You have a wide range of choices when it comes to replacing front or rear brake pads on your Infiniti. Here we’ll talk about making the best choice for your situation.
Also included will be a few tips I learned from a rear brake job on my Infiniti M37. Finally, we’ll discuss common problems with Nissan and Infiniti braking systems. This includes squeaking and squealing noises, brake pedal pulsation, uneven brake pad wear and a pulling condition when the brakes are applied.
Selecting Quality Brake Pads
I’ve tried all different kinds of brake pads and have done at least 1,000 brake jobs over the last 30 years as a professional mechanic. I haven’t really seen much of a difference between, let’s say, a Wagner brake pad and a Bosch branded set. I’m starting to have a feeling that these friction components might all be manufactured in the same factory and branded with stamps at the end of the assembly line. Of course I have no proof of this and I’m sure that some companies have their own factories.
Nevertheless, for this reason I’m more concerned about the quality of the kit more than the brand itself. As a further explanation, when you go into any parts store and ask for a set of brake pads for your Infiniti or Nissan automobile you’re presented with three choices. Some use a good, better, best and other stores use a bronze, silver and gold designation.
Usually the lowest level pads are organic. Basically, an organic material means they aren’t hardened with ceramic or a composite material containing metal. For this reason organic pads will wear faster and make more brake dust than just about any other choice. These might be the kinds of pads you put on your car when you’re going to sell it the next day.
The next step up is the silver offering. These are usually the same brake pads that are offered in the gold set. They’re often of semi-metallic or the more popular ceramic variety. In most cases the silver kit will not contain replacement hardware. This brings us to the gold brake replacement kit.
Now we get the top level quality brake pads with a complete hardware kit. When you compare the price from these three levels the difference between the gold and the bronze or the good and the best selections are usually less than $20. We say go for the gold, because you want that hardware kit and next I’ll tell you why.
Do I Need to Replace the Brake Hardware
I’m a believer that it’s best to replace the brake hardware on every brake job, no matter the year, make or model car. However, on an Infiniti or Nissan product this becomes a must do operation. As you can see in the picture of my old brake hardware the stainless steel surface is not shining anymore.
Not only is the finish worn off, but it has started to rust. In this scenario the surface where the brake pad slides up and back has gone from a slick, shiny situation to a sticky bumpy rusty one. This can cause, brake squeal, uneven pad wear, a pulling condition and a set of new pads that wears out prematurely. If you leave this old nasty hardware on and install a new set of pads you have just transferred all of your problems to the new parts.
Common Brake Problems on Nissan and Infiniti Cars
One of the big issues with Nissan cars that transfer over to the Infiniti line is an annoying brake pulsation. The problem is brake rotor warping. This surprises me because they are well vented. Usually it is excessive heat that causes the brake rotors to warp.
The next most common reason for the brake rotors to warp is improper lug nut torque. However, I religiously hand torque all lug nuts on aluminum wheels with my recently calibrated half inch drive click type torque wrench. To my surprise cars that I serviced regularly have still wound up with brake pulsations caused from warped rotors.
My only conclusion from this is that possibly the rotors are of substandard material or not hardened properly from the factory. Therefore, when it comes to buying replacement rotors and pads I do not stop by the Infiniti or Nissan dealership to purchase my parts. I like to use factory parts whenever possible, but in this situation I do not.
Tips for Replacing Brakes on Infiniti and Nissan Automobiles
The rear disc brake setup on the Infiniti M37 is a best case scenario for the driveway mechanic. This is an easy service because the rear emergency brake is not activated through the caliper.
This means that the small in stature caliper is easy to deal with. With that said, you still need to push the piston back into its bore.
We have seen people damage the piston by using large channel lock type pliers, giant C clamps and the handle of hammers. I believe in using the right tool for the job in this situation. A caliper tool is available at any parts store for around $10. You can also get them on Amazon. When using the special tool, it pushes the piston smoothly and evenly into the bore. This prevents damage to the caliper seals and delicate aluminum cylinder wall and piston.