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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

What do we usually forget while preparing for a summer road trip?

Date: 22-Jun-2018

The end of the school year is just around the corner and it means only one thing – the season for family road trips is officially open. Most Poles, both vacationing in Poland, as well as those going abroad, will travel by car. Before they go, most of them will run a “quick check-up”, checking tyre pressure or the levels of basic fluids. Unfortunately, many drivers will stop their preparations at this stage, forgetting about other key components affecting road safety, such as brake pads.

The braking system is one of the critical mechanical systems in a vehicle. Proper functioning of this system affects both comfort and safety of our road trips. However, it is not possible the verify the current technical condition of its key components, such as brake pads, only based on a cursory glance at the car, like in the case of tyre treads. Therefore, many drivers simply omit this important issue and set out towards their summer destinations believing that they have done everything necessary to prepare their vehicle for the trip. 

“The key parameter in the case of brake pads is the thickness of the friction layer, whose minimum thickness is around 3-4mm. When the layer becomes too thin, we usually hear a distinctive noise, informing us that a visit to a garage is due. If we are about to take a long road trip, such an inspection becomes simply essential. When a component is excessively worn, it directly affects braking efficiency. If there is a need to quickly brake on a dual carriageway or a motorway, it becomes extremely important and can determine the safety of all travellers”, explains Tomasz Orłowski, director at Lumag’s Research and Development Department, responsible for the development of Breck brake pads. 

In the vast majority of cases, determining the exact thickness of the friction material layer is possible only after removing the wheels. However, checking the condition of brake pads is one of the obligatory parts of a technical inspection. As a result, if we are planning to have our car inspected before going on vacation, we will be informed directly by the mechanic that our pads are nearing the dangerous minimal thickness. What should we do, if it turns out that brake pad replacement is necessary?

Tomasz Orłowski added: “Brake pads are sold in sets for the front and rear axle. That is why they should also be replaced in sets. What is more, first kilometres after leaving the garage should be covered with a reduced speed, as brake pads require a few dozen braking cycles to break them in. That is why we should schedule an inspection well in advance, to leave enough time for this”. 

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