Towing a caravan or trailer for the first time can be a daunting task. You will need to work and balance the added weight behind you and handle your towing vehicle most safely. Additionally, you are required to comply with all towing and road regulations, to guarantee your safety and that of other road users. If there is one component that requires to be properly checked is towing brakes.
When it comes to the use of brakes, there are a couple of things you must observe, to guarantee a safe ride.
Brake fade is your enemy
At one given to brakes, you will face a nightmare if your pads are faded. Faded brake pads are less effective and hard to use. But it is important to understand why brakes fade. The first reason is because of pad glazing, which happens when the surface of the brake pads melts and hardens. This leaves a layer of dense, smooth material that slides easily across the rotor. A glazed pad is one that has lost its porous and flaky surface and is left with a hard, smooth surface that slides. When brake pads glaze, they need to be replaced.
Boiled brake fluid
Some people are surprised when they hear about boiled brake fluid. If you overuse and overwork your brakes, you can easily boil your brake fluid. When brake fluid boils, it results in air bubbles in the line of the brake, and while this fluid is not compressible in itself, but applying the principle of forced induction, the air is compressible. Those bubbles will result in a squishy brake pad and this leads to reduced squeezing force on the rotors. It can even get to a point where you push the pedal to the floor and it doesn't stop your vehicle.
How to achieve brake safety and longevity
There are a couple of things you can do to guarantee the safety and longevity of your brakes. On our first tip, we advise you at all times to bed your pads on to your rotors. Doing so ensures you have healthy brake wear between your brake pads and rotors. Manufacturers recommend doing a proper brake bedding to mate your pads to your rotors and increase the performance of your brakes.
Use lower gear over rising the brakes
One of the fastest ways to overheat your brake pads is to ride them when cruising down a long downhill section. Although it might be relatively mild braking, the sustained use with a break to ensure they cool off will overheat the pads and even boil the brake fluids. You will not be able to notice the effect on your brakes until they have faded and make a weird noise. Instead, shift down a gear or two, as doing so allows the compression of the engine and helps your vehicle slow down.
When choosing brake pads. you will have a decision to make between light or occasional towing, and regular or heavy towing. For light towing, you can go for Power Stop Truck and Tow Pads, or EBC Greenstuff Pads. For heavy towing, you can go for EBC Yellow Stuff Brake Pads and Hawk LTS Performance Pads.