2 Ways To Eliminate Your Car's Brake Fade

Automotive Articles

After driving your vehicle for several years, you've fine-tuned your pedal pressure while braking. However, during your last vigorous drive down a stretch of open road, you found your brakes were struggling to slow your vehicle. This is a problem that's known as brake fade. Brake fade can occur for several reasons, so there are several brake service tasks you must perform to eliminate it. However, once you've eliminated your vehicle's brake fade, you can take another audacious drive down the road without fear of being unable to stop.

Change Your Oxidized Fluid

As you continue to use your brakes on a daily basis, your brake fluid will slowly oxidize. Typically, your fluid will oxidize when it overheats or when air enters your master cylinder (the piston that pumps your brake fluid) and brake lines. When your brake fluid is oxidized or overheating, your brake pedal will become spongy and unresponsive. Since you're unable to prevent overheated or oxidized fluid, you'll need to periodically bleed and replace your brake fluid.

Luckily, you can change your brake fluid by yourself. To do so, purchase the correct brake fluid for your vehicle (typically listed on the cap of your brake fluid reservoir) and a brake bleed kit from your local auto supply store. In addition to these items, you'll need a breaker bar, ratchet, socket set, hydraulic jack, and jack stands.

Raise your vehicle with your hydraulic jack and place jack stands beneath your vehicle's safe lift points. Place your bleed kit's hose inside your brake fluid reservoir (attached to your master cylinder) and drain it.

Next, remove your tires and locate the small bleeder valves on the interior side of each brake assembly. Attach your bleed kit to the bleeder valve that's furthest away from your master cylinder. Pour a small amount of fresh brake fluid into your reservoir and pump the line until only your fresh fluid is visible in your bleed kit's acrylic hose.

Once you've drained the line that's furthest from your master cylinder, repeat the same bleeding process for the line next furthest from your master cylinder. Drain the line that's closest to your cylinder last. By bleeding your lines in this order, you can ensure all oxidized fluid is removed from your brake system.

After you've bled all your lines, refill your reservoir and turn on your car. Pump your brake pedal a few times to send the new fluid throughout your lines, and top off your reservoir to finish the job.

Install Drilled Or Slotted Rotors

When your brakes are overheating during an extensive or high-speed commute, your brake pads will release a small amount of gas while they create friction against your rotors. If your vehicle has standard rotors, then the gas released from your pads will prevent your pads from making complete contact with your rotors.

The flat surface of a standard rotor is unable to give the gas released from your pads a way to escape the space between your pads and rotors. However, slotted or drilled rotors are designed specifically to ventilate the gas released from your pads. As each slot or hole of these rotors passes over your pad, the gas escaping from your pad will be ventilated away from your rotor—ensuring perfect friction generation even while under extreme temperatures.

However, each time you replace your rotors, you must also replace your brake pads and adjust your brake pistons. Since these complex tasks differ for each vehicle, it's best to leave them to your local mechanic instead of attempting to perform them yourself.

Don't let your brakes hold you back from pushing your vehicle to its limits. Change your brake fluid and have your rotors professionally replaced to ensure that you're able to stay safe while enjoying your daily commute.


20 February 2015