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Can Freezing Weather Damage Car Brakes? Here’s What You Need to Know

Can Freezing Weather Damage Car Brakes? Here’s What You Need to Know

It is a common question to ask “Can freezing weather damage car brakes?” if you live in a cold area. Although the weather has something to do with specific car problems, damaged car brakes are not commonly one of them. However, recently, there is a noticeable increase in braking systems suddenly failing in the cold weather. This changes the whole story whether cold or freezing conditions have something to do with failing car brakes. In this article, you will know why car brakes fail. What happens when car brakes are frozen? Does cold weather really affect car brakes? What can you do if you encounter frozen car brakes? These questions will be answered and you will learn more along the way.

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How do car brakes fail or get damaged? Failing car brakes usually happen when you are driving. Moisture may get in between the brake components that are connected to the disc or the wheel. When the weather is cold and you are driving out for long periods of time, that’s when the moisture freezes. This causes the brakes to jam. This means that the inner workings of your vehicle may also be vulnerable to the cold. However, moisture is what is responsible for why your car brakes become frozen or why you are encountering caliper problems. Keep reading to find out the answer to this question: Can freezing weather damage car brakes?

Does cold weather affect my car brakes?

As was mentioned earlier in this article, damaged car brakes have more to them than just the effects of cold weather. Nevertheless, the toll that winter driving costs to your vehicle cannot be easily dismissed. Your vehicle is affected more frequently by the following components or parts: the exhaust pipe, the cooling system, and the tires. That being said, it is not surprising that driving during the peak winter season can pose many problems with your vehicle. As for the brakes, moisture can build up between its components. Can freezing weather damage car brakes? Well, yes. But there are also other factors at play why your car brakes may fail. The bottom line is this, cold weather does not necessarily pose a reason for you to worry about your car brakes. However, extremely cold weather is a different issue. Even the best models of vehicles will be challenged when you drive them in the snow and under freezing conditions.


So, what happens to your vehicle during the winter season? If you are experiencing some problems with your vehicles at this specific time of the year, then you’ve come to the right place. The following are some of the ways cold weather affects your vehicle. Specifically mentioned below are the effects of freezing weather on car brakes. Stay tuned!


  1. Slippery and wet roads

Your vehicle’s brake system is responsible for slowing down and stopping your vehicle by converting kinetic energy to thermal energy. This process uses friction that stops your thousands-pound vehicle of pure metal with just a push of the brakes by your feet. Come to think of it, the time when you give your car brakes the more strain is when you are driving on slippery and wet roads. What other season gives you such conditions than during the winter season. The strain from overusing the brakes during the freezing weather damages car brakes. You may notice when winter is over, and you are driving in normal conditions, that your automobile’s braking performance is not the same as before. If this is the case, you might need to have your car checked immediately.


  1. Your brakes are stuck on

No brainer: freezing weather damages car brakes. There may be times when you encounter what drivers call ‘glued on’ brakes. You may encounter this problem due to moisture building up in between the parts of your brakes. This usually happens when your car is left idle for long periods of time under chilly conditions. Yes, freezing weather damages car brakes. In addition, you may also look into your brakes for signs of rusting normally between the disc/drum and brake pads. In the end, moisture is one of the greatest enemies of any metal machine. Not only does moisture cause frozen car brakes but can also lead to rusting and breakage of other car parts.


Glue on brakes is a bit tricky to prevent. Though it’s not guaranteed, especially during extremely cold weather, you can still try covering your car overnight in a warm and dry garage. Make sure that your vehicle is well-maintained and well-lubricated. This way, your vehicle can have additional protection when wintry days come again.


  1. Your car brakes have become susceptible to rust

The Winter season entails snow and salt which are rusting agents. You may notice that on colder days, your brake disc or drum is covered or coated in rust. Rust deposits also accelerate when you park your vehicle out for a long period of time. The water from snow and road salt linger on your bakes enabling rust to settle in at a faster pace. Oftentimes, rust builds up after only a day parked from winter driving. Though freezing weather damages car brakes, you can prevent rusting by regularly cleaning your vehicle. However, if you notice rust developing more than your cleaning strategy can handle, you may need to let the professionals take care of the situation. It is dangerous to keep driving a car with brake system problems. It is definitely not a good idea to drive with damaged car brakes on slippery and wet roads.

How do you stop your car brakes from freezing?

There are certain conditions that are damaging to your vehicle that cannot be helped. One of which is the winter weather. This is where car maintenance comes in. There are simple practices that you can apply to protect your car from the rapid wearing out that freezing conditions bring. Changing your brake pads regularly may also help protect your brake line and can help prevent from seeping in. If you live in an even colder area, you may need to change your brake pads more often.


