The brake system is one of the most important safety features of any vehicle. This is why its maintenance should always be a priority.
The brake system is a vital part of any vehicle. It works by turning the kinetic energy of the car into heat, which will slow down or stop the vehicle. A statistic based in the U.S states that 300,000 accidents are caused by brake defects or failure each year. This is why it is crucial to maintain excellent brake conditions.
Within the many causes of brake failure, here is a list of a few of the most common problems affecting the brake system:
- Overheating of hydraulic (brake) fluid
The hydraulic fluid within the brake system works to transfer force to pressure and to intensify the braking force. When the fluid is constantly subjected to heat, the water within it begins to boil and create steam, causing a brake defect called “brake fade”. Brake fade is a lessened braking power meaning the vehicle will take longer than usual to come to a complete stop.
- Long-term usage without replacing brake pads and discs
Car part maintenance is essential to a well-functioning car. Within the braking system, brake pads and discs are constantly subjected to a large amount of friction. Over time, this friction will cause thinning of the discs and will reduce your ability to stop the vehicle.
- Driver neglect
Driver neglect is a common cause of brake damage. Instances of neglect include excessive braking going downhill as well as failure to replace vital parts. Braking going downhill will make the braking system wear out faster because everyone knows it’s harder to stop anything moving downhill. A car will be able to accelerate much faster thus putting more pressure on the braking system when slowing down.
How can I avoid and solve the problems listed above to keep my brakes in roadworthy condition?
The general answer to this is maintenance. Maintenance is vital for every part of a car every once in a while in order to allow the vehicle to perform in the best way possible. But, the specific solutions and precautions to take include:
- Less braking and longer periods between applying pressure on the braking system
Constantly putting the braking system to work can be very harmful. This is why you should avoid doing this as much as possible and let the brakes cool down especially after braking when moving at a high speed.
- Avoid putting full force on the braking system when possible (especially when moving downhill)
Braking for the most part should always be gradual. By gradually increasing force on the brakes, you could save a lot of money on replacements and repairs.
The Roadworthy requirements on brakes include the following:
- The brakes should have no visible wear or damage.
- The brake system should have no leaks and all components should function and be mounted properly
- Brake lining should be wear-free
- The vehicle must be able to come to a complete stop and maintain stationary condition downhill