and with less force as you will have time to react and reduce the speed using engine braking and lower pressure.
- Go lightweight. This doesn’t mean you should remove rear seats and side panels, but shedding unnecessary weight means that your car is lighter and your brakes need less energy to keep things in check. Many people have roof cargo carriers in place even when they don’t need them, not to mention what lies in their boots. These add weight, increase fuel consumption and shorten the brakes’ lifespan.
However, there is no thing that will make your brakes last forever. Regular checkups, flushing and just general maintenance is the best way to make the best of your brakes.
Note: Many racing drivers often use their left foot to brake during races and many leftie brakes will use this as an example that this is OK. However, racing for a two hours usually renders their brakes useless. This is actually a perfect example of why you should NOT use your left foot for braking.