2 Bad Habits That Can Kill Your Brake Pads

Automotive Articles

As you run errands and shuttle your family around, the last thing you probably have time for is a trip to the auto repair shop to get your brakes fixed. Unfortunately, a few small decisions could wear out your brakes early, which could cost you. Here are two bad habits that can kill those brake pads, and what you can do to change your ways.

1: Left Foot Braking

Do you love your standard transmission car? As you push in that clutch and carefully choose those gears, it can make you feel like a racecar driver. However, when you transition to driving your family minivan after you get home from work, it might be hard for you to leave that left foot on your floor mat. To make driving a little more interesting, you might be tempted to use your left foot for braking.

Unfortunately, although left-foot braking might seem like a harmless practice, it can kill your brake pads. Because you might be used to pressing your clutch all the way to the floor, it can be easy to press that brake pedal a little more aggressively than you should. In addition to causing more than a few jerky stops, you might discover brake pads that run thin long before their time.

To give those brake pads a fighting chance, focus on learning to master those pedals with your right foot. Consider crossing your left foot behind your driving leg near the seat, so that you aren't tempted to use it. If you want to keep your left foot far away from that brake pedal, park it on the foot rest to the far left of the driver's side floor. Left foot braking can be a hard habit to break, but with a little persistence, you might be able to switch from car to car without any collateral damage.     

2: Extra Cargo

Have you ever stopped to think about how much extra cargo you haul around in your car? Although a few additional items might not seem like that big of a deal, the more weight you have in your car, the more force has to be applied to those brake pads to slow down your ride. In addition to wearing out your brakes faster, it can also kill your gas mileage. In fact, studies have shown that every additional 100 lbs. of cargo can decrease your gas mileage by one percent.

To make your brake pads last and to spend less on gas, take the time to clean out your car. Here are a few extra items that might be weighing down your ride:

  • Kid Equipment: How often do you actually use that huge double stroller that you constantly carry around in your trunk? Consider removing unused car seats, strollers, and extra diaper bags from your car, especially if you aren't hauling kids around that day.
  • Emergency Kits: Everyone likes to be prepared, but that giant battery charger and 72-hour kit might weigh a lot. If you are just buzzing around town, leave your emergency equipment at home, and toss it back into your car when you go on your next road trip.
  • Backpacks and Textbooks: If you are a student, you might take your backpack chock full of textbooks with you everywhere. After all, why not get a little studying in while you babysit your sister's kids? Unfortunately, heavy backpacks can weigh down your car. Consider taking advantage of the online version of your textbooks while you are out and about, so that you don't wear out your car.  

You might be surprised with how much junk you can pull out of your car when you really start thinking about what you need to carry around.   

Paying attention to your driving habits and how they could affect your brakes might help you to make those pads last, so you can do other things with your time and money. If you need to new brakes, though, contact a brake service immediately so you can get them safely fixed.


22 December 2014

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