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DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR BRAKES FAIL? 

  • By Website Team Technicians
  • 11 Nov, 2015

Picture yourself driving to your office. You didn't hear your alarm clock, so you try to make up for lost time by subtly accelerating along back roads. You know the road turns sharply several kilometres ahead, and you wisely decide to decrease your speed in preparation.

But when your foot hits the brake pedal, nothing happens. The car continues to hurtle along the road at high speeds, and your heart races along even faster. For a few brief seconds, you wonder if this is how you'll die.

Don't panic just yet.

Although complete brake failure rarely occurs, you can take steps to slow your vehicle to a safe, albeit bumpy stop.

1. Take Your Foot Off the Accelerator

When your flight or fight senses kick in, you may stiffen, tense and put more pressure on your accelerator pedal, increasing your speed and your risk of injury.

If you drive a car with automatic transmission, remove your foot from the accelerator. As a result, your vehicle will gradually shift into lower gears and slow on its own. If you own a vehicle with manual transmission, carefully shift into the lowest gears. Avoid shifting too quickly, as you could send your car into a skid.

Warning:   Do not shift your car into neutral, as you will lose the engine's braking effect. Similarly, you should not force shift the car into park or reverse, as you could damage your transmission and cause the vehicle to stall. And finally, do not turn off your car, as you'll lose the ability to steer.

2. Try the Brakes Again

Most modern cars have a dual braking system, or tandem master cylinders that stop one half of the vehicle. Should half your brakes fail, you can still rely on the other half to bring your car to a complete stop.

Of course, when you drive a 1,800 kilogram vehicle at high speeds, you'll need a lot more time to halt your momentum. And what little braking system you have left may seem incapable of stopping your vehicle in time for that sharp curve or looming traffic light.

To make the most of your available brakes, apply strong, consistent pressure to the pedal. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) will pump the brakes for you, creating a heavy pulse.

You may also try your emergency brake lever or pedal to further slow your vehicle. But be prepared to release the emergency brakes should your car start to skid.

3. Move Away from Traffic

If your emergency brakes and downshifting didn't work, you not only pose a risk to yourself but to others. As soon as you notice a problem, turn on your emergency lights to alert other drivers of the danger. Then, if possible, change lanes and move away from traffic.

Even during an emergency, remember to use your turn signals and to pay attention to surrounding traffic. Steer away from potholes and other road obstacles to avoid skidding.

4. Use Your Environment as Friction

Over time, your car should come to a stop on its own so long as you keep your foot off the accelerator. But if you need to stop faster, use friction from your surroundings.

If necessary, grind the car against guardrails, fences and hedges. Drive your vehicle up hills and inclines or into tall grasses and sand. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel as you look for a safe spot to pull over (or to crash).

Prevent Accidents: Inspect Your Brakes Regularly

Although the above steps will help you stay as calm and safe as possible during an emergency, ideally, you want to avoid the situation entirely. Consequently, you should take your vehicle to brake specialist for inspection and repairs on an annual basis. And if you ever notice any of   these five warning signs  , book an appointment with your mechanic immediately.  
By Tim Flinders 18 Aug, 2017

Having full control over your car is essential to staying safe on the roads. If your brakes become worn or faulty, your risk of being involved in an accident could increase because you can no longer stop quickly enough to avoid a collision. To protect yourself and your family, you need to get your brakes checked regularly. Here are a few situations in which you should consider getting your brakes checked out by a professional.

By Tim Flinders 23 May, 2017

When you put your foot down on your car's brake pedal, it should feel firm and resistant. That's why a soft, spongy-feeling brake pedal that doesn't resist pressure and goes straight to the floor is a common sign that something's gone wrong in your brake system.

Inside your brake lines is a liquid called brake fluid, which transfers the force of you hitting the brake pedal to the brake rotors and pads to immobilise your car. When there's a problem with this fluid, it won't transfer enough pressure to stop the vehicle.

If your brake feels spongy underfoot, here are three possible brake fluid related problems you could be facing.

By Website Team Technicians 11 Nov, 2015

Picture yourself driving to your office. You didn't hear your alarm clock, so you try to make up for lost time by subtly accelerating along back roads. You know the road turns sharply several kilometres ahead, and you wisely decide to decrease your speed in preparation.

But when your foot hits the brake pedal, nothing happens. The car continues to hurtle along the road at high speeds, and your heart races along even faster. For a few brief seconds, you wonder if this is how you'll die.

Don't panic just yet.

Although complete brake failure rarely occurs, you can take steps to slow your vehicle to a safe, albeit bumpy stop.

By Website Team Technicians 12 Jun, 2015

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid. Most likely, the fluid your car uses comes from a glycol-ether base. Glycol-ether solvents combine with other elements to change a liquid's boiling point.

Some brake fluid uses a mineral oil base. This base comes from the process of distilling petroleum and other fuel types. This transparent, odourless liquid reduces brake fluid's conductivity.

By Website Team Technicians 12 Jun, 2015
If your car makes a high-pitched squealing noise when you stop, there's a good chance your brakes make that sound. Brake pads sit on top of the actual brakes to keep them safe. When brake pads wear down, the factory-included indicator meets your car's rotor. This meeting causes that annoying sound. If left unchecked, your brake pads can wear out completely, causing costly repairs and safety problems.

Once you hear that tell-tale squeal, make sure to replace your brake pads within the next couple of weeks (if you can bear the noise that long).
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