The Importance of Good Brakes

A lot of people don’t think about their car’s brakes because they usually work. When it comes to safety, nothing is more important on the road than good brakes. In general, a brake pad’s life is somewhere around 25,000 to 50,000 miles. Brake discs or rotors have an average life span of 50,000 to 80,000 miles. With these long lifespans, it’s no wonder drivers forget about maintaining and replacing them. After 50 years of auto repair in Omaha, we’ve seen our fair share of brakes that have gone well past their expiration.

Overuse Tips

One way to extend the life of your brakes is to treat them kindly. Having a heavy foot can decrease the life of your brakes by putting too much heat into the pads and rotors. If the heat does not have time to dissipate, you can warp the rotors. Instead of slamming on the brakes and stressing your system, slow down gradually. The best way to accomplish this is by keeping your eyes on the road ahead and watching traffic and approaching traffic lights.

Detecting Problems

The first indication that your brakes may have a problem often comes from feel. You may notice a vibration, that it takes more force to stop your car, or hear a high pitched noise when you’re braking. Your brake pads are typically the first part of the system to fail, and they’re designed to let you know. If you feel or hear something different, take your vehicle to a trusted auto mechanic and let them see if it’s your brakes.

Pay Attention to Your Load

If you have a larger vehicle, one that is designed for towing, you may be dealing with multiple braking systems. A common and very dangerous mistake is assuming that if one system isn’t working, that the rest will be able to accommodate the load. If you are only using half of your available brakes, then you’re putting way more stress on your equipment than it was designed for and can get into a total brake failure situation.

Maintenance Recommendations

Keeping up with the suggested maintenance schedule in your vehicle’s owner manual is a good strategy. If you have a hard time remember when things are due for maintenance, try using a vehicle maintenance app to remind you. A good rule of thumb is to visually inspect your brake pads for wear every 12,000 miles. Most manufacturers recommend replacement if there is 1/8 inch or less of the pad lining remaining or at 25,000 miles – whichever comes first. Make sure your service tech checks your brake fluid during your regularly scheduled oil changes. Dirty or contaminated fluid should be replaced.

Need New Brakes?

Jensen Service and Diagnostic has been changing Omaha drivers’ brakes since 1956. If you think you’re due for new brakes, stop by the shop, and we’ll let you know the condition of your brakes and when you might need to get them replaced.

Until next time, drive safe Omaha!

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