Living in the Squamish valley in BC is easy.
Then there’s the driving.
Over the years we’ve grown accustomed to the many twists and turn, low shoulders, steep hills, and blind curves on the roads of the region, but it definitely takes more concentration than the straight open highways of the flatter lands. Not to mention the extremities of Mother Nature in Squamish – most especially – in mountainous regions.
While we recommend ensuring that any vehicle you drive is in good working order driving in these parts, we wanted to pay extra attention today to the importance of your brakes, since they can be easily overworked on the many downhill portions of road.
Today, with that in mind, we’ll be covering tips to ensure that you are utilizing your brakes and transmission in the most effective manner.
Proper Brake Maintenance
First a note about proper care of your brakes. In these parts, brakes need to be serviced on a regular basis at intervals twice the rate of regular, flat-land driving.
For example, if your brake replacement recommendation is 50,000 miles , you’ll need to cut that in half to 25,000 miles if a good portion of your driving involves sustained downhill driving.
Why the increase?
Because continuous downhill braking applies some heavy wear and tear on your front and rear brakes to the point where thin brakes can quickly overheat and fail without much prior indication.
Key Tip: Before you leave on your driving adventure, make sure you have a good roadside service company on speed-dial in Squamish while driving here – just in case.
Save your brakes
While proper servicing is key, there are some driving techniques that can help extend the service life of your brakes by utilizing the braking capacity of your vehicle’s transmission.
For Automatic Vehicles
- Your car will automatically change to the lower gear when you want to move on a mountain. This automatic shift can damage the transmission of your car. So, to avoid this, the speed should be reduced before shifting.
- To maintain a safe speed, press the brakes lightly to slow the vehicle down, and then coast to increase the speed. Keep doing this until you have gotten back to smooth/flat roads.
- As soon as you have gotten back to flat roads, return your gear to drive.
Key Tip: Vehicles do not find it easy on 6% grades. If you notice that your car cannot accelerate quickly when moving up the hills, the best option may be to turn the A/C off so that your car gets more power. Your brakes should not be ridden down steep hills as it can result in malfunctioning. Watch the gauge of your temperature and give enough space between you and vehicles behind and in front of you.
For Manual Vehicles
- Shift to a gear that can help the car to maintain a certain speed even if your feet are off the pedals. If the vehicle accelerates too fast, then the lower gear would be the best option.
- To avoid applying brakes frequently, use the low gear for your car. When you use your brake too often, they can begin to overheat. This applies to both manual and automatic vehicles.
The safety of your brake is always important, and not only when are driving 1-70. If you are driving in town, ensure that your brakes are not being slammed in the last second/minute. Before you apply your brakes, slow down the vehicle well so that the brake will have no tear.
Additionally, always remember to leave enough space between you and cars in front and behind you. Many people have had their cars hit from behind because they did not leave enough space for the driver behind them to stop in time.