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duct tape rear view mirror

12 Reasons to ALWAYS Keep a Roll of Duct Tape in Your Car

“Houston, we’ve had a problem.” In 1975 the infamous Apollo 13 mission was in trouble. After an an oxygen tank exploded, the crew was forced to abort their planned moon landing, and return to Earth. The problem was that they only had enough oxygen for two days, and the trip would take four.

So, how did the crew fix the problem, and make it back to Earth alive? You could say they owe their lives to duct tape, which was used to fix the air filtration system.

Duct tape is incredibly strong, waterproof, and easy to tear. These qualities give it limitless potential uses, and it can really save you in a pinch. If duct tape is important enough to be carried on every space mission since the early 1960’s, I definitely think you should keep a roll in your car!

Here are some Apollo 13-like hacks for using duct tape to fix your car:

bumper fix duct tape

Fix bodywork after an accident

It’s your worst nightmare scenario, you’re at a stop sign and someone rolls right into the back of you. Your rear bumper is cracked and partially hanging off its mounts.

You can’t drive your car with the bumper dragging on the road. Do you rip it off and create even more damage just to get home, or do you whack out the duct tape and put a couple of strips over the flailing bumper?

A few feet of duct tape will hold your bumper on long enough to get your car home, or to the nearest service station.


Patch up your exhaust:

If you have an older car, this is bound to have happened to you at some point in your life.
You’re driving along when suddenly there’s a loud clang and sparks start flying from the back of your car.

Pulling over to see what the hell has happened, you realise that an exhaust mount has snapped. Thankfully, you carry a roll of duct tape with you! So, you can easily secure it, allowing you to make it to the garage so they can fix it properly.


Stop a coolant leak:

car hose fix duct tape

Your top hose splits in your engine bay, coolant is shooting out all over the place and you grind to a halt in a glorious puff of steam.

Have no  fear, you have your trust duct tape with you. Patching it up with a few wraps, you’re good to limp home. You could also do the same if your washer jets have a snagged and damaged hose.


8 More Reasons to Carry Duct Tape In Your Car

That’s just three big reasons we can think of, but there’s countless more potential duct tape hacks for your car. Imagine that…

  • Someone hits breaks off your rearview mirror in a parking lot? Duct tape it back on
  • Your window mechanism fails and you can’t keep the glass fully up? Use duct tape
  • There’s a big rip in the vinyl or cloth upholstery of your seat? Duct tape it
  • Your hood or trunk latch stops working while you’re out and about? Try duct tape
  • There’s a crack in your bumper that makes a whistling noise when you drive? Use duct tape
  • Some interior trim comes loose in your car? Duct tape it.
  • Someone backs into your bumper or headlight, and it’s hanging awkwardly? Duct tape it
  • You’re hauling kayaks to the lake and notice one of them has a small crack or is missing a drain plug? Duct tape it
  • Your kids won’t stop screaming in the backseat, and you just want their mouths to stay shut? DON’T use duct tape! 

You name it, duct tape can usually fix it.


Duct Tape Can Save Your Own Earthly “Apollo” Mission:

car use duct tape

Car issues can quickly become serious, especially if you can’t get cell reception, or if your phone dies.

Even if you aren’t mechanically minded you can still patch up and limp home, or it will hold until you can find someone else to help if you’re in the wilds.


Demonstration of the Uses for Duct Tape on an Old Car: (video)

There’s also specialist types of duct tape too. Even though the normal stuff will see you through most eventualities, you may want to think about buying some aluminum duct tape for high heat scenarios.

Also, Foil duct tape will patch up cracks in your exhaust and last far longer than the ordinary webbed tape.

So there you have it, a bunch of damn good reasons why you should put a small roll of ultra-sticky, (possibly lifesaving) duct tape in your glovebox.

You know it makes sense.

Related:

best color car resale value

Car Resale Value: BEST + WORST Color Choices

The Best Car Colors for Resale Value: Blue, black, and red may be the most popular colors for first-time car buyers, but when it comes to maintaining value, these popular colors aren’t at the top of the list.

When it’s time to upgrade your vehicle and get a brand new one, there’s one pesky little thing that you need to do first. Selling a secondhand car is a difficult feat, especially if you want to get the very best price for your vehicle. You might think that finding a buyer will be easy, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, there are a whole load of things that can affect the sale of your car, not least what color it happens to be.

