Can Brakes Ever Lose Their Friction?

December 2, 2020 5:39 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Can brakes lose their grip? In a word: yes. While many of your car maintenance tasks in New Palestine, IN aim to reduce friction, your brakes are the one place you really need it. Brakes rely on friction to slow your car down and bring it to a stop—but if your brake pads are worn out, they won’t be able to produce the desired effect. This is called “brake fade,” and it’s a dangerous phenomenon. You need to be able to stop in a reasonable amount of time, or risk the safety of everyone on the road with you.

Here’s why and how to deal with brakes losing their grip in New Palestine, IN.

How brakes get their power

Brakes work by squeezing the brake pads against the brake rotors. The brake calipers clamp down on the rotors and tires, which generates friction. The more friction there is, the easier it is for your vehicle to stop. However, all this friction generates heat, which can wear out the brake pads quickly—especially if you’re not using the right type of brake pad for your needs.

Brake pads come in many different materials, ranging from non-metallic and semi-metallic to fully metallic and ceramic. Non-metallic pads have the shortest lifespan, but they’re gentler on rotors, while fully metallic pads are noisy and harsh on rotors—you’ll see them most often on race cars.

Brake fade and how to avoid it

Brake fade occurs when your brake pads no longer provide enough friction when pressed against the rotors. This happens naturally over time, but if you’re the type of person who slams on their brakes frequently, your brake pads will fade faster.

What’s worse is that this heavy braking can affect your brake fluid, too. Brake fluid is part of your hydraulic braking system, and when heat is generated, it can cause the fluid to boil. This renders the fluid much less effective. If you’ve boiled your brake fluid, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible.

You can recognize brake fade by feel: if you press on the brakes and they feel “spongy,” that means your brakes are very close to fading. If the pedal goes all the way to the floor, downshift, pump the brakes and look for a safe place to pull over.

The best way to avoid brake fade is to be conscientious about your braking habits. While slamming on the brakes hard can lead to brake fade, it can also happen when you’re towing heavy objects down a grade. Change to a lower gear; this allows the engine to rev higher and do most of the braking work for you.

If you’ve noticed signs of brake fade in your vehicle, make sure to visit your local mechanic right away. Brakes that have lost their grip are dangerous to you and everyone else on the road.

To get help with your brakes if they’re losing their grip, call Auto Air & Heating, Inc. in New Palestine, IN today.

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