Superior Brake Service: The Finer Points

Jan. 1, 2020
Let's look at key steps for delivering a successful pad replacement:

Let's look at key steps for delivering a successful pad replacement:

1. QUIZ THE CUSTOMER: ARE THERE PROBLEMS? You may want these complaints demonstrated because some can result from operator error.

2. TEST DRIVE: NO SCRAPING SOUNDS? SMOOTH PEDAL? These are clues the rotors may be fine for as-is reuse; however, measure before making a final decision. If you feel pulsation and/or scraping, you know the rotors need resurfacing or replacement.

3. CHECK FOR TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS (TSBS). Anything unusual about this make/year/model?

4. INSPECT: Note all parts needing attention before completing estimates or starting work.

5. USE APPROPRIATE, QUALITY PARTS: Use friction types approved for the vehicle and tailored to the owner's driving style, if those choices are approved. Consider replacing hardware; it's reused too often, leading to complaints down the line.

6. KEEP IT CLEAN: Wash rotors after resurfacing to prevent embedding machining debris. Make sure antilock brake system (ABS) exciter rings are free of chips, too. Anything caught between the hub and rotor hat will induce runout. Rust there won't help, either.

7. LUBRICATE: Sliders and contact areas for pads calipers and pistons need appropriate lubrication to prevent wear and clicking noises.

8. GET FUSSY WITH ROTORS: Are they good ones? Are they smooth? Make sure they meet thickness and runout specs. Check for thickness variation at six to eight places around the working surface.

9. DON'T WRECK YOUR WORK: Torque carefully. Hand-tighten first, and then to half-spec before reaching full spec. Excessive or uneven torque is a major cause of induced runout and, eventually, pedal pulsation.

10. BREAK-IN NEW PADS: This helps prevent customer complaints or damage to pads and lets you spot mistakes before handing over the keys.

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