Used cars of ALL colors lose value quickly

First of all, let’s talk about the basics. Every car that you buy will lose its value over time. That is the very nature of this type of investment. The more time that you use a particular vehicle, the more the value of it will depreciate.

On average, you will find that an average car or truck loses about 30% of its overall value over the course of three-year period. So, if you buy a car for the at a cost of $33,000 and keep it for three years, it will decrease by around $9,834. That means that you should expect a resale value of around $23,166.

But wait… What about the color?

While you may never have considered it before now, the color of your vehicle can actually impact its value. In the past, people have generally thought that inoffensive colors, such as blue, red, and black will fetch the highest price, but that may not be the case. In fact, according to a recent study by iSeeCars, it’s the bright, attractive colors that will gain the highest price tag on the secondhand car market.

What color of used car holds value the best?

orange car resale value

So, what color car will be worth the most when it’s sold as a secondhand vehicle? Well, according to this research the color is… *drum roll*… orange!

Yep, the bright and rather outlandish color has the lowest depreciation value coming in at just 21.6% over that same three-year period. What that means is that if you buy an orange or yellow car, you will likely be able to sell it for a little more when the time comes to upgrade.

If you’re not quite daring enough to nab yourself an orange car, what other vehicles should you consider? Well, green, came in after yellow at a respectable 25% depreciation. The takeaway message is that you should choose colors that are more ‘out there’ rather than neutral tones. Although this may seem somewhat counterproductive, it may just be worth it if you want to get the very best resale value for your car.

If we go just a little further down the list from this particular piece of research, there are some plainer colors. Just below the top four, there is red, gray, white and blue. Although these are among the most popular colors of cars on the road, they rank about “average” when it comes to resale value.

What color car is the WORST for resale?

worst car color resale car

In fact, the car color that will depreciate the most is actually gold. Used cars that are painted gold lose a whopping 33.5% of their retail value over a three-year period. Gold might be a good way to protect your savings in times of inflation or turmoil, but it’s not a good investment when chosing a car color. Yikes. If I were you, I wouldn’t go buying a gold car anytime soon!

Why do orange and yellow cars maintain more value?

So, what on earth is the deal with people wanting used orange cars? There are a couple of theories as to why people are willing to fork out more of their hard-earned cash for brightly colored vehicles. The first is that people generally associate loud colors with speed and energy. That means that when they see a bright car, they automatically think that it’s faster and more efficient than other vehicles.

The other theory is easy to grasp. Basically, since the other colors (your blues, black, and reds) are more popular for people buying their first cars, the market is saturated with them. When you start looking for a secondhand vehicle, you will soon notice that there’s no shortage of cars in these colors out there.

It could be that people are willing to spend more money on a vehicle that appears to be ‘original’, i.e. not the same color as every other one they’ve seen so far. Interesting, right?

Maybe fruit colors like orange, yellow, and green look fresher?

car resale value orange best

My personal theory is that people see these bright colors are being “fresh,” like they’re picking out fruit at the market. That might also be why most cleaning sprays and liquids have a citrus smell. (Although, hopefully people don’t start thinking about “lemons” looking at your yellow used car!) It might sound a little odd, but sometimes there is just no accounting for human psychology.

When it comes to buying a new car, you should of course take into consideration how much you can sell it for when you need to do so. The resale value is something that far too many people overlook when it comes to buying a car or truck. Still, you absolutely need to work out what will be best for your finances before you do anything. After all, buying a car is a massive investment and you need to know that your money is well-spent!

how check power steering fluid

Power Steering Fluid: How to Check + Flush Yourself – DIY Video

What is power steering fluid, and how do you check it? Most people rarely think twice about the power steering unit they have in their vehicle, mainly because it’s not a maintenance issue that commonly gets brought up. However, power steering might be one of the most important functions of your car, because if you’re not able to successfully navigate the wheel quickly, your car is an accident waiting to happen.

How to check power steering fluid:


If you can’t see inside to examine your fluid, a good way to check is to use a turkey baster and look at the fluid that you pull out from inside the baster.

If the fluid is lighter in color and doesn’t give off a burnt smell, then you probably just need to add more fluid to what you already have. As long as the fluid isn’t dirty and isn’t burnt, it’s usually still good to use.

