Keep Your Car Prepared

Hypermiling Techniques That Can Extend The Life Of Your Brakes

Some driver use a hypermiling process to increase their gas mileage, sometimes by a surprising amount. The same techniques used by hypermilers can also increase the life of your car's brakes. This helps you save money on both gas and brake repairs:

Watch Your Speed

Hypermilers know that speeding consumes gas, but it also can shorten the life of your brake pads. The higher your speed, the longer you must depress the brakes to slow down or come to a full stop. It's also more difficult to stop quickly, which can cause you to slam on the breaks.

Not only is this hard on your brakes, it also unnecessarily wastes fuel. For safety's sake, you don't want to go to extremes. Instead, drive no faster than speed limit, and lower your speed if traffic or weather conditions warrant it.

Learn to Coast

Coasting to a stop is another hypermiling trick. As the laws of motion dictate, an object in motion stays in motion, thus requiring less energy (in other words, gasoline) to maintain its speed. Coasting is also better for your brake pads when it's done wisely.

Keep an eye on the road ahead. If you see an upcoming traffic light, stop sign or brake lights, lift your foot off the gas pedal. If you give yourself enough room, you won't have to touch the brake pedal until the very last moment and you won't need to apply hard pressure to come to a full stop. Often, by coasting slowly to a stop you can skip the brakes entirely, since traffic will be moving again by that point.

Lightening up on the gas pedal will also help you preserve your brakes on a downward hill. Due to its weight, your car will likely pick up speed on its own. Don't make it pick up any more than necessary by having a lead foot. The less you use the gas on a downward slope, the less you will need to brake.

Avoid Unnecessary Stops

Stop and go traffic can be one of the worst offenders when it comes to the life of your brake pads. Seasoned hypermilers plan their routes to avoid unnecessary stops signs and lights. They also avoid driving when the traffic is at its heaviest. If you can alter your route or the times at which you drive, you will be rewarded with better gas mileage and longer brake life.

Another trick is to plan a route that doesn't have many left turns. A stop is more likely when turning left as opposed to right, so alter your route to get rid of any unnecessary lefts.

Lighten Your Load

A heavy car requires more braking power, and gas, than a lighter car. The best way to lighten your load is to opt for a smaller, lighter car as opposed to a heavy truck or SUV. Emptying the trunk is also a good option. Beyond a small bundle of safety equipment – tire changing equipment, blankets, and some water – your trunk and back seat should be kept empty. You car will stop more quickly and with less effort if you keep it as light as possible.

While good driving habits help save gas and extend the life of your breaks, you will still need to maintain your breaking system regularly. An annual brake inspection ensures repairs are made when they are needed, so small problems don't develop into larger problems or a safety issue.

To learn more, contact a company like Earl's Garage with any questions or concerns you have.