What Are the Dangers of Overheated Brakes?

October 13, 2020 Published by Leave your thoughts

Everyone knows how important brakes are for the safety of all drivers on the road—that’s why brake service and repair is part of your regular vehicle maintenance, and why truck drivers check theirs during a pre-trip inspection. When your brakes overheat, however, it can directly impact how well they function. Read on to learn what happens when brakes overheat in Flagstaff, AZ.

The dangers of overheated brakes and why they happen

When you engage your brakes, the brake caliper presses the brake pad against the brake disc. In turn, this changes the kinetic energy of the moving vehicle into friction, which eventually slows your vehicle down. As you know, friction creates heat—so if you notice that your brakes are hot after driving, rest assured that’s normal. Brakes regularly get up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or more—some can reach as high 950 degrees. It is even possible for them to catch on fire.

When your brakes overheat, they become less effective. That means you risk not being able to stop in time, which is dangerous, especially at high rates of speed.

Most overheating is due to either aggressive driving or improper repairs. If you try accelerating while braking, or screech to a halt on a regular basis, you’re likely to risk overheating. On the other hand, improperly installed brakes can create the wrong kind of friction—take your vehicle in for repairs right away if you notice unwarranted overheating.

How to tell if your brakes are overheating

There are three main ways you can tell that your brakes have overheated. First, you might hear a squealing noise. When you brake aggressively, the intense heat generated may alter the surface of your brake pad, causing it to squeal as you push the brake. Second, you might notice a strong “burning carpet” smell when you brake. This heavy, unpleasant scent is unmistakable—and a good sign that you need to get your brakes serviced. Finally, you might notice smoke coming from the brake pads. It takes a lot of aggressive driving to heat your brakes up to the point where they smoke or catch fire, but it is possible.

Prevent overheated brakes

The best ways to prevent overheated brakes are to use an abundance of caution and follow the rules of the road—which means you should leave the stunt driving to the professionals. Leave plenty of time to come to a stop—slowly—so your brakes take longer to heat up. Gradually applying brake pressure instead of stomping on the brake will not only prevent overheating, but will also keep your brakes in better shape.

This means you should leave plenty of room between you and the vehicles in front of you. More stopping distance lessens the possibility that you’ll have to stop suddenly.

Now that you know how truck brakes can overheat in Flagstaff, AZ, do your best to prevent it. Keeping your brakes in good shape is a crucial safety issue for everyone on the road.

For roadside assistance for commercial trucks and trailers, call Maclin Truck & Trailer today.

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