If your fluid is a darker brown or black color and smells like something that was pulled from a fire, however, that’s when you might need to flush your power steering fluid. One common way to replace your fluid is to simply remove the contaminated fluid with the turkey baster and replace it with newer fluid. If you’re only somewhat savvy when it comes to cars, this method of replacement rather than a full flush is a much safer way for you to handle your car’s maintenance.

How to FLUSH power steering fluid:


If you know what you’re doing when it comes to cars, however, a full power steering flush makes sense. The best way to do a proper flush requires the help of a friend who you can trust to start the car while you examine the fluid.

  • Disconnect the main low-pressure hose from the steering pump, allowing the contaminated fluid to drip out of the bottom.
  • Add enough new fluid to fill the system to the halfway mark, making sure that you’ve filled the steering system to the halfway point before starting the vehicle.
  • Once you have the system at the halfway point, have your friend start the vehicle to get the power steering pump engaged.
  • For best results, you’ll want your friend to turn the steering wheel back and forth to help get the new fluid pumping through the system.
  • As this is happening, you’ll notice the old fluid coming out of the back to be replaced by the new fluid. What you need to watch for when you replace power steering fluid is the color of the fluid that’s coming out of the system.
  • Once the color that comes out matches what you know is new fluid, then this part of the job is done and it’s time to get the hoses reattached.

Power steering change cost

For some people, the average power steering fluid change cost of $115 isn’t something that bothers them, but if you’re the type that doesn’t mind getting your hands dirty, it’s a relatively simple process that can lead to some moderate savings.

In fact, you can check the monthly flyer of stores like Advance Auto Parts to see if they have any on sale in-store. If you’re lucky, one of their mechanics might even check it for free at your local store.

The first thing to know about a power steering fluid change is that it’s not always necessary to go for a full flush. In order to know if a full flush is necessary, it’s a good idea to take a look at the existing fluid that’s already in your power steering system.

Test your power steering

However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the job is done and getting right back on the road immediately after you complete a power steering fluid change. Once you think you’ve removed all of the contaminated fluid from the system, it’s time to put the cap back on and test the steering with the car in a safe area.

Make sure that the wheel turns smoothly in each direction. When you operate the wheel, it should be easy to turn, with no difficulty in changing direction. If you find yourself getting stuck making a turn and having to use incredible force to complete it, that’s a sign that you might have a bigger steering problem.

Checking & flushing your power steering fluid is an important habit!

When you really think about it, the decision to replace power steering fluid is mostly about common sense. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a very straightforward maintenance procedure that you can do at home. If you can read a dipstick and determine how much fluid to add, managing your power steering fluid and keeping yourself and others safe on the road won’t be a difficult task at all!

How Long Do Car Batteries Last? How To Tell If It’s Bad + When to Replace

How to tell if car battery is bad, how long it should last: Your car’s battery is one of those things you don’t think about much until something goes wrong. If you’ve ever left your lights on accidentally and drained your battery, you know what an awful feeling it is to be stranded with a dead car.

Most car owners know how important the battery is to their car’s lifespan, but few are aware of when the right time to change the battery is, because (like determining how long your brakes will last) there isn’t a set time frame for how long a car battery should last.

For most drivers, a car battery should last three years or more, but there isn’t any way to know what end of the scale your battery will fall on until it starts to show signs of aging. For that reason, it’s important to pay attention to what your car and your battery are telling you.

Corrosion: a sign your car battery is dying:

One of the easiest signs of how to tell if a car battery is bad is the presence of corrosion on the battery itself. Even though batteries require acid in order to function properly, they don’t corrode around the cables unless there’s a sign of a leak. Not only is car battery corrosion terrible for your battery, but it’s also a major problem for your car.

If the acid leak is able to mess with the metal that makes up your battery, you can imagine what it’s doing to the other parts of your car that you need to function properly in order to drive. If left untreated, that corrosion can cause a major problem for the rest of your car, causing you to have to return to your auto mechanic for a repair that you could have avoided.

how long car batteries last

How to tell if a car battery is bad: Slow engine crank

Unfortunately, there aren’t always visible signs your car battery is dying, so it’s important to pay attention to any sign of trouble when you attempt to start your car. If you’re having trouble getting the car to start in the morning (engine doesn’t rollover quickly on first attempt) and it’s not a particularly cold day, that’s a sign that you almost certainly have a battery problem. A weak or dying battery might make the car sound like it’s struggling to start up.

