Brakes in Winter

A couple things you should know about the things that stop you

As parts of the U.S. where people only knew snow only through repeated Disney+ viewings of Frozen are now, literally, frozen, an inclimate weather vehicle tip is in order.

The road salt or brine solutions (as in calcium chloride or magnesium chloride in a solution) applied to road surfaces can have a deleterious effect on a vehicle’s brakes. (Not that it is good for other metal parts, but that’s for another day.)

According to Goodyear Brakes (no, we didn’t know there was such a thing, either), salt can lead to corrosion on the rotors and calipers, especially on the original brakes on one’s vehicle.

The rust can have a negative consequence on performance (e.g., leading to the separation of the brake pad friction material from its backing).

So the firm (which, perhaps not surprisingly, offers rotors and calipers that have a proprietary anti-corrosion coating), offers these tips:

  • Wash your vehicle after driving through salted or brined areas. When the car wash offers the underbody wash for a couple bucks, take it. That area is key.
  • Given the choice between parking in a heated garage and outside in the cold, opt for the latter. Rust doesn’t like the cold, either. Oxidation is minimized in the freezing temps. Of course, you’ll be cold, but your brakes will be in better shape.
  • Lubricate all moving brake parts with a—

OK. Let’s face it. You’re probably not going to do that last bit, so let’s skip it.

Drive carefully.