How Bad Brakes Can Actually Slow You Down

For those of us who love to drive, the development of traction controls actually seemed like an inconvenience. Driving an old car without those pesky driver assistance features, a driving enthusiast can feel freer and less constrained.  However, that was more of a feeling and less of a truth.  That’s why traction controls are here to stay, and that means that having bad brakes can actually slow you down. Here’s why.

Brakes Aren’t Just for Stopping Anymore

Brakes today are no longer just for stopping the car. That’s certainly how most drivers think of them, but that’s not the whole story.  Our traction controls use our brakes to improve our car’s handling.  These little braking incidents are regulating our speed to help the car take a turn or curve at speed. They are reducing the chances that our car will hydroplane or simply hit a wet spot and end up in a ditch.

While we are driving, there are several systems at work. Each one is using one or more brakes in an attempt to maintain the car’s stability.  What we feel is better handling. For those of us who are serious driving enthusiasts, the improvement in handling can add to our fun, even when we resent the occasional unnecessary interference from the traction system.  

All of this leads to the next point which is that if a brake is going bad, your traction and stability controls are handicapped. This means that soaring around the curve at 70 miles per hour in the rain just got dicier.  Instead of slowing the faster wheels to match the slower ones, the bad brakes can’t quite do the job.  

This may result in the kind of poor handling that takes the fun out of driving. Worse, it could see the car slide off into the ditch or, worse, into the path of a neighboring car.  

How to Avoid the Problem

It only follows that driving enthusiasts should pay even more attention to the health and capability of their brakes, given this truth about traction controls.  If we want the handling to be as good as the day we bought the car, then we’ve got to keep a strict eye on brake maintenance. 

Complete brake service really emphasizes maintenance.  We all know that replacing brake pads on time is key to avoiding damaging the mechanical brake parts. However, if we drive fast and furious, we are also taxing our brakes and wearing out those pads at a faster rate. This leads to a logical conclusion that driving enthusiasts need to be even more vigilant about getting their brake pads replaced.

Another element is the brake fluid that makes everything work well when it is new.  As it ages, brake fluid becomes more and more sluggish. It slowly fills up with tiny metal shavings and road dust.  So, that’s got to be replaced on time or even earlier for those of us who really burn up the road.

Driving enthusiasts should remember that it isn’t just their engine that needs to be in prime condition. Our brakes are incredibly important to the car’s handling.  Spending a bit more to keep our brakes in shape will pay off with more fun in the long run.  After all, the last thing we want to do when we hit the open road is to have anything slow us down.


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