Many drivers don’t fully appreciate the extent to which the way they drive affects their brakes. New brakes can be costly, so using them properly can make your existing ones last longer. It’s likely to take only a few small changes and you could see your brakes lasting many thousands of miles. With that in mind, we’ve come up with five tips on how to make brakes last longer.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to most drivers that the harder you brake, the more strain your brakes take. Braking hard from 65mph, for example, compels the brakes to dissipate around a third more energy than braking hard from 55mph – which means the brakes heat up more. This causes a lot of wear and will mean you get through brakes much quicker.
With that in mind, embrace coasting – particularly on the motorway. Indicate and change lanes early when you overtake and allow your speed to decrease by easing off the accelerator when you come onto a slip road.
Looking a little farther ahead every few seconds will help you correctly gauge your driving as you come to stoplights or hit a queue of traffic. Instead of slamming on the brakes as you reach the red light or the vehicle in front, regularly check what’s going on beyond the immediate surroundings. This will ease the pressure on your brakes and help them last longer.
Unloading some of the unnecessary items from your van can help reduce wear on your brakes. Commercial equipment can be heavy, so remove anything you don’t need for a job to lighten the pressure your brakes are under.
Also consider the weight of the van you choose. The overall vehicle weight is part of what causes brake pads to wear quickly, so bear in mind your maintenance budget and parts’ longevity when considering the size of van you purchase.
One of our top brake maintenance tips is to ensure your brake fluid is changed at regular intervals. This will usually be done at a service, but is particularly important when you do many miles or have purchased an older or used vehicle.
Flushing the brake fluid keeps internal components functioning properly, which means the brakes work better. Fully renewing brake fluid should be done every couple of years to maintain efficiency.
If your brake pads need changing, don’t just opt for the most expensive ones in the hope they’ll see you through for longer. Brake pads are complex and designed for specific uses, so if you’re an economical driver, choosing ones that are made for heavy use may not pay off. Chat to your mechanic about the way you drive to help them pick the best brake pads for you.