How to Perform Car Brake Maintenance

January 8, 2020

How do you perform car brake maintenance?

  1. Consider your driving habits
  2. Pay attention to your dashboard lights
  3. Flush your brake fluid
  4. Follow your owner’s manual regarding scheduled maintenance


Car brake maintenance is an important process that every car owner needs to know. Without well-functioning brakes, you won’t be able to go places and worst of all, driving becomes dangerous. If you want to know some simple ways of extending the longevity of your brakes, continue reading because knowing how to do it is valuable for the long-term health of your car.


Consider your driving habits

A woman driving while her father is covering his eye in the passenger seat

Like with any other maintenance endeavor, the best way to preserve the life of your car bakes is by having good driving habits. Your driving habits will affect any part of your car, whether internal or external. It is also important to note that most of your efforts in maintaining your car’s brakes will be suboptimal if you have bad driving habits.

That being said, one of the biggest contributors to the wear and tear of car brakes are the sudden stops you make while on the road. Every time you make abrupt stops on the road, especially if you are driving fast, the parts of your car brakes like the brake pads and rotors succumb to wear and tear at an advanced rate. Think of your brakes as a resource that gets used up every time you use it. The more you use them, the more they will get worn out.

Think about how many times you hit your brakes while on your daily drive and try to reduce it by a margin of 5 fewer stops. While you might think this is insignificant, it can all add up over time. You can save up to hundreds or even thousands of stops annually just by being conscious of your driving habits and this will translate into better car brake performance and longevity. If you drive a truck or a heavy automobile, this becomes even more important.


Pay attention to your dashboard lights

Car dashboard

The next thing you should keep in mind when thinking about your brakes’ health is knowing when there might be an issue. Most, if not all, modern cars have a built-in system status check for your brakes and it is connected to the dashboard. When an issue arises, your dashboard’s “check brakes” indicator will light up. You should be mindful of this as it can be easy to miss due to the many other indicators and gauges that are present on your dashboard. Once this lights up, you should immediately bring it in for a proper check-up.


Flush your brake fluid

Brake fluid container

After taking stock of your driving habits and knowing the visible indicator of a brake issue, you are ready to do specific methods of car maintenance that will extend its life and improve performance. Flushing is essentially replacing your car’s brake fluid and using it to flush out the entire brake system. This is better done by professionals, but with the right tools and some dedication, you can also do it on your own. On top of the usual wrenches and screwdrivers, you are going to need a car jack, a siphoning device like a turkey baster, some new brake fluid (refer to your car’s manual to know which brake fluid is best used), and a helper.

To start, park your car on level ground and make sure it is stable. Open the hood and find the master cylinder or the brake fluid reservoir. Open it and siphon out the old brake fluid. You may not be able to remove every drop of brake fluid, but that is fine. Make sure it doesn’t drip on the car’s paint because it will leave a hard-to-clean mark. Fill the reservoir with new brake fluid. You should then jack up the side of the car furthest from the brake fluid reservoir. Ask your helper to hit the breaks 4 or 5 times. While the pedal is held down, open the brake lines on one of the wheels on the raised side using a wrench. The brake fluid will drip or ‘bleed’ out from the brake lines and you should let it happen until the new brake fluid comes out. However, you should make sure that the brake fluid level in the reservoir doesn’t go below the minimum mark to avoid letting air in. Top it up again, and do the same for all the wheels.

Once you have flushed your entire brake system, fill up the reservoir to complete the process. Flushing your brake fluid ensures that your car’s brake system is clean and that damage is not accrued. It might be tedious, but you can save money by doing it yourself.


Follow your owner’s manual regarding scheduled maintenance

A mechanic looking at a car's brakes

If you do not know where to start with brake maintenance, your owner’s manual will be your biggest ally. The owner’s manual will have a blueprint for maintaining every part of your car and your brakes are certainly no exception. It will also indicate when to change or flush brake fluids, and when to bring it in for inspection and general maintenance. Follow your owner’s manual above everything else for anything related to your car.


Key Takeaway

Your car’s brakes are one of it’s most important parts. By doing your own simple ways of car brake maintenance you not only ensure top performance from your car but you also guarantee your safety and the safety of the people around you while you drive.

For all your other car concerns, click here to read more from All Fast Cars.

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