Take Time for Winter Brake Safety Check

Slick roadways and holiday traffic magnify a driver’s mistakes this time of year. That’s why it’s vital to test your vehicle’s brakes before weather turns foul.

Braking is all about friction and that process slowly erodes the brake system itself. Routine maintenance of the shoes, fluid, and hoses keeps the system running smoothly.

A thorough brake inspection generally includes the following:

  • Check the master cylinder. This reservoir beneath the hood stores the brake fluid and needs to be periodically checked for leaks and wear.
  • Inspect brake hoses. These hoses carry fluid to and from various braking components. Underperforming hoses create an inefficient stopping system.
  • Inspect brake fluid lines. Brakes are a hydraulic system that requires fluid to function. Leaking or damaged brake lines degrade the whole system’s ability to function.
  • Look for wear and tear. Friction and heat can wear unevenly on brake parts and contaminate brake fluid.
  • Test the parking brake. Ask your service advisor to check the system to make sure it’s working properly. Teaser: Pay heed to that piercing pitch you hear coming from your vehicle’s wheel well. It could become a troublesome visitor this holiday season.

Below is a handy chart to help you see how long it takes a vehicle to stop under ideal conditions. These numbers increase dramatically with slick roads. Due to significantly reduced friction between the tires and road surface, the stopping distances are doubled for stopping distances in rain, and multiplied by 10 for stopping distances on ice.

Brakingdistance 48 kph: 14 meters

Stopping distance 48 kph: 23 meters

Braking distance 64 kph: 24 meters

Stopping distance 64 kph: 37 meters

Braking distance 80 kph: 38 meters

Stopping distance 80 kph: 53 meters

Braking distance 96 kph: 55 meters

Stopping distance 96kph: 73 meters

Braking distance 112 kph: 75 meters

Stopping distance 112 kph: 96 meters