Understanding The Need For Automotive Maintenance

Don't Fail Me Now: How To Prevent Brake Problems This Winter

Now that the cold weather is officially here, you'll need to start paying closer attention to your car, especially the brakes. Freezing temperatures, ice, rain, and snow can wreak havoc on your brakes if you're not careful. Beginning the season with a thorough brake inspection is a good way to start. However, there are a few other steps you should take to prevent winter brake problems. Here are four important steps that will help keep your brakes in good condition this winter:

Check the Brake Lines for Leaks

During the winter, your brake lines are exposed to some risky conditions. First, freezing temperatures can cause the fluid to freeze, which will cause the brake lines to expand. While you're driving your car, the fluid will thaw, causing the brake lines to shrink back to normal size. The continual freeze-thaw cycle can cause your brake lines to rot, creating cracks in them. Unfortunately, this damage can cause your brake line to rupture, which can lead to brake failure. Watch your brake lines. At the first sign of a leak, have your mechanic take a look at them. You may need to have your brake lines replaced to prevent problems this winter.

Change Your Brake Fluid

If you haven't had your brake fluid replaced recently, now's a good time to do that. Sludge can build up in your old brake fluid, which can cause it to thicken during cold weather. Not only that, but moisture can build up in your brake fluid over time, which can also lead to problems during the winter. You can prevent these problems by having your brake fluid changed before the temperatures dip much more.

Use Your Parking Brake

If you're not in the habit of using your parking brake, you could be setting yourself up for some serious winter brake problems. The emergency brake cable is exposed to the elements. Over time, dirt, road gunk, and other debris can build up and create a messy coating over your brake cable. When you use your parking brake, that gunk gets rubbed off the cable. However, when you don't use your parking brake, it builds up and stays there. During the winter, that gunk can freeze, causing your parking brake cable to freeze, and seize on you. When that happens, you're going to be facing a serious risk, especially if you're driving when it happens.

Inspect Your Rotors

If you regularly drive on icy or snowy roads during the winter, your brake rotors could be corroding, especially if the roads are also coated with road salt. Corroded brake rotors can cause your brakes to fail when you need them most. During the winter, be sure to inspect your rotors at least once a week. If you see signs of corrosion, get your car to an auto repair shop as quickly as possible.