Disc brakes can be easily maintained if you know what to look for
Take a look at our tips on how to keep your car running safely!
For many of us, car maintenance sounds like too much of a hard slog: What needs replacing? When? How? Is it expensive? As a result, we often ignore our responsibilities as a car owner…until it’s too late!
Take disc brakes, for example, they’re pretty important to safe driving. However, you might not think about protecting them until one day, when you put your foot on the brake pedal, nothing happens.
You’ll be lucky if you don’t hit something or someone, but the damage will already be done – brake discs and possibly calipers might need replacing, and that will be expensive.
As your mother has no doubt said, all of this could probably have been prevented if you’d paid more attention!
Look, Listen, Learn
Yes, the truth is, if you look at and listen to your car, it’ll tell you what it needs.Don’t worry, the team at Swansway Group isn’t asking you to try a bit of car whispering, we just want to pass on some advice that could save you a great deal of money (and possibly your life).
It’s all about noticing small changes when you’re driving. Every now and then, turn off Justin Bieber on the radio and tune into your car. Does the brake pedal vibrate or feel spongy when you press it? Perhaps the car pulls to one side whenever you apply the brakes. Is there any squeaking, rattling, clicking or grinding from the brakes when you use them?
All of these could be signs that your brakes need attention and you should take your car to a mechanic to get them checked out. Your car is probably just letting you know that its brake pads need replacing before its discs get damaged.
If done regularly – roughly every two years – brake disc and brake fluid replacement should help to keep your brakes in tip top condition without having to resort to the expense of new brake discs sooner than needed. In fact, we’ll happily check your brakes during a repair or service at any Swansway Group garage to see if anything needs doing.
A Bit Of Forward Thinking
In the meantime, you can do your bit to protect your car’s pads and discs from premature wear by not going mad with your brakes:
- Try not to brake suddenly from high speed, for example when approaching a motorway slip road. If you know you are going to have to slow down, take your foot off the accelerator well before the junction, giving your car a chance to reduce speed before applying the brakes
- Look for brake lights a few cars ahead when driving, and leave plenty of space between your car and the one in front. This way, you can try to anticipate braking points so you can take your foot off the gas rather than immediately jumping on the brake.
- Don’t overload your car. The heavier it is, the longer the braking time and greater the wear on the brake pads.
- Use low gears instead of brakes on downhill runs to keep your speed down.
Underuse of brakes can be just as bad as overuse. Like us all, cars soon stiffen up if left inactive. The rubbing action of the brake pads against the discs is usually enough to remove any residue that builds up but if your car is neglected for too long, rust could set in.
You Can’t Avoid The Inevitable
No matter how careful you are with your brakes, pads and discs will eventually wear down, so remember that when you do get them changed, this should be done in pairs. Unevenly worn pads will cause the car to pull to one side when braking, a bit like a dodgy supermarket trolley!
Like a good pair of jeans, brake parts take a while to wear in. When they are replaced, you’ll have to drive a bit more carefully for the first hundred miles or so until they are properly effective. Try going for a drive on a quiet motorway which will give you chance to do some hard braking without causing an accident.
On behalf of your car, and all other road users, the team at Swansway Group would like to thank you in advance for paying attention to your brakes. We’d also like to invite you to take advantage of our advice on all other aspects of car ownership: from repairs to sales, fuel saving tips to servicing, our advice comes free because we care about cars and their owners.