5 Bad Driving Habits That Could Spell Trouble For Your Brakes

Even the best drivers are guilty of indulging in a few bad habits from time to time. Unfortunately, these habits can take a toll on your vehicle by adding unnecessary stress and wear. For instance, some of these bad habits can make short work of your brake pads and add wear on other braking components, including the rotors, drums, and calipers.

Bad habits are made to be broken -- especially the ones listed below. Breaking these bad habits can save your brakes plenty of unneeded wear and tear and keep costly repairs to a minimum.


Following another vehicle too closely is more than just a bad habit -- it's also an extreme safety risk that places yourself and others in danger. Tailgating leaves you very little time to react to other vehicles ahead, making panic stops -- and the extreme wear and tear it puts on your brakes -- commonplace. You may even ride the brakes while tailgating in anticipation of a sudden stop.

For many drivers, tailgating is often the byproduct of inpatient or agitated driving. Instead of tailgating, take a deep breath and practice the 2-second rule. This useful rule adds an ample cushion between you and the driver ahead, giving you more time to react to sudden traffic changes and the opportunity to brake more efficiently.

Aggressive Stopping

Coming to an aggressive halt at every traffic light and stop sign can shave miles off your brakes' lifespan. However, it may be hard for heavy-footed drivers to cut this bad habit. This habit can also be hard to break if you're driving an unfamiliar car with a touchy brake pedal.

Instead of slamming the brakes at every stop, practice coming to a smooth, controlled stop that's devoid of any unnecessary harshness. This smooth approach not only saves your brakes plenty of wear and tear, but you may also see some fuel savings.

Riding the Brakes Downhill

When driving down a steep hill, the last thing you want to do is rely solely on your brakes. Keeping your foot on the brake pedal throughout a steep downhill grade not only causes severe brake pad wear, but the subsequent heat buildup can also lead to brake fade.  

Shift to a lower gear on steep downhill stretches instead of keeping your feet on the brake pedal. Shifting to a lower gear lets you use your engine's mechanical drag -- a technique known as "engine braking" -- instead of relying entirely on your brakes to slow down and maintain safe speeds. It also helps reduce brake wear and prevent fading.

Driving While Overloaded

Keeping your car full of unnecessary cargo can do more than give your suspension a serious workout. The added weight can also increase brake pad wear and place additional stress on other braking components. An overloaded vehicle can also take a serious hit in fuel economy due to the extra weight.

You can save your brakes the added wear and tear by clearing out as much unnecessary cargo from your car as possible.

Forgetting to Disengage the Parking Brake

If you're not used to using your car's parking brake, it can be easy to forget that it's engaged when you drive off. While your regular brakes are strong enough to overcome your engine and bring your car to a full stop even at full throttle, your parking brake is only strong enough to hold your car on an incline.

Driving with the parking brake on isn't just embarrassing, it can also cause severe brake wear and damage other suspension and wheel components in the process. It's a good idea to double check and make sure the parking brake is fully disengaged before setting off on your journey.

When you do find yourself needing break repair, reach out to a place like Furgersons Garage.