- Car Care & Maintenance
How to Use Your Car Brakes
Braking is an essential movement when you are a driver, it is the second most important thing after accelerate and it is essential to avoid accidents every day. It is also one of the most used movements in traffic jams, when you are in stop and go situations.
I decided to write this hub to help you and me, I am a driver and I try to maintain an equilibrium between driving well, having a reasonable gas consumption and to spare the car from needing to visit a garage and paying for new brake pads.
I decided to make this hub about braking since I hope it can help other drivers to spare the braking mechanisms from outwear, the most common spending on brakes are the braking pads that are naturally used every time you drive and it is very important to have them in a good state to avoid worse problems.
Braking in a long descent
In long descents you should use your engine to slow your car speed, that way you will use less your car brakes. In order to do so you should shift the gear to a lower one, not allowing the car to speed as you go down. In automatic cars this can be harder to achieve, but depending on the type of transmission you have you can influence so it the engine will be in higher rpm.
When necessary you can also brake harder so you are not always using the brake, but this is not necessarily good since braking harder tears your brakes faster.
The danger of pressing the brake pedal for long time is overheating the brake discs, which can lead to the pads to an overheated condition that disables it. If such a thing happens you are risking the brakes in a way that you end up without the possibility to brake, since they can stop working.
This is a situation that can mainly happen in trucks, but cars are also subject to this happening.
- Driving an Automatic Car
Driving an automatic transmission car is quite easy. If you know how to drive a manual transmission car, driving an automatic can be strange at first but easier to drive after some time. It is almost like a computer game, you press to go forward, and
The engine braking
Engine braking is normally used in manual cars, since you can change gears whenever you want and you can choose at what gear you should be driving.
In automatic transmission cars you can choose a different mode that may allow you or not to drive in lower gears, but it is not as easy as in manual transmission cars.
If you want to brake with the engine you should go with the gear lower than the normal, but you should also be careful and do not shift two gears down or drive with too high rotations. Driving with the RPM on the red line can also be dangerous and you are risking your engine.
Braking and Turning
If you can see a curve and you are going to drive trough the curve, be careful when you brake, it is recommended that you brake before you reach the curve, not braking only when you are turning can benefit the traction, specially on icy roads.
When you brake, the car will lean forward, that is explained by physics, that is why there are seat-belts, when you brake hard, you will lean forward and seat-belts avoid you from crashing against the windshield.
In a curve, the car is turning, leaning to the side, so if you brake while leaning, the car can easily lose traction since one of the front wheels will have more pressure on it and the opposite wheel will be loose, helping less in maintaining the car correctly supported in the four wheels.
Braking fast - Emergency situations
If you really need to brake for whatever reason, a moose may appear in front of you or a child chasing a ball, you will need to act fast and brake!
When something like that happens and you have to brake suddenly, you should not care about the future cost of replacing the braking pads or discs, just hit the brake pedal hard and maintain it pressed, even if you feel something, it is probably the ABS avoiding you to skid. If your car does not have ABS you should be careful when braking hard, or else your car can skid and you may end on the other side of the road.
Braking fast can be rare but it is very important that in these situations your car is in good conditions, having the braking pads too consumed can lead to a longer distance when braking and the distance can be the difference between crashing and right in front of the problem.