One way or another, we all have routines in our lives. For example, on the way to and from work we might routinely take the same roads, day in, day out. As with all routines, we just get used to it. Thus we come to learn all the twists and turns and, hopefully as a result, our driving becomes smoother. This awareness often means less braking and a more diligent use of the throttle. This is a good thing but the real trick is to carry this skill over into all of our driving which, among other benefits, will mean less wear and tear on the brakes.
Make Servicing Essential
Even in difficult times we all really know that correct car servicing annually (it’s part of our driving routine after all) makes a real difference. Cars just perform better. Part of that servicing schedule will include brake fluid. It’s something we tend to overlook. Did you know that brake (and clutch) fluid ages over time and this can make a difference to the stopping power.
It makes sense then that brake fluid should be regularly changed and the system flushed. The brakes themselves may be fine but the fluid can actually draw in water over time, reducing efficiency and advancing interior corrosion. In fact, manufacturers recommend changing the fluid every two years for absolute best effect. Obviously, fluid degradation varies from car to car but as general rule it’s worth doing bi-annually. Your local car servicing professionals with the proper equipment can do this relatively straightforward job, perhaps as part of routine maintenance.
How You Drive
On unfamiliar roads it is easy to misjudge a corner or an ever-tightening bend. The result is often unnecessary braking while in the manoeuvre, which is not ideal. Sometimes a driver can misperceive a bend and instinctively apply the brakes. Often, this isn’t really necessary and braking within a corner can unsettle the car which is why it is best to lift off well in advance to take the bend smoothly. So get your braking done early. Remember, it also means that the cars behind will also have to brake and they’ll hate you for it!
The clues are there: Road signs are there for a purpose and there’s plenty of them. Thus, when a sign indicates a sharp bend coming up, that is the time to prepare for whatever might happen on the road ahead. It may mean not having to brake at all.
As drivers we are taught to keep our eyes on the road and avoid distractions. That’s a given. The trick then is not to be mesmerised by the car in front; try looking beyond it. Scan the road well ahead and watch for any unusual activity or sudden braking. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. If your vehicle has traffic alerts built into the navigation, keep it switched on. This may help avoid any stop/start motoring and, as a bonus, mean less use of the brakes.
Cars are heavy and all that weight has to be brought to a halt. Therefore any excess weight on board means the brakes have to work that much harder to slow that hefty load. A lighter car will stop faster than a heavy one over a given distance. To maintain that stopping distance the driver will have to brake harder, increasing wear and tear.
Experienced drivers sometimes moan about all the rules and regulations beyond counting that we have to abide by. For the most part though they are well-meaning. The message ‘speed kills’ is not one to be ignored. Nobody says that we should creep timidly about as it is essential to maintain road speed in traffic, but it does make sense to drive smoothly. Be aware of traffic conditions and slow down when it makes sense to do so. How many times have you been overtaken by mad motorist, only to catch them at the next set of lights? Exactly. Driving well within your limits means fuel savings and less demand on the brakes.
Regular car servicing and driving standards both mean safer driving. Don’t wait until the brake pads are shot and metal rubbing on metal is the soundtrack. This will mean having to buy new brake discs as well as pads. Good brakes are clearly vital. Attend to them regularly and drive to save wear and tear. They’ll last longer that way.