How to Prevent Brake Fade?

Feb 10, 2020

How to Prevent Brake Fade?

Brakes are one of the numerous mechanisms designed to slow a car down. Relying solely on the brakes to stop your car for long periods of time will cause the brakes to overheat, thus causing brake fade.

Brake fade meaning

Brake fade is a partial or complete loss of braking power, which is due to the brakes working by friction to slow the car down, and that friction is causing heat which must be dissipated using the components of the braking system. Unlike brake failure that is caused by mechanical or hydraulic faults, the system is normally in good working order and brake power will return. However, it will not be at the same level, once the issue has been addressed.

Brake fade cause

As we mentioned, brakes function by converting kinetic energy into heat. Every time the brakes are in use, heat is generated which under normal driving conditions, will dissipate into the atmosphere.

Since the kinetic energy rises with the square of velocity, braking at a higher speed or under load will put more pressure on the system, generating more heat. This heat can build up in the system and when it’s not dispelled correctly, will cause brake fade.

Preventing brake fade

Here are some measures you can take to minimise the risk of experiencing brake fade. In doing the below, you will also save fuel and reduce wear and tear:

  • If and where possible, avoid heavy braking.
  • The faster you drive, the more work your brakes need to do, so slow down!
  • Think ahead and be prepared to slow down.
  • Do not ride the brakes as repeated use can easily overheat the system.
  • If going downhill, use a lower gear and make use of engine braking.
  • Replace brake fluid as per your manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Bed in your brake pads if your mechanic has not already done so.

If you feel you may need to have your brakes looked at by a professional and reliable mechanic, get a quote from!


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