Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How to Brake Smoothly (The Pivot Method)

How to Brake Smoothly (The Pivot Method)

Brake Smoothly

Braking is a skill. Braking, just like any other aspect of driving, takes a certain level of skill to get right. Good braking technique will not only be less stressful on the driver and passengers, but it will also prolong the life of the vehicle itself.

Today’s cars have brakes that are getting better every year. Brake rotors, brake pads, and other components in the brake system are improving year after year, meaning that braking is becoming easier and safer at the same rate. This also means that the brake pedal does not need to be pushed very hard to send enough pressure to the brakes to stop the car. Stopping too abruptly is uncomfortable, can result in spilled beverages, and can set in motion a number of other unsecured items. Too much abrupt braking can cause enough heat to cause warping on the surface of the brake rotor.

Good technique is key

The Pivot Method is a foolproof way to press the brakes smoothly and consistently. In order to brake with the Pivot Method, the driver must:

  • Plant the heel of the right foot on the floor, close enough to the brake pedal so that the ball of the foot can touch the center of the pedal.

  • Rest most of the weight of the foot on the floor while pivoting it forward to apply light pressure to the brake pedal.

  • Gradually increase pressure until the car is nearly to a complete stop.

  • Ease off the brake pedal slightly before coming to a complete stop to keep the vehicle from bouncing back too hard.

Things to avoid

  • Stomping: This is hard to avoid when a surprising situation pops up that requires quick braking but, for any other situation, the pivot method will be more effective than jamming the pedal down.

  • Putting weight on the pedal: Some people naturally lean into the pedal with the weight of the foot or leg.

  • Creating too much distance between the driver’s foot and the brake pedal: If the driver’s foot is not very close to the brake pedal, then the driver could potentially miss the pedal when braking suddenly.

Mastering this technique may well lead to a lifetime of happy passengers and un-spilled beverages!

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...

Related questions

Q: what does it mean when you let off brake and you hear a click

You are hearing the shift lock solenoid that unlocks the shifter so you can get the car out of park. This is normal. The solenoid is not as noisey when the solenoid and mechanism is newer but may be a...

Q: Do I need a brake fluid flush when I replace my brakes?

Brake fluid, like other fluids used in our vehicles, is subject to degradation over time. Brake fluid is a hydraulic and hygroscopic substance which means it absorbs moisture if left exposed to atmospheric humidity. Minute pieces of rubber can break...

Q: Brake pedal feels spongy.

The feeling of a spongy pedal indicates old brake fluid and/or air in the brake system of your Navigator. While it was mentioned that the master cylinder was replaced three times, more information is still necessary for a proper diagnosis...