‘I’m a mechanic – these signs may mean your brakes are ruining your gas mileage’

An overlooked issue with the brake pads of the car could be the reason behind a driver’s poor gas mileage, a car mechanic has shared. 

According to Scotty Kilmer, one of the main reasons drivers see their gas mileage dwindle unexpectedly is due to issues with their brake system.

Brake pads will get sticky over time as they begin to wear out, applying resistance to the engine which is forced to work harder.

Furthermore, when the engine is forced to work harder it will be forced to burn more fuel and drivers get fewer miles out of each gallon. 

The car mechanic explained: “The brakes are supposed to […] do nothing while you’re driving down the road, then when you step on them they’re supposed to squeeze the rotors or the drums to make all the energy of the car turn into heart and stop the car.”

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As the car gets old, however, several of its components including the brakes will stick a lot of the time.

“Years ago I had a customer who was getting bad gas mileage in a BMW, I checked all kinds of stuff out and I really couldn’t find anything wrong with the car,” explained Kilmer.

Eventually, the mechanic took the car for a ride with the driver in the driver’s seat, to watch him operate the vehicle.

“He had one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake,” explained Kilmer, prompting him to ask the driver: “Why do you have one foot on the brake?”

To which the driver responded: “Well they taught us that way, one foot on the gas one foot on the brake.”

To confirm his suspicions Kilmer asked the driver to drive ahead while he followed him in another vehicle to check if the car’s brake lights would come on. They stayed on for almost the entire car journey.

“He was driving down the road with one foot on the road and one foot on the ga, and of course, he was getting bad gas mileage. Sticking brakes will do the same thing of course.”

How to tell if your brakes are sticking?

According to experts at Fixter, signs that the brakes are sticking include a feeling that the brakes are on while driving and a grinding noise originating from the wheels. 

The vehicle may also feel low on power or may slow down quickly by itself, warranting a visit to a mechanic.

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