Your Brakes and Warm Weather

May 4, 2021 6:27 am Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s spring in the Midwest, so temperatures in New Palestine, IN are rising. More pleasant weather can provide more opportunities to spend time outdoors. But as it gets hotter, the warm weather can have an effect on your car’s brakes.

It’s possible you haven’t ever thought about how your brakes might fare in the summer heat—until now. Having an awareness of how the heat can affect your brakes can help keep you and your family safe. Here’s how your brakes work, how they are affected by warm weather and what you can do about it.

How your brakes work

When you push down the brake pedal in your car, brake fluid flows through the brake lines to the calipers, which use hydraulic pressure to squeeze against the rotors. This process causes the vehicle to slow down and eventually stop. When your car brakes, a large amount of friction is generated, and this creates heat. That heat needs to be able to escape in order for your brakes to retain their ability to function. Too much heat for any metallic system, introduced either internally or externally, can lead to problems.

Overheated master cylinder bores

The summer heat can contribute to your car’s brake fluid failing to function correctly. This is the result of a trickle-down effect. It begins when sweltering warm weather heats up your master cylinder, because there’s too much heat under the hood and nowhere for it to go. The bores of an overheated master cylinder, which transport brake fluid, may expand. This expansion permits brake fluid to circumvent the now-loosened seals in the bores. If brake fluid is leaking around various seals in the system, this can cause your brakes to feel soft, and less powerful. This phenomenon is known as brake fade.

Brake fade

Typically, if there’s any excess heat within your braking system, it freely dissipates through vents in the rotors. In warm weather, though, your brakes are subject to external heat in addition to the heat created when you brake. Over time, this process can cause the braking components to become overheated. When that happens, their performance can suffer, and if left unchecked, they may fail entirely.

What can you do?

All of these scenarios are less than ideal. But luckily, there’s action you can take to prevent your brakes and their various components from overheating and failing. As far as day-to-day tips go, you should avoid storing your car outside in the blazing summer sun if possible, and you shouldn’t be routinely slamming on the brakes, as applying them forcefully can wear them out faster.

Depending on the climate in which you live, the type of vehicle you have and how you drive, you could look into upgrading your brake components, or getting brake pads made from special materials like ceramic, organic or semi-metallic. But the best thing to do is keep up with preventative maintenance.

Schedule a brake check today

Now, before the weather is sizzling, is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with us at Auto Air & Heating, Inc. in New Palestine, IN. We’ll ensure that your brakes are in top shape to withstand the warm weather so you and your family can be safe when you travel this summer.

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