It's never fun when you hear the telltale squeal of aging brake pads. Replacing old, worn-out pads is an essential part of keeping your car safe to drive, but it can feel frustrating to spend time and money on restoring your vehicle to its previous condition. Fortunately, there are ways that you can improve your car when you need to repair or replace your current brakes.
If better braking performance sounds useful to you, then you've come to the right place. Below you'll find three options to improve your brake performance while your car is in the shop for routine pad replacement.
1. Use Better Pads
Most manufacturers choose brake pads that offer a compromise between performance, life, and cost. These pads typically work for most drivers, but they may not fit your particular circumstances. When considering brake pads, your three options will be organic, ceramic, and metallic. Organic brake pads tend to offer the best cost, while metallic pads are a high-performance but noisy and costly option.
If your car came from the factory with organic pads, then switching to ceramic can be a worthwhile upgrade. Ceramic pads can cost a bit more, but they offer better performance, long life, and low noise and dust generation. If you use your car for track driving, then metallic pads may also be an option worth considering, although they can be less livable on a daily driver.
2. Replace Your Brake Hoses
Your car's brake hoses make up the final hydraulic connection in your car's brake fluid system. When your brake hoses fail, they can cause your calipers to stick or even result in a loss of hydraulic pressure. Unfortunately, brake hoses can degrade over time, reducing the efficiency of your braking system and ultimately leading to failure.
You don't need to replace your brake hoses regularly, but replacement may be worthwhile if your car is more than five or six years old. Degrading brake hoses aren't always apparent from the outside, so this is a cheap option for preventative maintenance. If you want to improve the feel of your brakes, then upgrading to stainless steel hoses may be worth considering.
3. Flush Your Brake Fluid
Your brakes rely on hydraulic fluid to function correctly. Over time, your brake fluid can wear down from heat or contaminants. Your car's manufacturer should have a recommended replacement schedule, but in most cases, you should replace your brake fluid every three years or 50,000 miles. If your brake fluid is old or worn-out, then a flush and replacement can dramatically improve your braking performance.
Replacing your pads as they wear out can be a frustrating but necessary part of automotive ownership. Taking the time to improve your brakes during a pad replacement can turn this service from a chore into a great way to upgrade your car. Contact a professional in your area about your brake repair options.