Also, f you can’t get any lights to turn on fully in the car when you turn the key, the battery is almost surely the culprit.

Even if the car ends up starting after a few cranks, you don’t want to push your luck. One instance means that it’s time to start checking around to see how much car batteries cost (see below) and planning your budget appropriately. A second instance within a short time frame means that your waiting period has expired. When that happens, you need to test or replace your battery as soon as possible.

The last thing you want to have happen when you’re trying to figure out when to replace a car battery is to discover that you waited too long to replace the battery and you’re stranded with a car that won’t start.

Sign you need to replace your car battery: Low battery fluid level

Looking at the battery is also important because it shows you the fluid that you have inside the battery, which is one of the most vital parts of the battery’s life span. If you can’t see the fluid in the battery’s translucent case, (if the fluid is visibly below the lead plates inside) that’s a sure sign that your battery is living on borrowed time, and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to purchase a new battery to keep your car moving.

Another sign: Your Battery or “Check Engine” Light Is On

This seems like it would be an obvious message that you need to replace your battery, but think of it more as a hint. If your dashboard lights up with a battery symbol, take it to a mechanic right away. They can determine what part of your electrical system is the problem and causing the battery light to go on. Keep in mind that it’s not always your battery’s fault! 

A good battery should last 3-5 years

vintage pin up car girl holding wrench wearing heelsFinally, sometimes you simply get an excellent battery that features a long life and shows no signs of problems even through its third year. If you don’t live in an area with harsh seasonal climates and driving conditions or put a lot of miles on your car, your battery should last longer.

Good batteries have warranties of at least 3 years, and upwards of 5 years. 

What if it’s been 3 years since you’ve had your car’s battery replaced? You don’t need to replace a battery that has never had a sign of an issue, but you should take an older battery in to get tested by a trusted mechanic. If you have an AutoZone, Pep Boys, or Advance Auto Parts store near you, they will check your battery for free. It just takes a few minutes, and if your battery is shot, they can also quickly replace it for you. After being stranded recently when my car wouldn’t start in a strip mall parking lot, I also recently learned that they will test your car battery for free at most of those Bulbs & Batteries stores. Who knew!?

A full test by any qualified mechanic will let you know if your battery’s good fortune is likely to continue and help you decide whether a new car battery is something that you should plan for sooner rather than later. If the problem isn’t your battery, they’ll also be able to test your electrical system including your car’s starter and alternator.

How much do car batteries cost?

how much car battery costFirst of all, get a good brand name car battery like Autocraft or Duracell, even though it costs more. You should plan on spending about $100-150 total to replace a car battery, and don’t try to save $30 by getting something cheap!

If you aren’t leaving your old battery, some automotive stores, including Advance Auto Parts, will add on what’s called a core charge,” of an extra $20 or so. This is a policy that encourages the recycling and proper disposal of old batteries, as they are filled with lead and acid, and nasty things to just throw in a landfill or field!

If you place your order online at advanceautoparts.com, you can get the core charge refunded if you bring the old battery along with your receipt, to your nearest store location. They also have deals in their monthly flyer and online coupons for up to 30% off site-wide including batteries, although you’ll have to pick it up in-store.

AutoZone has an ongoing 20% off $100 coupon code, but once again, you’ll probably have to choose in-store pickup due to safety regulations with the mail.

Plan ahead; don’t wait until your car battery dies to replace it!

No matter what your car battery’s situation is, it’s never something to be ignored. If your battery does die on you, it’s going to cause some serious problems for you on the day it happens. When you’re trying to decide when to replace a car battery, it’s always best to be proactive and have your solution ready to go, rather than waiting for disaster to happen.

ugliest cars 1970s featured

Top 10 Ugliest Cars of the 1970’s: So UGLY They’re Iconic!

farrah fawcett poster_1976Who would have thought that a decade that produced beauties like Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs would produce a list of such ugly cars! Actually, it seems like the cars of the 70’s were largely influenced by the culture around them.

There was an ugly hangover from the Summer of Love that produced domestic turmoil including protests and the rise of cults.

