Everything You Need To Know About Seasonal Brake Care

A man reaches out as he does brake maintenance on a car.

Everything You Need To Know About Seasonal Brake Care

For car owners, seasonal changes are more than just a change to a picturesque landscape; they’re a call to action to ensure that your vehicle’s brakes are in top condition to handle everything from the arid summer heat to the snowy winter storms. And in a place with hot dry summers, cold snowy winters, and everything in-between, it’s especially important to make sure your brakes are ready for any changes the weather might throw your way.

So what can you do to make sure your brakes are working their best all year long? Here are our tips for each season to make sure you stay safe and secure, wherever you drive.

Summer: Plan For The Heat

Things often get dry around summertime, when long hot days roast the streets and can make leather seats feel like a frying pan when you get in the driver’s seat. While the dry climate may seem to present fewer challenges to your brakes, the intense heat can accelerate brake wear and in extreme cases, can even cause brake fluid to boil.

Beat the Heat: Signs of Summer Brake Wear

If you notice that you have to press down longer and harder to come to a stop in warm weather, you’re likely experiencing brake fade. This reduction in stopping power can ultimately wear on your brakes, and you may start hearing squealing that signifies it’s time to get your brake pads replaced.

High temperatures also run the risk of issues with your brake fluid. When you let your brake fluid dip below recommended levels, you run the risk of water heading to your brake lines. If enough water gets in, it can start to evaporate or even boil in the heat, which will ultimately cause your brakes to go out.

Summer Brake Care Checklist

  • Check your brake fluid regularly and have it replaced if needed.
  • Inspect the brake pads and rotors for wear and heat-related damage.
  • Try to park out of the sun when you can.

Fall: Stay On Top Of Weather Changes

The cooler weather of autumn rarely is an issue itself when it comes to your brakes. But you may start seeing the effects of summer’s heat on them. 

Fall Safety Check: Make The Most of Mild Weather

Be vigilant and take care to have regular maintenance done to ensure that your brakes continue to work. Take advantage of the mild weather for a comprehensive brake inspection before the frigid temperatures set in. This includes checking the pads, rotors, and the entire hydraulic system for leaks and wear.

During this time, you’ll also want to do a moisture check, especially if there’s been a good amount of wet weather. Have your brake system inspected for moisture content, and if you need to replace the brake fluid to prevent internal corrosion in the braking components.

Fall Brake Care Protocol

  • Replace brake fluid if needed.
  • Inspect all brake system components for wear and corrosion.
  • Prepare for winter with brake system repairs, if necessary.

Winter: Don’t Let The Snow Stop Your Car

Winter can be no joke, with snow and ice covering the city for several months. Freezing temperatures can cause various problems in your car, ranging from rusted components to frozen brake lines.

Cold Snap Crisis: How Winter Weather Hurts Your Brakes

While the snow may be pretty to look at, one thing many people forget is that snow melts into water, and that can rust your rotors very quickly. Rusted components can significantly reduce your brake power, and you can further damage your brakes by putting in too much force when braking because of it.

You’ll also want to once again check in on your brake lines and fluid. While brake fluid doesn’t freeze until it reaches -40F, a cracked line and melting snow can have water enter your system–and that could be catastrophic for your brakes if they freeze in the line. 

Winter Brake Safety Routine

  • Regularly check for ice build-up on your brakes, especially before and after driving in snowy conditions.
  • Ensure there are no leaks in your brake lines that would let water seep in and freeze.
  • Do your best not to park your car out in snowy weather for long periods of time.

Spring: Give Your Brakes A Renewal

Like with fall, the mild weather of spring is a great time to take care of any potential issues that your brakes may have after the cold, snowy season. Take the time to give them a check and a tune-up before you start the cycle again in Summer.

Spring Brake Check: The Transition Season

Now’s a great time to check in for any signs of damage on your brakes from the snow. You’ll also want to make sure that nothing in your brake system is corroded from the salt and other de-icing products that had been deposited on the roads during snowy weather–these can eat away at the metal of your undercarriage, causing potential leaks and failures.

It’s also a good time to get in some spring cleaning, making sure there’s no salt or other debris stuck on your brakes!

Spring Brake Care To-Do’s

  • Inspect brake components for signs of corrosion and take action as necessary.
  • Clean the brake system to prevent debris and salt from causing damage.
  • Check for any loose parts or rattling in the brake system, which could indicate damage from the previous season.

Year-Round Best PracticesTo Keep Your Brakes Intact

Regardless of the season, you should take care to regularly do these checks to ensure that your brakes are in the best shape possible, and keep on top of your brake system’s health to avoid any potential issues while driving.

Regular Brake Inspections

Schedule a brake inspection at least twice a year, or more frequently if you notice any changes in your braking performance.

Brake Fluid Maintenance

Your brake fluid should be replaced every 30,000 miles or as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. It is crucial for maintaining a responsive brake system.

Driving Habits Matter

Be mindful of your driving habits; aggressive braking can significantly reduce the lifespan of your brake pads and rotors.

Quality Replacements

Use high-quality brake parts when it’s time for replacements. Investing in quality components ensures safety and longevity.

Caring for your car’s brakes isn’t just about vehicle maintenance – it’s about ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. By following these seasonal brake care routines, car owners can enjoy peace of mind and reliable stopping power, whether under the summer sun or in the depths of a winter storm.

Remember, regular maintenance, close attention to changes in braking performance, and proactive care are the harbingers of a secure and smooth driving experience. If you have any concerns about your brakes, or you just want to do a quick check-in to make sure they’re still working properly, stop in to Schulz Auto As you and your car dance through the seasons, stay attuned to the beat of your brakes, ensuring they always move to the rhythm of safety and dependability.