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Slamming on the brakes is not only bad for your car but also incredibly dangerous to you and your passengers. Forcing the wheels to stop moving can damage your tires and your brake system. On top of that, the whiplash from suddenly stopping can cause neck and head injuries.

Here’s a list of some of the things that could happen when you suddenly slam on the brakes:

  • Your driveshaft could dislocate
  • Your tires could wear out
  • Your anti-lock braking system could trigger incorrectly
  • Your brake pads might break
  • You’re more likely to get into an accident
  • Your brake hoses could crack

Let’s discuss each consequence in detail and how they could affect your ride.

What Could Happen When You Slam on the Brakes Often?

mechanic with a worn out brake pad caused by sudden braking
Slamming the brakes frequently is a surefire way to destroy your brake pads.

Brakes give drivers extra control over their vehicles, enabling them to stop and preventing them from getting into accidents.

However, slamming on the brakes has the potential to put drivers in even more trouble. Here’s a list of the worst things that could happen if you slam your brakes frequently:

Dislocated Driveshaft

Because the driveshaft is the part that lets the wheels move and rotate, it’s affected when the brakes are slammed. If the wheels were to suddenly stop, the driveshaft runs the risk of getting damaged.

Slamming on the brakes too often could dislocate the driveshaft if not outright break it.

While you can still drive your vehicle with a damaged driveshaft, you might feel friction and vibration when you accelerate. It’s also not unheard of to feel an abnormal resistance when you make turns around corners and hear loud squeaky noises from within your vehicle.

Ruined Tires

When you slam on the brakes, the momentum of your vehicle will push it forward, but the stationary wheels will skid along the pavement to create friction.

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Not only does slamming the brakes create an ear-piercing squealing sound, but it also shreds your tires, making them smoother and flatter.

Smooth tires won’t give the driver as much control over their vehicle, especially on wet and slippery surfaces. Tires need traction, and smooth tires don’t have anywhere near as much.

Triggered Anti-Lock Braking System

Your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system, also known as ABS, is designed to prevent your wheels from locking up. If the wheels lock up while the vehicle itself is still in motion, then the vehicle will skid and spiral out of control.

Slamming the brakes can trigger your ABS when you don’t want it to. That’s why it’s safer to drive at a reasonable speed and minimize brake usage.

Worn-Out Brake Pads

Slamming the brakes frequently is a surefire way to destroy your brake pads. Whenever you press the brakes, the brake pads are pushed toward the rotors to create enough friction to stop them.

Slamming the brakes means pushing the brake pads with more force than necessary, putting extra strain on your brake system. The increased friction can cause the brake system to overheat, making the pads wear down even faster. In addition, the rotors will also heat up and become more susceptible to damage. This means you might have to get your brake pads replaced sooner rather than later.

The rotors will also heat up (from increased friction) and become more susceptible to damage. This means you might have to get your brake pads replaced sooner rather than later.

Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

Increased Risk of Accidents

Drivers often slam their brakes in emergencies, such as when they lose control of their vehicle or when they’re about to crash into something. However, while slamming the brakes could prevent immediate accidents, it can still cause injuries and problems.

For example, if a school bus driver slams on the brakes, there’s a good chance that any students that aren’t wearing their seatbelts will stumble and fall right out of their seats. The sudden motion causes whiplash, which means passengers are at risk of head, neck, or even brain damage.

See also  How to Replace Front Brake Pads

Broken Brake Hoses

Hitting the brakes (or slamming them) causes brake fluid to travel through the brake hoses, which helps stop your vehicle. It also generates heat and pressure.

When you slam the brakes frequently, the buildup of heat and pressure in the brake hose can become great enough to cause tears and cracks, assuming this doesn’t destroy the brakes outright.

If this happens, your brake fluids will leak, which can corrode the brake pads. Simultaneously, if your vehicle doesn’t have enough brake fluid, your brakes will likely become less responsive, putting you and your vehicle at risk.

Driving Tips to Reduce Brake Wear and Damage

 Making small changes to your driving habits can minimize the need for brake slamming, reducing the need for repairs. It also improves safety on the road, so consider these tips and tricks.

Drive With One Foot

Whenever you drive, make sure you step on the pedals of your vehicle with one foot. Pressing the accelerator and brake pedal simultaneously causes a lot of friction in the brake system, damaging it in the process.

Similarly, if you have to step on the brakes, make sure you step on them with your right foot. It’s a safer driving practice to keep your left foot idle and on the floor at all times.

It might be tempting to drive with two feet, but you run the risk of accelerating when you intend to brake, increasing the risk of getting into an accident.

Minimize the Load

Vehicles with a ton of cargo are harder to stop than vehicles with minimal load. The greater the load, the more strain it puts on the brake system.

In other words, the lifespan of your brakes will increase and it’ll be easier to control your vehicle if you travel light.

Slow Down Before Stopping

driver slowly stopping car
If you need to stop your vehicle immediately, it wouldn’t hurt your vehicle to coast a little.

If you need to stop your vehicle immediately, it wouldn’t hurt your vehicle to coast a little. This means letting your vehicle slow down before coming to a stop, putting less strain on the brake pads.

See also  How Do Car Brakes Work?

Drive Slower

When you drive too quickly, you can easily lose control of your vehicle. So you’re more likely to slam your brakes to prevent accidents.

On the other hand, if you were to drive a slower vehicle, you’ll likely use your brakes less frequently. Even if you do, slow vehicles are easier to stop. This means less strain on your vehicle’s brake system.

Plus, driving slowly means you’ll be able to take in your surroundings more carefully, reducing the risk of accidents.

Other Ways to Prevent Brake Problems

Besides changing your driving habit, staying on top of your brake system maintenance also prevents brake wear and damage.

Change Your Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is essential in keeping your brake system lubricated and functional. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever.

Water will build up in your brake fluid over time, reducing its overall effectiveness. To keep your brake system fully functional, you must flush your brakes every two years.

Commit to Regular Maintenance

Even if you were to drive carefully, the brakes of your vehicle will inevitably wear down the more you use them. It’s a good practice to bring your ride to an auto repair shop at least once or twice a year to see if there’s anything wrong with it.

On average, brakes need to be checked and replaced every 20,000 miles. Still, if your vehicle’s braking systems display unusual symptoms like screeching grinding noises when you hit the brakes, it wouldn’t hurt to get your daily driver checked early.

Check out this video to know more about how car brakes work:

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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