brake fluid boil brake fade towing

Towing Safety & Tips: Brake Fade and Brake Fluid Boil

At PowerStop, we’re committed to bringing you any information that can help make your driving experience better and safer. In this video, we give you the know-how and techniques to effectively and safely use your brakes while towing.

What is Brake Fade?

Brake Fade is when the pedal feels firm but the vehicle will not slow down no matter how much pressure you apply.

Brakes use both abrasive and adherent friction to stop the vehicle. When the brakes are cool, the abrasive friction of the pad onto the rotor is used. Adherent friction comes into play when things heat up. Over time and use, material left over from the brake pads are left on the rotors. This material creates a tape-like bond with the pads and rotors to slow the vehicle down. Unfortunately, this extra friction acts like a lubricant when things overheat. In this situation, the brake pads cannot effectively grab the rotor to slow you down. This can be downright scary and dangerous, especially with the added weight of towing.


What is Brake Fluid Boil?

When brakes overheat, the fluid in the calipers can reach their boiling point. In this situation, you’ll notice the brake pedal feels spongy and possibly goes to the floor without slowing the vehicle down. This can especially happen when towing on mountain descents. If this occurs, downshift and pull over safely so the brakes can cool down.

You may find yourself using the brakes a lot on long, mountainous descents. To prevent brake fluid boil and brake fade in this situation, use a lower gear so the transmission and engine drag can slow you down. Also, follow Jason’s proper driving technique to not overuse your brakes.


Stop the Problem Before it Starts

A set of good brakes can help to prevent these dangerous situations in the first place. PowerStop Z36 Extreme Truck & Tow brake kits are designed to keep temperatures down in extreme conditions. Drilled & Slotted rotors offer maximum cooling, and the Carbon Fiber Ceramic brake pads ensure maximum stopping power no matter the weight you’re towing.

Brake fade and brake fluid boil are two scary realities of driving. Especially when towing through the mountains and PowerStop’s Z36 upgrade brake kit with drilled and slotted rotors will help get your truck and trailer over the mountain.

In another related video we met up with Travis at Curt Manufacturing, our friends in towing, to help go over the basic techniques and optional equipment for your trailer.

Helpful Equipment and Techniques for Towing:

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