# How to apply brakes so there is minimal wear and tear?

I am looking to conserve energy and increase brake pad life in the following scenario - Say I need to stop 500 meters from where I am at. Assume I am a very aware and an expert driver and that there is no other car behind me.

If I am driving at a speed of 70 kmph, which one of these will be the most effective ways to brake an automatic 2013 Camry :

• A) Slow and steady brake (which will include the slight engine brake that engages with constant decelaration) till the stop line.
• B) One swift braking action bringing the speed down to 50 and letting the car roll and finally bring it to stop with one swift brake.
• C) Applying (sudden and full?)brakes only when near the red light (and legally stopping behind the stop line).

Or is there another way of braking that will do the least wear and tear on the car ? Till date I have used A) but I am interested to know of better ways to brake even if it prolongs the life of the brakes even by 1%

• The physics of the situation imply that the answer is the one that minimizes the amount of energy that your brakes must absorb (which is essentially converted into heat and lost). Which means 'B' is the correct answer if you want to reduce the wear on your brakes. Options 'A' and 'C' are nearly the same, although 'C' may come out slightly ahead of 'A' in that sometimes the light may turn green before you need to stop, in which case you don't have to brake at all. Feb 11, 2016 at 5:42
• I'm concerned your question will be closed as a driving technique question. Perhaps you should edit it and focus on energy conservation and brake pad life. Feb 11, 2016 at 6:11
• @aroth isn't the energy the same in each situation (if we take away the engine/surface braking)? The key difference here would be how quickly kinetic energy is converted, as that would determine how hot the brakes get because of insufficient time for cooling down. I would go with A. Feb 11, 2016 at 8:12
• @IhavenoideawhatI'mdoing - The total amount of energy? Yes, that's the same. But it doesn't end up in the same place. In 'A' and 'C', basically all of the energy goes into/through the brake pads. In 'B', some (the first 20km/h of deceleration) of the energy goes into/through the brake pads. The rest is dissipated through other means, such as wind resistance (energy into the car's body and the surrounding air), the car's rolling resistance (energy into the axles, wheels, and road surface), etc.. If you want to send less energy into your brake pads, 'B' is what does it. Feb 11, 2016 at 8:21
• @aroth rolling and wind resistance does work in each case, but it will do most work in the case of a longest braking distance. By pressing the brake two times swiftly you send a lot of energy in to the pads. Wouldn't be so sure about B, it depends on the distance rolled and final speed before final brake. Feb 11, 2016 at 8:35