When it comes to reducing auto repair costs, keeping up on routine maintenance is key. That goes for all parts of your vehicle, and especially the brakes; getting yourself to one of the country’s 701,100 auto mechanics for brake pad service before those pads get thinner than 1/8 of an inch will keep you from having to worry about much costlier brake repairs down the road. But there are also a few other things you can do to extend the lifespan of your brakes and ultimately cut down on repair and maintenance costs:
- Learn to Coast Properly
You shouldn’t be constantly alternating between the gas and brake pedals when driving. Plan ahead for red lights, turns and other reasons to slow down and allow yourself to coast to a stop/reduced speed, rather than slamming on the brakes.
- Keep Your Left Foot Still
If you brake with your left foot, it’s much easier to accidentally hit the gas and the brake at the same time. Remember what you learned in driver’s ed and use your right foot to operate both the gas and brake pedals.
- Flush Your Fluids Regularly
Modern braking systems are hydraulic, meaning they use fluid to transfer forces. If your brake fluid is low or contaminated — a problem a recent survey found in 18% of the inspected vehicles — your brakes won’t be able to function properly.
- Drive a Manual Transmission
So-called standard transmissions are no longer standard. Even on the used car market in the U.S., automatic transmissions outnumber manual ones 10 to 1. But if you’re really interested in saving your brakes, driving a manual transmission can help because you can slow the car by downshifting.
- Pay for Quality Brake Parts
There’s nothing wrong with frugality, but don’t cheap out when it comes to your brake repairs. Save money by looking around for seasonal brake service specials, and use that extra cash to invest in high-quality parts. You’ll have fewer overall brake repairs, so it’s worth it.
Can you think of any other ways to be easy on your brakes? Share your tips in the comments.