We all know brakes are important; probably the most important safety feature on any vehicle. But they can also be pretty annoying. Today we’re going to discuss the top brake issues and how to fix the problems.
1. Loud Screeching Sound
Screeching, squealing, brake noise, is the most common complaint drivers walk into the shop with. When the different components of your brakes have unwanted movements you hear that loud screeching sound. So, how do we fix this? It’s really pretty simple; keep your brake components in place per the factory specifications. The surfaces of the brakes need to be maintained during service as well.
According to Chuck Kennedy, Bendix Technical Training Manager, “Today’s brake systems are very sensitive to rust and corrosion and should receive a thorough cleaning in preparation for fresh lubricant, hardware, and friction material. Residual rust or corrosion left in critical areas can begin to cause brake issues almost immediately.“
Here are a few places you can start: You’ll want to clean the caliper’s moving parts and retaining hardware as well as clean your pin bores with a round wire brush and cleaner to remove old lubricant and corrosion.
Caliper pins can cause binding. Clean the caliper moving parts and retention hardware of dirt, corrosion and rust. Clean pin bores with a round wire brush and cleaner to remove old lubricant and corrosion.
Pulsation is probably the second most common issue. Check for rotor lateral run out and thickness variations that point to pulsation issues, check the hubs. Checking for rotor thickness variations will help diagnose pulsation issues.
Use a polishing pad to clean as much rust as possible from the hub face and next to the studs. Leaving corrosion in these areas is one of the top causes of pulsation. An often overlooked area is the wheel hub mounting pad. If there is rust or debris in this area, it can lead to rotor distortion and pulsation just as easily as if debris were left on the hub.
Another common cause of pulsation is uneven tightness of wheel lugs. The best way to tighten these components is to lightly wrench them into place and then use a impact wrench to tighten them to the factory specifications
When applying braking force, small amounts of material gradually abrade from the brake pads. This material, known as “brake dust,” usually deposits on the braking system and the surrounding wheel.
Brake dust can be more than just a visual nuisance; it can badly damage the finish of most wheels if not washed off. Removing brake dust can eliminate other problems and avoid customer complaints.
Some technicians tape off the brake shoes to prevent contamination during service.
4. Excessive Wear
Lack of maintenance or aggressive driving, this is how you cause this. I am hard on my brakes, due to the amount of city driving I do. Those of you that do more highway driving or don’t like to pretend you are Mario Andretti, your brakes will last much longer than mine.
Residual pressure trapped in the hydraulic system can cause excessive wear and premature failure of friction materials and surfaces.
Now, what will you need in order to maintain your brakes? Just a few simple tools. How Stuff Works Gives us the Run Down:
A C-Clamp – This will press on the caliper assembly and push the piston all the way in, resetting the brake once the new pads are in place. Note: Some vehicles will require the use of a special brake caliper tool to retract the brake caliper piston. Remember, prior to beginning any repair job, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly investigate what will be required in order to determine any special tools you may need — like a brake caliper tool
A wrench to remove the caliper bolts – You may need an Allen wrench or impact tool for this job, depending on the vehicle.
A lug wrench – To remove the wheel nuts; although, you’ve most likely already used this tool prior to raising the vehicle.
Gloves – These are to protect your hands from the chemicals and dirt that you’ll encounter during the procedure.
A dust mask and safety glasses – The mask is to prevent breathing in brake dust, and the glasses are to protect your eyes from flying metal pieces and/or fluids during the actual brake work.