Vehicle brakes do not last forever because they are always in use. You should get them checked and replaced if necessary before they wear out. But since there are front and rear brakes, it is natural to ask how to tell if you need front or rear brakes.
Drive your car with windows rolled down and then brake normally. Then drive again but use the emergency brake this time. If you hear noise when using the regular brake, the issue is with the front brakes. But if you hear it when pressing the emergency brake, you know the problem is in the rear brakes.
Since brakes are a vital part of any vehicle, it is essential to ensure they are safe to drive with. Today, I have discussed the most important things you need to know regarding brakes.
Front And Rear Brakes: What Are The Differences?
The question appears funny because we all know that the difference between these two types of brakes is that the front brakes go with the front wheels and the rear ones go with the rear or back wheels. But that is not all that makes them different.
The significant difference between these brakes is their way of receiving force distribution and stopping the vehicle. The master cylinder delivers a clamping force as soon as you press the brake pedal, and the front brakes receive most of it.
And even though the rear brakes receive less fraction and weight, they are equally important for the entire brake system. These brakes help provide more stability and keep the braking system balanced. The rear brakes have comparatively smaller parts than the front ones.
How To Tell If You Need Front Or Rear Brakes?
Many people get confused between the front and rear brake troubleshooting because they sort of show similar signs. Unless you are a pro, you cannot spot the difference immediately. Here is how experts test to find out which brake needs replacement.
Step 1: Drive The Car With Windows Rolled Down
You cannot find which brake you need without starting and driving your car. Roll down the window when you drive. Otherwise, it will be tough to do what you need to do in the following steps.
You do not need to drive on an open highway to test the brakes. So it is best if you drive somewhere quieter.
Step 2: Brake Normally & Listen For Noise
Drive for some time and then brake normally. You need to find the pressure in the brake pedal because that is where the noise usually happens. Now pay attention to it when using the brake, and check if you can hear any noise.
Step 3: Drive Again
Now repeat the first step where you drive the vehicle with the windows rolled down. I believe you do not need to roll down the windows a second time, but let’s make sure we are clear.
Step 4: Use Emergency Brake & Listen For Noise
This time, instead of using the regular brake, pull the emergency brake handle. Make sure the brake handle does not have its lock on when you try this step. Again, listen for any noise coming from the vehicle when using the brake.
Step 5: Your Finding
Now, did you hear the noise? Was it when you used the regular brake pedal or the emergency brake?
The answers to these questions will tell you which brake you need for your vehicle. If you heard a noise the first time, the problem is with the front brakes. On the other hand, if you heard the noise when using the emergency brake, the issue is with the rear brakes.
- Drive closer to buildings because it will help amplify the noise, and you will be able to hear more clearly.
- If you are having trouble driving and listening, have someone drive the car for you while you keep your head out of the window to listen better.
- You can also use this to verify whether your front or rear rotor/drum is causing the steering wheel to shake.
Tips To Maintain Car Brakes
Car brakes go through many things, such as continuous usage, weight pressure, high temperature, and many more. As a result, the brakes give up at one point. Though you cannot prevent brakes from wearing out forever, there are still ways to make them last longer.
So what should you do to ensure longer durability for your car brakes? Here are some tips that you can use to maintain the brakes.
- Do Not Over-Speed
Speeding is the braking system’s enemy. The higher speed you use to drive, the more energy the brakes will need to handle the vehicle when you hit the brake pedal. So unless you really have to, it will be best if you do not over-speed.
- Practice Using One Foot
Some drivers use both feet to press the brake and accelerator. While they think it improves the vehicle’s response time, it actually does the opposite. The continuous shift of light and heavy pressure makes the brakes and brake pads wear off more quickly. So practice using one foot
- Let The Vehicle Slow Down Naturally
When you take your foot off the gas pedal and the vehicle slows down, it is an excellent way to come to a stop before pressing the brake pedal. Letting your vehicle slow down and stop in the most natural way is an excellent practice to let the brakes stay around longer.
- Use Engine Braking
When going down hills or driving down mountains, most drivers choose to use normal braking. But you should know that it is one of the things responsible for damaging brakes faster. Experts and professional drivers suggest using engine braking in such cases as it will shift the weight through the gears rather than the brakes.
- Stop At A Distance
Never follow another vehicle close by. The closer you tail the other vehicle, the more frequently you will be hitting on the brakes. It can cause the brakes to wear out quickly, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want that to happen. Ensure to maintain more distance at night time driving than days.
- Flush Brake Fluid
The thing about brake fluid is that it attracts moisture. And when the fluid gathers the mixture, it ends up lowering the braking system’s performance. Moreover, the moisture can cause corrosion issues in the brake system. So your job is to flush the fluid at least once every two years.
- Upgrade Parts When Needed
Keep the parts of the brakes up to date. Whether it is the slotted disk brake or the pads, keeping the parts updated will ensure the brakes do not handle the extra pressure. It will improve their longevity and help keep your driving experience more stable.
- Do Not Overload
Carrying too many loads all the time can quickly decrease the lifespan of brakes. The more weight the vehicle carries, the harder the brakes need to work to create sufficient pressure. You also need to consider the weight of the newly installed parts for the vehicle as they can also weigh down the car more than before.
- Regular Service Check
Take your vehicle for a yearly service check, even if you think everything is going well. A professional can spot things we cannot, and you will be notified of everything regarding your car’s current condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are front or rear brakes used more?
The front brakes are used more than the rear ones because it takes more force and weight, making the vehicle stop faster. It is said that the front brakes take about 70% of the vehicle’s force to stop it. Thus, front brakes get damaged or wear out sooner than rear ones.
Q. What happens if the rear brakes wear out?
When the rear brakes wear out, the vehicle usually takes longer to stop completely. Besides, you will hear screeching noise coming from the vehicle when pressing the brake. The noise can also happen if you use the emergency brake.
Q. How do I know if my car brake pads are worn out?
There are two ways to tell if the brake pads are worn out. First, take a good look at the pads and see if they appear thinner. If the pads seem less than a quarter-inch thick, you need to replace them.
Some brake pads come with indicators, making it easier to know if they need replacement. If you notice the indicator is no longer visible, it is time to change the brake pads.
Front brakes are more important when it comes to driving and stopping a vehicle. But you cannot rule out the significance of rear brakes just because they play a supporting role. Driving with faulty rear brakes is as dangerous as faulty front brakes.
And that is why learning how to tell if you need front or rear brakes is essential for any car owner and driver. You can rely on the methods I have mentioned in this article to understand your car’s language and fix the required brakes. And follow the maintenance tips so that you can avoid facing the brake problems as long as possible.