How to Brake Smoothly (The Pivot Method)

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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!


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Pardeep

20 years of experience
652 reviews
Pardeep
20 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Fremont, California
Again 5 star service. And already scheduling him for my next appointment. Highly recommend Pardeep for your car needs.
Chevrolet Camaro - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Jose, California
Great knowledgeable mechanic and fast great work. I will use Pardeep and your services again. Thank you

Theodore

15 years of experience
1137 reviews
Theodore
15 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Everett, Washington
Theodore arrived on time, he did a great job replacing my brakes on my Camry, I will definitely work with him again.
Subaru Outback - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Renton, Washington
We have had previous work done by Theodore. Really appreciate his thoroughness and professionalism!

Matthew

32 years of experience
734 reviews
Matthew
32 years of experience
Jeep Wrangler - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Yorktown, Virginia
We've been using Your Mechanic services for a few years, for a few reasons. The convenience of having an expert mechanic "on-call," the great pricing and transparency for services (saving 10% - 25% at times), most of all Matt is our go-to guy who is highly qualified, knowledgeable in the work and knows how to explain it to us in detail.
Ford F-150 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport News, Virginia
Matt's technical knowledge of his profession is incredible! He is prompt, thorough, friendly, professional, engaging, and completes the job to 100% perfection! Thank you, Matt for the most outstanding auto repair service in all my many years!!!

Jason

31 years of experience
162 reviews
Jason
31 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Mateo, California
Jason was very professional and friendly. He provided extremely honest and helpful advice on issues with my Altima that would require proactive future maintenance.

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