Brakes are one of the most important parts of your car—without them, you wouldn’t be able to control your vehicle. As every Phoenix resident knows, the heat here can be unbearable, and normal wear on a Phoenix resident’s vehicle becomes accelerated by the intense heat. Are your brakes one of them?
Taking the Heat
Brakes work by converting kinetic energy (the forward motion of the car) into heat energy through friction. When you press down on the brake pedal, the brake pads clamp down on the rotor, causing it to slow its rotation. However, this also causes it to heat up, and extremely high temperatures can take a toll on the friction material (brake pad).
Fortunately, automotive designers know that brakes can get hot and take that heat into account when designing and building cars. Most brake pads are made of heat-resistant materials such as:
- Soft metals
- Semi-metallic composites
- Specialized glass
The hotter the ambient temperatures are, the more stress is placed on the brake components. They absolutely wear out faster because of the extreme temperatures.
Preserving Your Brakes
While extreme heat is a contributing factor to brake wear it is not the largest. Simply put, the largest factor that will cause brakes to wear out is overuse. The more you use your brakes, the sooner they will wear out. This means that if you adjust your driving habits to reduce hard or frequent braking, then you’ll be able to help extend the life of your brakes.
Some people “ride their brakes,” meaning that they leave their foot to rest on the brake pedal when it is not on the accelerator. Another tip is to coast along when you’re getting off the freeway or are on a straight stretch of the road. Rather than hitting the gas and then the brakes, you can simply slow down gradually. You can also remove unnecessary weight from your car; cleaning out your trunk can improve both brake life and fuel economy due to minimizing the load your car is carrying. On many vehicles, the rear brakes are automatically adjusted when the parking brake is applied. Because Phoenix is a very flat city, meaning we do not have a lot of steep inclines in which to park on, you are rarely required to apply your parking brake. It is good to do it on occasion, however, to aid in the extension of the life of your brakes.
Finally, be sure that you keep your brakes properly maintained with scheduled maintenance services. Get them checked every 10,000 miles, or whenever you start to notice a change in performance. At Sun Devil Auto, we ARE the brake experts! If you are concerned about the condition of your brakes, stop in for an inspection today. Of course, with each regularly scheduled maintenance service, such as an oil change, we perform a brake inspection on your vehicle. That’s a service you can trust!