When mixed with the new desire for fuel efficiency resulting from the oil embargo, the auto industry responded with a Frankenstein mix of the past and future that you could call, retro-futurism. This created some car designs that were as disjointed as American society, and so ugly that some even became became iconic.

Here’s our list of the top 10 ugliest popular cars of the 70’s:

amc gremlin ad ugly car

Ugly 70’s Car #1: AMC Gremlin (1975 shown)

AMC’s design Chief, Richard Teague, kicked off the 1970’s by introducing the Gremlin. Fittingly,  he reportedly first sketched out the design for the Gremlin onto a barf bag while on an airplane.

He later described it as, “cute or controversial – depending on one’s viewpoint.” The car also apparently had the knack of attracting beautiful young ladies who instinctively made human-pyramids next to it. Not bad for a car that cost about $2000 with taxes!

The design was basically an AMC Hornet with the back end hacked off, and so the backseat was only big enough to accommodate 2 small children. In spite of this, the Gremlin eventually solidified its iconic place in pop culture, even though it was one of the ugliest cars ever designed.



amc_pacer_ugly_1970s_car

Ugly 70’s Car #2: AMC Pacer

The Pacer adds another hatchback to the list of the 70’s ugliest cars, but this one takes weird to a whole new level. (as if having Brigitte Bardot in their ads wasn’t weird enough) To start, I am obligated to mention the passenger door being larger than the driver-side door, extending into the back seat on the passenger side for an assumed “convenience.”

The curved, bubble-icious back end of the car finishes it off with a streamline shape more reminiscent of a blob or maybe a suppository. Like the Gremlin, the Pacer is one of the most iconic, ugly hatchbacks from the 70’s.



pinto cruising wagon ugly 70s car

Ugly 70’s Car #3: Pinto Cruising Wagon

Here we go with that futuristic station wagon look again… Hey, I think that girl in the car is even texting! It’s almost as if people of the 70’s wanted to skip over all of the great 1970’s events like the oil embargo, Iran hostage crisis, & Jimmy Carter Administration and go right into the 80’s for some reason!?

Anyway, the Pinto cruising wagon was the station wagon version of the notorious Ford Pinto. Unlike its ugly relative, the Ford Country Squire (see below) that was seen squiring the Griswold’s around the country, this wagon has a more modern flare… or at least had.

This car is just another stunning example of how 1970’s futuristic became modern retro. It even had the unsafe dual-bubble windows in the back for some unknown purpose. But hey, they looked cool, and cheerleaders loved them!


ford country squire ad ugly car

Ugly 70s Car #4: Ford Country Squire (1978 shown)

griswold national lampoons station wagonBest known as the the car from National Lampoon’s Vacation, the County Squire was a full size station wagon that Ford started building in the 50’s. Things went downhill with looks and performance in the 70’s, with their 6th generation Ford Country Squires.

Ford dropped the real wood trim long ago, (too expensive) and instead you get that shiny laminate-looking stuff on the sides to accentuate the lines of this beauty. Also, engineers at Ford dropped a full 100 horsepower from the engine while at the same time increasing its size and weight. The sassy young girl in their magazine ad (above) doesn’t seem to mind the sluggish performance, as she literally has stopped in her tracks to take a look!



ford pinto ugly 70s car

Ugliest 70’s Car #5: Ford Pinto Hatchback

The third hatchback added to the list is the Ford Pinto, which ended up killing more people than Jim Jones in the seventies. This car shared all the usual features with its fellow hatchbacks, but also had one revolutionary feature of its own; The Pinto had rear-facing gas tanks that were known to burst into flames in the event of rear collisions. (is that why the surfer-girls’ loins are apparently on fire in the ad above?) 

So with the fireball feature along with its wonderful color choices ranging from vomit green to stale mustard yellow the Pinto cemented its place not only as one of the ugliest cars of the 1970’s but also as possibly the most unsafe.


chevy el camino ugly car 70s

Ugly 1970’s Car #6: Chevy El Camino

It’s a truck! It’s a car! It’s… It’s… Really ugly!

The El Camino was the first of its kind. The pickup truck bed feature combined with a medium sized sedan. It is now a collector favorite, but I think its user-friendly storage feature is what truly allows it to hold a place on the list of ugliest cars of the 1970’s.

