Notes from your Brake Pads!

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I am the brake pads on the disc brakes of your vehicle.  My sole purpose in existence is to stop your vehicle, quickly, evenly, and safely when needed.  I want to keep your passengers and vehicle in tip top condition, and if your vehicle doesn’t stop when necessary, the consequences are dire and you may blame me!  However, even if I am new and thick, I cannot work effectively if my related subsystems are not adjusted and working properly.

Most of you know that I (brake pads) am designed to wear and I require replacement periodically.  I start my life big and strong at about 12mm of thickness and like to be replaced when I am getting old and thin, at about 2-3mm.  If I get thinner than that, I start to “eat” (or wear) the rotor which then will need to be replaced (and the rotor is much more expensive to replace than I am!). If I was made with a harder and less expensive material, I might last longer, but I also would not be as effective and I would probably wear the rotors down prematurely, or overheat and warp the rotors!  Plus, I will SQUEAL loudly and annoyingly!  So, first of all, please know that I need to be made of quality materials to do my job.

When I am brand new and mounted on a disc brake, it is really important that the rotor’s surface is prepared for me.  Rotors can become uneven, warped or heat cracked over time and with miles, and then I don’t fit well when pressed against their surface.  Picture if only one quarter of my surface is contacting the rotor when you press on the brake pedal – then only one quarter of my potential strength in stopping is available!  Also, I will wear a lot more quickly if the rotor is not machined correctly so the surface is prepared (slightly roughened) to accept my new surface.  I will let you know I am not happy by making some very unpleasant noises (SQUEAL!!) or pulsations when you press on your brake pedal.

Sometimes I am put on a car or truck that I am not designed for.  If I am not large enough for the weight of the vehicle, I just cannot stop the vehicle effectively, no matter how hard I try! (“I think I can, I think I can”, said the brake pad!!)  Or I am not the correct size for the rotor…or the rotor is not the correct size for the vehicle.  I have also been put on upside down – OUCH!  All of us brake components must work closely in tandem for me to stop your vehicle effectively and safely when needed.

Here are some other areas that may not be checked by those who do their own brake work and do not see the consequences routinely:

  • Are the caliper guide pins lubricated?
  • Are the caliper/piston dust boots torn? They can tear or breakdown with age.
  • Are the caliper mounting bolts torqued correctly?
  • Are the mounting bolts cross threaded?

As a brake pad, I want you to make sure all these bases are covered so that I can do my job effectively, keeping you safe and also saving you money in the long run.  Experienced automotive technicians know how to make me more effective, so I can work to my full potential and keep you and your family safe!  Come visit our skilled technicians at Honest Accurate Auto Service to make sure your brakes are installed correctly!

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