If you have to deal with stop-and-go traffic twice per day as you undergo your inner-city commute, you may be subjecting your vehicle to a lot of wear and tear. Certainly, you may not be driving at any high speed or overly stressing the engine, but you may certainly be doing a number on your braking system. After several months of this type of driving, you may have noticed that it is now taking a considerable effort to bring your vehicle to a standstill, so what could be going wrong?
As you inch forward in nose-to-tail traffic, you may tend to keep your foot on the brake pedal for much longer than it should be. This will cause the entire system to overheat and, eventually, will severely compromise the vehicle's braking efficiency.
Brakes at Work
As you may know, the typical vehicle is equipped with a set of disc brakes attached to each wheel. When you depress the foot pedal, hydraulic fluid pushes a pair of pistons within each calliper, and this will force the friction pads against a rotary disc. When the pads connect with this disc, the energy is converted into heat and is dissipated through the disc itself while the vehicle slows down.
Your issue is likely related to the friction pads. These are made of hardy materials, from nonmetallic all the way to ceramic depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but they are not designed to last forever. However, while they are designed to wear down gradually, this process can be accelerated by excess heat and overuse. As you keep your foot on the brake pedal for too long then the pads themselves will absorb too much of the generated heat and this can cause the surface to glaze over. When this happens, they will take on a shiny appearance and will not be able to apply any of that friction material to the surface of the disc.
Fixing the Issue
It may be possible to resurface these discs using a special machine but usually, they will need to be replaced. To do this, you should take the vehicle in to a mechanic as they will have the necessary tools and expertise to help you.
Changing Your Habits
However, after your mechanic has completed their magic, try to modify your driving habits during those early morning and late afternoon journeys. Keep your foot off the brake pedal and apply the handbrake instead and all should be good.
For more information on Renault brake pads, contact a brake service.