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Driving Habits That Wreak Havoc On Your Brakes

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Since the brake system is one of the most important parts of your car, you need to do everything possible to keep it in a top-notch condition. This includes avoiding driving habits that may damage the brake system prematurely, habits such as these three:

Failing to Disengage the Parking Brakes Fully

It's easy to make this mistake, especially if you are driving a borrowed car or if you are a new driver.  In most cases, it happens when a driver applies the parking brake lightly, which means the engine brake can overcome it and move the wheels. If you do that, you can drive off without disengaging the parking brake when you come back to the car.

Unfortunately, this will overheat the parking brake, and the damage can range from minimal to catastrophic depending on your driving speed, how much the parking brake was applied, and how long you drove before disengaging the brake. You should always suspect that your parking brake hasn't been fully disengaged if the warning 'BRAKE' comes on, the car feels sluggish, or there is a burning smell in the car.

Overloading Your Car

When you apply brakes, they must generate enough friction to stop the wheels from turning and stop the car within the desired distance. The required friction depends both on your car's speed and weight, which means the more your car weighs the harder your brakes will need to work to stop the car. You should also know that brakes are designed to work within specified limits as far as weight is concerned. Therefore, if you are constantly overloading your car, you are overworking the brakes, and this increases their rate of wear and tear.

Riding the Brakes

The practice involves resting your hand on the front brake lever or foot on the rear brake lever. Many people do this to increase their response speed in an emergency, for example, if they are driving down hills. Although it only applies the lightest pressure on the brake, some damage still occurs if you do it for an extended period. Again, it increases the wear on the brakes; a better practice would be to shift to lower gear since that also makes it easy to stop in an emergency.

Hopefully, you will never have a serious problem with your brake system. If you do suspect a problem, however, consult a mechanic, like Buettner Tire & Auto, to diagnose and fix the issue before it becomes more serious or endanger lives on the highway.