How Safe Are Your Brakes?
A car that won’t start is inconvenient but a car that won’t stop is a much bigger problem
It is common knowledge that brakes are critical to driving safety. Without them you simply would not be able to stop efficiently. So, how can you tell if your brakes are safe? And what is safe enough?
On this page you will learn a few tips to help prevent braking problems or recognise them early on if they do occur. Whenever you are in doubt about your brakes, get your vehicle into the workshop so your mechanic can determine if they are working properly and safely.
Look After Your Brakes and They’ll Look After You!
The below list includes a number of indicators that might point to a less than optimal functioning of your brake system. If you recognise any of these signs in your vehicle, immediately contact Hendon Tyres for a thorough check-up.
- The dashboard wear indicator light is lit
- You can feel vibrations when you brake
- There’s a loud noise when you brake – either squealing or grinding
- The car pulls to one side when you are braking
- The brake pedal has a soft, springy, or spongy feel when depressed
- The brake pedal is hard to push down
- The brake fluid level is low. This could mean that the brake pads or discs are worn, or that there is a brake fluid leak
Tips & Tricks
How to Optimise Your Brake System:
- Always ensure that your brake fluid levels are correct (i.e. between ‘minimum’ and ‘maximum’). Brake fluid also attracts water and should be replaced every 2 years or 30,000 miles whichever occurs first.
- Get your brake pads and discs checked regularly, especially before long trips.
- When replacing your brake discs, always replace the brake pads as well to ensure optimal friction.
- When replacing your brake pads, always replace the wear indicators too.
- Always replace brake pads and discs on both sides of the vehicle.
- Always fit good quality brake pads and discs to avoid higher costs in the long run.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Brake Pads:
- Bed brakes in carefully. When new pads are replaced, the surface is not matched to the disc. So brake gently for approximately the first 100 miles.
- You don’t always have to use your brake to reduce speed. Try shifting to a lower gear or simply coasting to a halt.
- Anticipate: try to foresee where you will need to brake and gently reduce speed before then, avoiding hard braking.
- Driving as described above has the added advantage of lower fuel consumption – which is better for the environment, and your pocket!
How Do Brakes Work?
- When you press the brake pedal, the hydraulic system is activated
- The hydraulic unit then sends brake fluid through the brake hoses, and then into the caliper inducing pressure on the caliper piston
- The calipers squeeze the brake pads onto the brake discs, causing friction and slowing the vehicle down
Every part of the brake system is critical and can not function without the other.
What Makes A Good Brake Pad?
- The mix (or recipe) of the friction material should take into account the size, weight and top speed of your vehicle, and brake well at all speeds.
- The clips and springs which help hold the brake pad in the caliper.
- The bond between the back plate and friction material – the last thing you want is the friction material coming away from the back plate.
- The anti-noise features of the shims keep vibrations and noise down.
What Makes A Good Quality Brake Disc?
- The metal itself and the casting process – air pockets or poor quality metal could reduce the ability to create friction.
- The machining process, which shapes the disc correctly.
- A good ventilation system that allows the heat generated to dissipate.
It’s hardly surprising that 8 out of 10 best selling cars in Europe are equipped with Ferodo as Original Equipment. When your vehicle is fitted with Ferodo brake pads, you know you can rely on the highest levels of safety and brake performance, for every application you need.
- SHORTER STOPPING DISTANCES
- INCREASED DRIVING COMFORT
- OE-MATCHED NOISE CONTROL
- RANGE COVERS 98.5% OF ALL EUROPEAN CARS AND VANS
- SUPERIOR TESTING AND GLOBAL R&D