You may also opt for a diagnostic test performed on your vehicle twice a year so you will be aware of the well-being of your car. This way, you will know what else you should do for car maintenance. Make sure not to ignore brake system problems. Not only will a damaged car break make it hard for you to drive with ease, but you may also be putting yourself in danger if you continue driving your car with faulty brakes. Remember: freezing weather damages car brakes so be particularly careful with your vehicle during the winter season.


You can stop your car brakes from freezing by making it a habit to warm up your car by starting it in the morning. Doing so will melt the ice or dry the water that causes rust build-up. Leave your car to a start for 10 minutes or more before you drive it anywhere. Inspect your vehicle for any signs of corrosion, moisture build-up, ice coating, and the like. If you find any that have not been solved by simple car maintenance, contact a certified mechanic right away.


What happens if your brakes freeze?

Freezing weather damages car brakes. It may seem unfair since there is nothing you can do about the weather. If you are thinking “Can freezing water damage car brakes?” Well, that has already been established earlier. Yes, it can, but there is more to it that you must know. Difficulty in driving is one of the most common issues when you experience problems with the brakes. The problem starts with the brake pads of your car. These pads play an important role in the brake system of your car. Additionally, the brake pads are the first to get affected when the freezing weather damages car brakes. Water can instantly create cracks or holes in your car brakes when the weather is cold. Those cracks eventually stretch due to the movement of the car when you drive.


You must never ignore car brake issues especially because they take a big chunk when it comes to driving safety. Usually, freezing weather damages car brakes progressively. The expansion of the cracks on the brake pads creates an opening for little stone, road salts, and other particles to enter the brakes. When the water freezes inside the brake system, it can make your driving stiffer and can wear your brakes over time. So, can freezing weather damage car brakes? The definite answer is yes, and the consequences that follow are diverse. Knowing the root of the problem will lead you to the solution. With that said, the list below can help you tackle the problem from its root and finally seize it.


  1. Beware of rust build-up

Rust build-up can be the main cause for a damaged car brake or it can be second nature for the rotor when freezing weather damages car brakes. To explain further, the water that accumulates inside the brake system can create openings for impurities like dirt and rust. Rust build-up can also be the result of your habits or way of handling your car. For example, if you tend to leave the car outside in unfavorable weather conditions, moisture can enter the brake disk and result in rust build-up. This problem can be identified through the sounds your car may produce. Avoid rust build-up by making sure that your car brakes including the internal parts of your car are dry. Do not leave your car out in the open and always park it in the garage where it would not collect moisture that grows into rust.


  1. Gear up against frozen water and snow

Unlike rust build-up, freezing weather damages car brakes in an inherent manner. There is no way to change the weather but there are things you can do to prepare your car and protect it from brake damage. You can protect your car brakes by changing the brake pads. Brake pads are inexpensive so you do not have to worry if freezing weather damages car brakes including the brake pads. You can have your brake pads replaced for as low as 30 dollars to as high as 130 dollars. Moreover, you can track the temperature in your area. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, that is the time to get alarmed since freezing weather damages car brakes.


  1. Keep an eye out for your ABS brakes

ABS stands for the anti-lock braking system. The purpose of ABS is to bring back traction when you are turning or when you are driving on a rough road. The anti-lock braking system, true to its name, is the one responsible for preventing your car from locking up or losing control. It is the main component that keeps the driver safe. Nevertheless, driving in snow poses risks to the ABS. After all, freezing weather damages car brakes and compromises their overall performance. A damaged anti-lock braking system is harmful if used improperly or in extreme climates.

Is it safe to drive with frozen brakes?

Freezing weather damages car brakes and broken brakes are most certainly not meant for the road. You must never risk your safety in driving with frozen brakes. It has been said previously that frozen brakes are not only caused by cold or freezing weather but there are a number of factors where the problem is rooted from. A broken brake can lead to a vehicle lock-up which means close to zero control to your steering and the direction of your wheels. With the brakes functioning irregularly, the chances of getting into an accident skyrocket. You must be aware of the condition of your brakes and make sure that you are not driving with broken ones. Driving safety is not something to be compromised.

To sum up, the effects of the climate encompass even the mobility and performance of your car. You might have been oblivious of the fact that the freezing weather damages car brakes or you might have already known this from the start but surely, this guide has got you covered. There is no way around the freezing weather since it is a natural phenomenon, but there is a route you can take that can help your car cross the winter season safely, and that is preparation. Even the freezing weather could not ultimately freeze your brakes if you fall into the habit of maintaining all safety compartments of your car and making sure they are in their best condition.