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Have you been replacing your brake pads frequently, and you’re wondering why they aren’t lasting? You’re not alone. What you may not realize is that your own driving habits and maintenance practices might be the culprits. Understanding these mistakes and how to avoid them can save you money, improve braking performance, and enhance safety.

In this article, we will uncover ten common mistakes that can rapidly destroy your brake pads, helping you understand what you might be doing wrong.

Let’s get on with it.

Why Are My Brake Pads Wearing Out So Fast?

Frequent brake pad replacements can be frustrating and costly. Here are ten reasons behind rapid brake pad wear.

Braking Too Hard

This one might seem obvious, but aggressive braking puts excessive stress on your brake pads. Slamming on the brakes forcefully creates unnecessary friction, wearing down the pad material rapidly. This is especially common in stop-and-go traffic or during emergency stops.

Practice smooth, gradual braking. Anticipate stops and slowdown in advance to avoid abrupt stops. This not only extends the life of your brake pads but also enhances fuel efficiency and driving comfort.

Failure to Flush Brake Lines

Your brake system relies on hydraulic fluid to transfer pressure when you press the pedal. Over time, this fluid can become contaminated with moisture and debris, reducing its effectiveness and increasing brake pad wear. Contaminated brake fluid causes the brake system to work harder, accelerating pad deterioration.

To avoid this, regularly check and flush your brake fluid according to your manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure the brake fluid is clean and at the appropriate level.

Following Vehicles Too Closely

Tailgating not only increases the risk of collisions but also accelerates brake pad wear. When you follow vehicles too closely, you may need to brake more frequently and aggressively to avoid collisions. This constant braking generates excessive heat and wear on the brake pads.

So, try to maintain a safe following distance that allows you to react smoothly to traffic situations without slamming on the brakes. 

Failure to Use Lower Gears

Relying solely on the brakes to slow you down, especially on steep inclines, puts undue stress on the brake pads. Using higher gears when descending hills or driving in stop-and-go traffic forces the brakes to work harder to slow the vehicle. 

Lower gears can help control your vehicle’s speed, reducing the reliance on brakes. Use lower gears when driving downhill or in heavy traffic to utilize engine braking. This allows the engine to help slow the car, reducing the workload on the brakes and extending pad life.

Carrying Excess Weight

Do you often overload your vehicle? If so, it could be the reason behind your frequent brake pad replacements. The heavier your vehicle, the more force you will require to stop it, which places additional stress on the brake pads. 

Overloaded vehicles cause the brakes to work harder, generating more heat and wear. So, avoid carrying unnecessary weight in your vehicle and be mindful of your vehicle’s maximum load capacity as specified by the manufacturer.

Using Low-Quality Brake Pads 

While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest option, skimping on brake pads can lead to more expensive replacements in the long run. 

Low-quality brake pads use inferior materials that wear out faster and may not provide the same level of performance as high-quality pads. They may also generate more heat and debris, contributing to faster wear.

So, don’t choose the first brake pads you come across. Instead, invest in high-quality brake pads from reputable manufacturers in Kenya that match your vehicle’s specifications. Consult with a trusted mechanic or dealership for recommendations.

Driving at High Speeds 

Speeding not only endangers your life on the road but also accelerates brake pad wear. You need more force and friction to slow down or stop your vehicle at higher speeds. This increased demand on the brakes leads to higher temperatures and faster wear of the brake pads.

Practice safe speeds and avoid unnecessary high-speed driving, especially on unfamiliar roads. Doing so will safeguard both your life and the integrity of your brake pads. 

Ignoring Warning Signs 

Your car might be trying to tell you that your brakes need attention. Ignoring these early warning signs of brake wear can lead to more severe damage and faster pad deterioration. Common signs of worn brake pads that you should pay close attention to include: 

  • Squealing or grinding noises when braking: This could indicate worn-out pads or a problem with the rotors. Most modern brake pads have a built-in wear indicator that makes a high-pitched squeal when they are nearing the end of their lifespan.
  • Soft or spongy brake pedal: This can signify air in the brake lines or low fluid levels.
  • Increased stopping distance: This is a major red flag and suggests your brakes are not performing effectively. 
  • Vibrations in the brake pedal: This can be caused by warped brake rotors or uneven pad wear.
  • Vehicle pulling to one side when braking: This could indicate several issues, including uneven brake pad wear, a seized caliper, or a problem with the brake fluid.

Don’t ignore these signs. Schedule a prompt inspection if you notice any warning signs to address the issue and avoid brake failure.

Riding Brakes 

Riding brakes is when you place your foot partially on the brake pedal while driving downhill or in traffic. Constantly applying slight pressure to the brake pedal keeps the brake pads in contact with the rotors, generating continuous friction and heat. This habit can lead to premature wear and brake system damage.

To avoid this, use the brakes only when necessary. If you need to control your speed on a downhill slope, use lower gears and engine braking instead.

Neglecting Routine Inspections and Maintenance

When was the last time you scheduled brake inspection or maintenance? Routine inspections can identify issues before they become severe. This might involve checking pad thickness, identifying uneven wear patterns, or ensuring proper brake system functionality.

Neglecting regular brake servicing and inspection means problems like worn-out pads, low brake fluid, or damaged rotors may go unnoticed. This, in turn, leads to accelerated brake pad wear and potentially hazardous situations.

Schedule regular brake inspections as part of your vehicle’s maintenance routine to avoid costly repairs and prevent brake failure. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for brake pad replacement and other brake system components.

Ready to Extend the Lifespan of Your Brake Pads?

Maintaining your brake pads and ensuring their longevity requires a combination of good driving habits, regular maintenance, and using quality materials. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can extend the life of your brake pads, improve vehicle safety, and reduce overall maintenance costs. 

Remember, proactive care and attention to detail are essential in keeping your brake system in optimal condition. Contact us today to upgrade to quality brake pads and ensure a smoother, safer driving experience.