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About Disc Brakes

Learn About Disc Brakes

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Replacement Brake Pads

Learning about disc brakes would be good information for any driver to be knowledgeable about. You do not have to be a do-it-yourself mechanic to learn more about the subject. This is valuable information because if you own a car you will probably need a brake job sooner or later.

When you take your vehicle into a repair shop they may throw some up sales your way. It is nice to be able to discuss specific problems with your auto repair shop in and knowledgeable way. Even if your car has a highly technical antilock brake system when it comes to the basic maintenance of replacing brake pads this operation is very similar to the way it was back in the 70s.

Maybe the only difference is back then they where disc brakes in the front and drum brakes on the rear. Although some drum brakes are still around today it is most common to see a four wheel disc braking system. This even true for light duty and heavy duty pick up trucks and vans.

Car disc brakes offer major advantages over the drum brake system. The nice thing about disc brakes is they are resistant to pedal fade due to fluid overheating. They are also very resistant to the effects of water such as when the vehicle runs through deep puddles. The rotating of the disc throws the water out using centrifugal force. The squeezing of the pads on either side of the rotor quickly dries the braking surface.

Do-it-yourself brake jobs

Because the braking system is so important to the safety of the driver and the people that travel with them I really don’t recommend performing this operation on your own unless you have a good amount of auto repair experience under your belt.

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If you are determined to perform your first brake job I recommend that you find a mechanic to stop by and either give you a few lessons or at least inspect your work before you put the wheels back on the automobile. Often I will show friends and neighbors how to perform their own brake jobs.

After some basic instruction and checking their work they are able to perform their own brake pad replacement on future maintenance services without my help. Recently a neighbor decided that he was going to jump in and perform his own brake pad maintenance. He asked me to stop by and take a look.
By the time I got there he had the wheels back on the vehicle and had already road tested it.

As I pulled into his driveway I couldn’t help but notice the smoke pouring off the front wheels. Obviously he did something wrong. We took the vehicle for a short road test and I could feel that the front brakes were dragging or staying applied. His new brake pads were smoking because they were constantly pushed against the rotor.  After we let things cool down and pulled the wheels off I didn’t see anything wrong right away.

I decided to remove the caliper and I instantly saw what he had missed. He replaced the brake pads and took the time to clean the caliper slides. But he did not install any lubricant on the caliper slides before he reassembled the front brakes.  I prefer to use a specialized caliper lube for this operation. It is specifically designed to withstand the extremely high temperatures associated with front braking.

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Using any other kind of lubricant can cause problems. I ran home to get my caliper lube and let him lube up the caliper slides. On the next road test we could feel that everything was back to normal. He was able to save money by performing is own brake job and he learned something about solving front brake problems.

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