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Before the brake

Keep your brakes in shape to enhance efficiency and bolster safety
PTI | By Deepesh Rathore
UPDATED ON AUG 09, 2004 06:34 PM IST

Stopping is as important as going, only in case of two-wheelers – and your own bones – it is much more important. It is at the time of stopping that we expect the brakes to work perfectly, but most of us neglect maintaining the brakes.
Here are some tips for maintenance of brakes:

In case of disc brakes, check the level of the hydraulic fluid regularly. Top up if needed.

In case of drum brakes, check for braking. In case the brakes are loose then tighten them from the adjustment nut.

In case the adjustment nut has reached its limit, it is time to replace the brake shoes.

Moisture often enters the brake drums, often after heavy rains. Wipe the brakes thoroughly before riding. Check for braking. In case of a sharp squeaking sound or poor braking, it is better to dry out the water first.

Most of us ignore one damaged brake relying on one remaining brake to do the trick when needed. Avoid doing this as efficient braking is all about using both brakes simultaneously. 

Here are some tips to use brakes more effectively:
Use both brakes at the same time. Using one brake sharply may result in your bike skidding.

Try not to do panic braking. Brakes should be applied steadily with increasing pressure. Care should be taken not to jam the brakes.

In case you jam the brakes and the bike starts skidding then release the brakes momentarily to make the wheels start rotating again and then complete the braking.

A few handy tips

The brake pedal should have sufficient play but if the car develops a ‘long pedal’ or the pedal starts going too deep in to the footwell then it spells trouble.

The brake pads rub against the disc or the drums and provide friction which in turn stops the car. The pads should be changed from time to time. They should have a minimum of 3 mm padding left.

Upon braking a long grating sound can tell you that the pads are worn out. At replacement ensure that the discs are made smooth.

The life of pads is anywhere around 30,000 km but a lot depends on your driving. Hard braking reduces the life.



Rajiv Mitra

 

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