Driving on old, worn-out brakes is dangerous, but it can be tempting to push your car to its limits. Waiting until the last possible moment to service your brakes might seem like a reasonable option to save some money, but it can lead to several unintended (and expensive) consequences. Even if your car still appears to have plenty of stopping power, you may be doing more damage than you expect.
If you've been putting off servicing your brake, then this article is for you. Check out these three ways that deferred brake maintenance can lead to higher repair costs in the future.
1. Brake Sensor Replacements
Most modern vehicles include brake sensors to alert you to worn out brake pads. These sensors are sacrificial — when your brake pads wear down enough, the friction destroys the sensor and triggers a warning light on your dash. Since the sensors are consumable, you need to replace them anytime they illuminate the brake service light.
While these sensors aren't expensive, you can save on the cost of replacement by replacing your pads before they become critical. Regular inspections can help you understand how much life your brake pads have left, allowing you to plan replacements early. Depending on your car's make and model, you can potentially save quite a bit of money by reusing your old sensors.
2. Worn Rotors
Both your brake discs and brake pads are consumable, but your discs (or rotors) can often last for more than a single brake replacement due to their durable cast iron construction. As long as your rotors only come into contact with your brake pads, they may last for 60k miles or more. You may also be able to resurface your worn rotors, further extending their lifespan.
Unfortunately, allowing your brake pads to wear too far can drastically impact the condition of your rotors. As the friction material wears down, your rotors will come into contact with the metal backing plate. Eventually, this contact will gouge the rotors beyond the point where a shop can resurface them, potentially adding hundreds of dollars to your repair bill.
3. Damaged Calipers
While your rotors will wear away more quickly than the metal on the calipers, you're still damaging both parts once you burn through the consumable friction material on the brake pads. If you continue to ignore your worn brake pads, you'll eventually damage your calipers as well. Although rotors will eventually need replacement, calipers are expensive parts that should last much longer.
As with most vehicle maintenance tasks, it's never a good plan to defer brake service to save a few bucks. Although you'll avoid paying some money now, you will inevitably do far more damage to your wallet in the future. For more information, contact a brake service.