Brake Team – Brakes Portland The Northwest's Brake Repair Specialist

Ridiculously Detailed Guide to Saving Your Brakes

Brake Team’s Ridiculously Detailed Guide to Saving Your Brakes

This guide is only intended for people who are really interested in all of the techniques we have found to maintaining and saving your brake system.

This guide is not intended to be a substitute for regular maintenance, and the fact remains that the best way to keep your brakes in good shape is to have them regularly checked and repaired as needed. It is Brake Team's firm policy to make this as easy and inexpensive for you as possible - and the "flip-side" of this is that regular maintenance always results in less costs overall (there are parts of the system that are designed to last the life of the vehicle, but only if they are kept operational through routine repairs, flushes, etc).

So, on to the guide!


Here is probably the best method of saving your brakes - DON'T USE THEM WHEN YOU DON'T NEED TO! Imagine that, right?

Coasting is the trick. This has to be done intelligently, because very few drivers do it and sometimes it throws people off of their habits and can upset other drivers - so be careful of that. Of course, you could just go ahead and do it and let other people deal with it how they see fit. You will notice that this IS a tactic of professional drivers, and if you watch truck drivers you'll see them do a lot of coasting.

We see so many people cruising up to red lights, or tailgating, or going in to a turn too fast, and then slamming on the brakes.

So here are some specific times and places this comes in handy.


Most of us have common routes that we travel each day from work or school to home.

If you know you are going to need to stop, just take your foot off the accelerator and start coasting up to the light or stop sign. Of course you'll still need to apply the brakes, but let’s illustrate this a little bit to bring the point home. After all, this is a ridiculously detailed guide.

The fact is the brakes are working against the forward momentum of the car. But the car also has a tendency to come to rest if not pushed forward. Newton? Yeah, something like that.

So, if you are accelerating 100% up to the stop, the brakes have to stop 100% of that forward push. If you let the friction on the road do some of the work (by coasting) you'll save your brakes by just that much. This will change depending on the grade (relative steepness) of the stop. A downhill slope will obviously require more braking. More on that later.


Don't tailgate. This is sort of a lost practice and seemed to go the way of the dinosaurs some time back. You might even feel like you're getting advice from your grandparents when you read this.

So let’s make it a modern concept again. How about this - bad economy? Not enough cash on hand to keep your car in tip-top shape? Okay, don't tailgate.

As you are coasting along, never touching your brakes, count how many times you see the brake lights come on from the car in front of you. If you have a latte handy, sip it a few times and feel even better about how unscathed your brakes are.

Also, if you see cars stopping in the distance in front of you, treat it like a red light and start coasting as you approach them.


Coast as you approach the turn. You know you are going to need to slow down, so ease off the accelerator. If you already do this, good for you!

And if you need a “cheat-day” on your diet of keeping the pounds off your brakes, go ahead and have fun in those curves.


The ninja-master level of saving your brakes.

Use uphill grades to your advantage. If there is a light or a stop sign at the top of a hill, you can judge how much speed is needed and use the hill to bring the car to a near-stop. In most cases you'll still need to brake or even accelerate (if you start coasting too soon) because this is an interesting trick to master.

Master it, and experience the perfect balance of braking bliss.rID