My friends and I are arguing about what is best...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

My friends and I are arguing about what is best to prevent wear and tear on the car's brakes; whether to come to a stop very gradually over a longer distance, or to stop more suddenly but firmly. We appreciate your advice.

RAY: I think your question goes to show just how far we've come as a civilization, Ruth. We used to be worried about surviving; hunting for our next meal, protecting ourselves from attacks by wild beasts. And now look at us. We're arguing about stuff like this! It's wonderful, isn't it?

TOM: The answer is it doesn't make much difference. As long as your not slamming on the brakes (which causes damage for other reasons), the force times the distance pretty much equals out, and the break wear is the same no matter how long you take to stop the car.

RAY: But we recommend the more gradual method, because it's better for the REST of the car. As we explain in our pamphlet "Ten Way You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It," (you can get one by sending $3 and a SASE to...) the more gently you drive your car, the longer it will last.

TOM: Plus, the "gradual" method is by far the first choice among passengers, since it cuts down significantly on their Dramamine expenses.

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