This car seemed to have little to no thought put forth when being designed. I understand the idea of combining the truck bed idea to a sedan, that part is clear. What isn’t so clear is why would they do such a thing? Would people really roll up to a construction site in one these with a bed full of tools?

Most people that want a sedan want a sedan for the seats and the size being more manageable. This car simply denies its user of the most useful features of both types of vehicles. But, at least you can put some stuff in the back.



vw thing ad ugly car

Ugly 1970’s Car #7: The Volkswagen Thing

Wow, the hippies in this early 1970’s ad for “Thing” don’t look very safe or happy! Maybe they’re still bummed about the whole Charles Manson thing, and just looking to blow off some steam by killing themselves in an accident. (Come on, if you really want to die, you should have just bought a Ford Pinto!) 

This vehicle is in a way appreciated for its lack of beauty. Kind of a 70’s rebellion against conventional aesthetics, or the Viet Name War, or something profound like that. The Thing, or “Volkswagen type 181″ is a soft top rugged vehicle that reminds many of those army jeeps generals used to tear around in to yell at new recruits.

The Thing was apparently quite reliable; great for off-road travel, and had a comfortable interior. It was only sold in the US for a short time but had a longer run internationally.

oldsmobile cutlass ugly car 1972

Ugly 70’s Car #8: Oldsmobile Cutlass

While creating this list I knew I would have to decide on one 1970’s sedan to really encompass that boring, lack luster, two door sedan of the 70’s. Any film or TV show had them in the background. They usually were driven by the bad guys or just parked on the street. They may have been hard to spot given the usual color palate of a range of baby foods. So with all of that being said I feel as if the Oldsmobile Cutlass will fit the bill as one of the 70’s worst designs.



chrysler cordoba ugly car

Ugly 1970’s Car #9: Chrysler Cordoba

Behold the Cordoba; one of Chrysler’s bad decisions that led it to bankruptcy in the 1980’s. More amazing than the uninspired design of this luxury car is the pure scale of it. The Cordoba measures an astounding 18+ feet long, which is bigger than a modern GMC Yukon! (and some how it only sat 4 people, while the Yukon seats up to 9!) That’s just 4 feet shorter than one of those mini-Winnebago’s! This two-door only got about 13 mpg, which wasn’t ideal during the Oil Embargo. It’s fitting that the decade that produced The Love Boat should have also also created the Cordoba; a not so “lovely” boat.


subaru gl wagon ugly 1970s_car

Ugly 1970s Car #10 · GL Wagon

Somehow the Subaru GL Wagon managed to combine a hatchback “style” with a station wagon “efficiency,” while still being short on leg room. Look at the disjointed lines on that thing!

This car design definitely didn’t live up to the other more-inspired designs that came out of Japan at this time, but at least it’s not huge like most other station wagons of the 1970’s. Well, (as seen in the photo) at least they put this car “out to pasture” after the 70’s.

brady bunch 1970s

Well, the 70’s were a crazy time, and I guess I’d expect nothing less than weirdness carrying through to the auto industry. It’s fitting that the whole decade ended in disco demolition night, and then a new kind of weirdness with plenty of ugly designs of its own started in the 1980s.

Ok, now you have to go eat a mint, or maybe look at some sweet vintage pinups with cars to cleanse the palette.

By Missy Woodruff


Thanks for reading out list of the ugliest cars from the 1970’s. Please consider using our coupons to buy parts for your aesthetically pleasing, well-designed, new car at top stores like Advance Auto (coupons), Pep Boys, and AutoZone (coupons). You can get up to a 30% discount and free shipping!

how long do car brakes last

How Long Do Car Brakes Last? Maybe An Extra 20k Miles w/ These Tips

You know that you can’t afford to have unreliable brakes, but this begs a very important question: how long do brakes last?

Automotive engineers have not defined a firm lifespan for our brakes, presumably because there are a lot of variables involved.

Evidence of this frustratingly vague guidance is evident in a study from Toyota, estimating their brake pads can last anywhere from 25,000 miles to 70,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

*Thanks a lot. That 30k difference between the low and high estimate is more than the circumference of the Earth!

However, how long your brakes last depend on the type of car you drive and how you drive as well. Maybe you can’t trade in your jalopy for a new Mercedes, but there are plenty of things you can do on your own to improve the lifespan of your brakes.

