Most of us are oblivious about the importance of car safety until an accident happens. Then it’s too late to take any action, which is why we need to make sure we act beforehand and ensure our car is in top shape. But there are so many aspects of improving vehicle safety that some car owners feel overwhelmed. The obvious priority is to check vital car parts on a regular basis. Road safety easily translates into the passenger cabin as well. Some consider drivers comfort as an important safety factor, while protection of passengers in case of collision is also up there. And these days, cars get advanced technology with safety features designed to make life easier for everyone. This doesn’t mean that you can forget about car maintenance chores and regular replacement of parts.
The ability to stop the vehicle is essential to road safety, so the brakes are among the vital parts that need to be checked on a regular basis. When you try to study your owners manual you will note that the system of brakes is quite elaborate. Fortunately, you can focus on the part that suffers the greatest degree of wear (brake pads) and leave the complex stuff to the mechanic.
Brake pads create friction in disc brakes to stop the car, so it’s totally natural for them to eventually wear out. Several different types of brake pads were developed to provide optimal balance between durability and performance.
Synthetic brake pads are created from composite synthetic materials like aramid and sintered glass. They are known for leaving dust in the process of braking, but they will also protect your rotors from excessive stress. Semi-metallic brake pads have small pieces of metal to ensure longer service life. If you go for this type, keep in mind that they will also cause wear to the drum and you will also need to apply more force for braking to start.
Metallic and ceramic brake pads are the two most prevalent types out there. If they are fully composed of metal they will create noise every time you apply the brakes. Because of the tough build they will last long, but at the same time this means increased wear of the other parts in the braking system. As a result, they’re usually found in racing vehicles.
Ceramic brake pads are a popular aftermarket part because of their properties. They are quieter, long lasting, and better performing relative to the other types. For example, you can find ebc brake pads Australia wide that offer a balance between the resistance to wear found in synthetic pads, and the longevity of metallic ones. You might be wondering: “What’s the trade off?” Well, they tend to warp because they can’t handle heat as well as the others. If you go for ebc brake pads Australia made they will operate almost completely silent.
The manner in which air circulates through the components in your vehicle is also an important factor. Internal combustion engines need fresh air to enter the system, and your exhaust system has to ensure air is returned back to the environment. Though air filters are usually associated with performance, they are also a safety factor. Trapping dust in the membrane of your filters will ensure your engine works optimally. At the same time, you will experience change in the quality of the air in your passenger cabin. That is, if you change the air filters on a regular basis. Otherwise, you will be exposed to all sorts of fumes permeating the cabin.
No one is looking forward to crushing their car, but since these things do happen you have to make sure your car is equipped with safety features that will protect you. In best case scenario your vehicle has built-in barriers to dampen the impact in case of collision. They are also known as structural buffers or crumple zones. Automotive engineers put these structural elements to soften a potential blow. Your choices in this regard are limited – the car either has these bumpers or not.
Airbags provide an extra layer of safety to protect passengers. As we all know, they are cushions designed to inflate when the car collides. Studies have shown that putting such soft contact points for the passengers helps prevent serious injuries. Their effectiveness is based on their capacity to not only soften the blow, but also spread it across a larger area of the body. These days most of the vehicles have at least one of the following: front, back or side airbags. Depending on the make and model of your car you can also have a knee, rear curtain and even pedestrian airbags (bags that deploy outside of the vehicle). Some of them are being developed right now, and compatibility is crucial to having them installed in your ride.
Beware when upgrading your vehicle with an aftermarket part. For example, we Aussies are keen on protecting the front hood with bull bars and similar contraptions for off-road adventures. Not all of these parts are compliant with airbags, so double check their ADR compliance before splurging on a part that will make you less safe. Airbags are subject to rigorous testing to ensure occupant safety. Keep an eye on airbag recalls, if they apply to your model is only prudent to replace the airbag with one that protects you.