Make Sure You Can Stop On A Dime: How To Protect Your Brakes During The Winter

Spring may be just around the corner, but winter is holding on for dear life. Because of the extended winter weather patterns, your brakes may be feeling the pressure. If they are, you may want to give them some extra care and attention, especially when the temperatures dip below freezing. Here are four steps you should take to help your brakes last through the winter.

Start with a Winter Brake Inspection

If you didn't have your brakes inspected once winter arrived, now would be a good time to take care of that. Winter weather can wreak havoc on your brakes. If you're not prepared, you could find yourself without the stopping power you need, especially during snowy, wet, or icy conditions. Before the next storm blows through, schedule a service appointment to have your brakes inspected. That way, your service technician can take care of any issues that might create risky situations for you while you're driving.

Give Your Brakes Time to Warm Up

You might not know this, but if your car has been parked outside in the ice or snow, your brakes may have frozen. If they have, they're not going to stop as well as they should. To make sure you're able to stop when you need to, give your brakes some time to warm up. One way to do that is to allow your car to idle in the driveway for a few minutes before you head out in the morning. Next, apply the brakes slowly for the first few minutes of your drive time. The brief period of warm-up and the frequent slow stops will help warm up your brakes and get rid of the ice deposits.

Watch for Rust Buildup

If you drive in the snow a lot during the winter, the salt that's being used on the roads could be causing problems for your brakes. Specifically, the salt could be causing your rotors to corrode, especially when the salt is coupled with wet road conditions. To avoid corrosion and rust problems, take a look at your brakes at least once a week. As soon as you see visible signs of rust or corrosion on your brakes, head into the service shop for a maintenance call.

Pay Attention to Changes in Your Brakes

When you drive your car a lot, you become familiar with the way it behaves. While you're driving during the winter, make sure you pay attention to changes in the way your brakes perform. Significant changes in your brakes could be a sign that your brakes are about to fail you. Some signs you should pay attention to include pulling to one side when you stop, or a loud grinding sound when you put your foot on the brake pedal.

Don't take chances with your safety. Pay attention to your brakes this winter. If you haven't had your brakes inspected, or you're noticing problems with your braking ability, it's time to see your mechanic. To learn more, visit a website like