Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Interview with Michael: About Brakes, Part II

by Colette Cooley, Cars For Keeps Office Manager

Last week Michael told us about all the extra service he performs each time he installs brakes on a car. When asked what each of us can do to get the optimal performance from our brakes and make them last, this is his surprising answer.

“Worn out suspension – struts and shocks in the front play a major role. Most of the braking comes from the front brakes. When you have a hard stop the front of the car does a ‘nose dive’, causing the front brakes to do most of the work. Cars are set up now so that 75% to 80% of the pressure is on the front brakes and 25% on the rear brakes. So the front brakes wear out faster than the rear brakes, and a worn out suspension can cause warpage from heat build-up on the brake rotors.

Also, the way we use our brakes can make a difference in the longevity of our brakes. A ‘hard stop’ is when you press down hard on the brakes for a quick stop. A ‘soft stop’ is when you lightly apply pressure to the brakes for a longer, slower stop. ‘Soft stops’ cause less friction on the suspension and rotors and help the brakes and suspension have a longer life.”

In conclusion: Having a lead foot on the gas is not only bad for us at the gas station, but can also make the investment in new brakes come sooner than we would like.

Thanks to Michael for his expertise and helping us do what we do best at Cars For Keeps!


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