25 June 2020

Summer 2020: the return of cars

Don’t underestimate the importance of checking your brakes for a peaceful summer

We have left our cars parked in our garage or on the curb outside our homes for a long time. Being encouraged to go out as little as possible has led to the elimination of bottlenecks along the main roads, but it has also generated a sort of abstinence for those who were used to driving every day.
Ready, steady, go: time to drive
This summer, we will get the chance to make up for lost time: the lack of available flights and the desire of many to give up on the idea of travelling by plane or by train will drive up car use for the holidays.

This is exactly why we would like our car to run like Swiss clockwork, even when we are hundreds of kilometres from home. Failures are not contemplated in our holiday plans, especially not on the part of the braking system.
Swing by a Brembo Expert mechanic
For the above reasons, we highly recommend that, before your departure, you have your car checked, preferably by a qualified Brembo Expert mechanic: thanks to the technical training guaranteed by Brembo, he will make sure your car has a full check-up.
The professional will check the following in particular:
  • the fluid levels (coolant, brake fluid and windscreen-washer fluid) and their condition
  • the thickness of the brake discs and pads
  • the presence of any grooves or cracks on the surface of the brake discs
  • the overall condition of the brake calipers
  • the condition of the car lights (side lights, full beam and dipped beam headlights, fog lights, brake lights, indicator lights, etc.)
  • the car battery
  • the operation of the air conditioning system
  • tyre wear and pressure
Obviously, all these components need to be in excellent condition because even if just one of them proves exceedingly worn (the brake pad or disc) or does not function perfectly (calipers or other hydraulic components of the braking system) or has lost some of its performance (brake fluid), the end result is terrible braking, sometimes due to a delay with respect to the moment you pressed the pedal, and others because of poor efficiency.
And on your way out of the workshop...
Anyone who thinks they’ve left all possible problems behind when they’ve collected their car from the mechanic is gravely mistaken. Since these are mechanical and hydraulic components, a running-in period of approximately 300 km is required to make the braking system perfectly operational.

During this mileage, we advise against stressing the friction material too intensively.
It is best if you avoid braking suddenly and try not to stress the brakes for too long. On the contrary, it is preferable if you brake gently and briefly to allow the brake pads to align with the discs correctly.

If the type of journey you intend to make involves intensive use of the braking system, it is best to take your car to have its brakes checked and possibly replace any detrimental components several days before departure, so you have time to perform running-in in ideal conditions.
Beware of the odd man out
Even if your braking system is in excellent condition, you should never forget that braking time and braking distance are also tied to the set of tyres fitted on your car. Indeed, with the same driver response times and braking system characteristics, you can get very different results depending on the type of tyres used.

In order to transmit all the braking torque to the asphalt surface, you need a quality tyre, which is in good condition and inflated to the right pressure. The latter is inversely proportional to the quantity of tyre rubber that is in contact with the asphalt surface: if they are under-inflated, they increase the braking distance, and if they are over-inflated they make it harder to control the car during braking.

During the holidays, therefore, it is a good idea to check the tyre pressure frequently, so as not to be surprised by longer than expected braking, which is potentially dangerous.
Caution! In addition to checking your car before embarking upon a long journey, it is a good idea to remember to have its regular MOT done - which is a legal obligation - as well as the services set by the manufacturers at set dates.
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