Brakes are a crucial car component to encourage safe, functional driving. While a new set of brake pads can last for up to 70,000 miles before they need to be replaced, there are a few habits that can shorten that life span and increase your auto maintenance expenses. Keep the following tips in mind next time you’re behind the wheel to get the most out of your brakes.

How to Keep Your Brakes in Good Condition

1. Slow Down

High-speed travel is the leading cause of premature brake pad wear, and slowing down by just a few miles per hour can significantly extend the system's life span. Trying to stop when driving at a higher speed requires a longer braking time, which adds more strain to the components. The faster you’re going, the more padding material is lost as your vehicle slows. This is because more heat is generated between the pads, rotors, and wheels due to the increased friction. Reducing your speed can also minimize auto maintenance costs because you won't have to replace or repair heat-damaged parts as frequently.

2. Only Use One Foot

auto maintenance

Only drivers of cars equipped with manual transmissions should use two feet. If you’ve ever noticed a car where its brake lights were illuminated while accelerating, it was likely due to the driver using two feet and depressing the brake and gas pedals at the same time.

Some motorists argue that this improves their response times. However, it will accelerate brake deterioration, causing premature wear and warping the rotors. This method of driving is also dangerous since drivers in an accident or a risky situation may inadvertently press the wrong pedal.

3. Coast to a Stop

Coasting is a technique in which you take your foot off the gas pedal and allow your vehicle to slow naturally through friction and the transmission’s resistance to free motion. It reduces the bulk of the wear and tear normally experienced by brakes, helping to preserve them for longer.

Successfully coasting requires the driver to pay close attention to traffic, particularly the vehicles ahead of them. If timed correctly, you can cut most of your speed by using this method, and you can brake gently to come to a stop.


Supplement your good braking habits with regular auto maintenance from the experts at Mattie's Service Center in Milford, CT. This team of ASE®-certified mechanics has over 50 years of combined experience providing routine and emergency maintenance and repairs to drivers throughout New Haven and the surrounding areas. They can handle everything from transmission and brake services to engine tuneups and oil changes. Call (203) 877-3701 or 203-877-3788 to schedule an appointment, or visit the website for more on how they can keep your car in top condition.