Specific brands and makes of brakes will reveal more specific estimates for how long they will last, but a lot of it has to do with the driver. In fact, some motorists have made their 30k+ mile brakes last for 90,000 miles and more with conscientious driving highlighted in the following tips and tricks!

Make Your Brakes Last Longer: Slow Down

speedometerAttention: your need for speed is killing your brake pads! 

The higher your speed, the shorter your reaction time, and the longer it takes to fully stop your car. Not only is speeding dangerous, but it puts massive of wear and tear on your brake pads.

The physics behind our brakes shows that car brakes turn their kinetic (motion) energy into heat. So, when you stop your car at high speeds, your brakes expend more heat energy, wearing down your brake pads more.

Try these tips for easing up on the road:

  • Stay within the speed limit (*Not to mention that a single speeding ticket can cost you more than new brakes!) 
  • Coast when you can, especially downhill
  • Don’t tailgate: Keep a safe distance between yourself and other cars to avoid any sudden braking. Tailgating is murder on your brakes, as you’re giving yourself very little reaction time to slow down or stop
  • Refrain from road rage. If you are out of control, your car will suffer too!
  • Look ahead and anticipate upcoming traffic lights: This is a great time to coast to a smooth stop

how long brakes last cheap car

Remove Any Excess Weight From Your Car

How long do brakes last for heavy cars? Well, not as long as lighter cars! The heavier your car is, the more stress is put on your brakes.

You learned that your car and brakes operate on kinetic energy, which is simply energy derived from motion.

The amount of kinetic energy is dictated by the overall weight of your vehicle, so, the more excess weight your car has the more kinetic energy it needs to generate to function properly. In layman’s terms: the heavier your car is, the the shorter your brakes will last.

This weight only puts more pressure on your brakes and brake pads, and that wear and tear is worsened with continuous speeding or reckless driving.

Check your car to see if you’re lugging around extra weight you don’t need, such as exercise equipment, gallons of water, power tools, and other heavy items. The extra weight is straining your fuel efficiency, too!

Don’t Use Your LEFT Foot for the Brake Pedal!

This is something you need to make a habit of.

When you break with your left foot, you’re more inclined to have pressure on both pedals at the same time. Even if your right foot is just lightly resting on the accelerator while you brake, you’re fighting against your braking system.

It’s like having the AC and the heat on at the same time in your house, and this just turns up the pressure even more on your car and brake pads.

brakes last harsh weather

How Long Do Brakes Last in Harsh Weather?

Not as long as in good weather! If you live somewhere with long winters, you’re probably looking at the lower end of the estimate for how long your brakes will last. Extreme temperatures are hard on your brakes, and the salt on winter roads is brutal on brake pads and drums, and rotors, shortening their lifespan.

You can’t mess around with driving in bad weather. You need a reliable car to last through blizzards, icy roads, and trips to the mountains. The money you are saving by trying to stretch out your tires or brake pads is nothing compared to the cost of a single accident.

When driving up and over snowy hills, make sure your car is in the right gear for safe incline driving while periodically putting minor pressure on your brake pads.

Another important thing to remember is to fill and flush your brake fluid periodically to extend the life of your brakes.

When your brakes create too much heat energy, it depletes your brake fluid supply. On the flip side, if you don’t change your brake fluid enough, it will eventually dilute with moisture and lose its effectiveness.

Also, if you notice that your brake pedal feel “spongy,” or soft, it means there’s air in the line, and needs attention. “Bleeding” the brakes / brake fluid change costs about $80-100, but it will fix both of these issues, and will extend the life of your brakes.

Don’t Try to Save a Buck & Get Cheap Brakes

If you’re trying to decide between Wearever Gold brakes and something made in China that has a blurry photo of Michael Jackson on the packaging, you need to stop being stingy.

Spend the extra money on a trusted brand name, and consider researching reviews and ratings from trusted sites like Consumer Reports.

If you do want to save money, get the good brakes, and use a coupon at these top auto parts stores:

Also, doing your own brake check-ups, or getting them done for free at a local Advance Auto Parts or AutoZone is all you need to make sure they’re operating and stopping properly all year round. Follow these simple tips to keep your brakes working longer and your time in the car safer.

Photo credit: Pixabay.com