Brake Service

A vehicle’s brake system is the most important system from a safety standpoint. Well maintained brakes provide the vehicle the ability to stop efficiently and safely, which protects the driver, passengers and others driving on the roads. Periodic inspection and maintenance of your vehicle’s brake system helps to ensure efficient brake performance and prevent costly repairs on calipers and hydraulic components as a result of worn brake pads/shoes.

What’s involved in Good Guys Brake Service? 

Good Guys technicians begin with a thorough inspection of vehicle’s pads and rotor thickness. Inspect rear drums and shoes for adjustment and lining thickness as well as a visual inspection of all brake system and hydraulic parts for leaks that can cause serious damage. All brakes are taken apart for thorough cleaning and lubricating of caliper slides and brake pad sliding surfaces.

 

If you’re looking for a cheap brake job, Good Guys Automotive is not the right shop for you. Cheap brake repairs, not surprisingly, result in poor brake performance, brake squeak, noises, pulsation, and brake fade. When we do brake work, the brakes will be quiet, effective, smooth, and consistent. Doing quality work with quality part costs more than doing patch work with cheap parts. However, if you compare our prices to other shops that do similarly good work, and you compare apples to apples, you’ll find our prices very fair.

 

We’ve tried many brands of aftermarket pads and shoes and heard hundreds of sales pitches and we’ve come the to the following conclusion: there are no brake part better than OE brake parts. Genuine pads and pad kits can cost 10 times as much as aftermarket pads, so there’s always the temptation to buy low cost parts to offer a lower cost repair with a higher profit, and if you call around and ask, you’ll find that that’s what most shops do. Amazingly, even some dealerships install aftermarket parts! We’ve tried it, and realized that it’ll just bite us in the butt later.

 

New Rotors

 

We always recommend replacement of brake rotors. Failure to do so will result in poor braking or vibrations/noises while braking. Quality parts alone do not guarantee a good brake job. A mechanic needs to service the brake system, which is a lot different than installing parts on a car. A brake job is usually triggered by the friction material wearing to below the minimum specification, but a brake job IS NOT just replacing the pads and rotors.

 

Lubrication

 

Brakes have moving wearing parts, and just like your engine and transmission, they need periodic lubrication and maintenance. When the pads wear out, it’s time to clean, inspect, and lubricate the calipers and hardware. This means the caliper pins need to be removed, cleaned, inspected, and if they’re not worn, lubricated and reinstalled. Caliper pins must be lubricated with the proper type of grease. You wouldn’t want to put motor oil in the brake fluid, and you wouldn’t want to put petroleum based grease on caliper pins. Caliper pins must be lubricated with either lithium grease or silicone grease. Both of these greases will stand up to high temperatures and pressures found at the caliper, another characteristic: they won’t damage rubber. The protective boots for the pins are made of rubber and newer vehicles frequently use a rubber bushing on the caliper pins. If petroleum based grease is used, the rubber will swell and bind, causing the pin to stick.

 

The caliper pins are not the only parts that need lubrication. The contact point between the brake pads and caliper brackets also need to be cleaned and lubricated. If there is no lubrication on this slide, the pads may make a “click” or “Tap” noise at low speeds when the brakes are applied. This lubrication also prevents the pads from binding in the caliper bracket as well as corrosion, which will cause ineffective braking and premature brake wear. This area requires a different type of lubricant. Either use of copper, nickel, and petroleum grease is recommended. The main thing is that the grease needs to be able to handle extreme pressures and high temperatures without being pushed out of position.

 

Machining Brake Rotors

 

What does machining a rotor mean? A rotor is a metal disc made of cast iron that spins with the wheel. There is one rotor on each wheel assuming the car has 4 wheel disc brakes. Brake pads mounted in the stationary brake caliper straddle the rotor, one on each side. When the brakes are applied, the pads are squeezed against the rotor by the caliper, slowing the wheel. Machining the brake rotor means that we cut metal off the brake rotor to remove any defects in the wearing surface of the rotor. The brake pads are softer than the rotor, so they wear out more quickly, but the rotor does wear down as well. When the rotor wears, it does not always wear evenly, so the it’s friction surface may be “lumpy”, or concave, or warped. Machining off the top layer of metal removes the defects, revealing a smooth flat surface for the new pads to rub against.

 

Theoretically brake rotors should not be machined unless you find a measureable defect. The first rotor measurement is the thickness of the brake rotor. Manufacturers will have a discard specification, a machine to specification, or both. Once the rotor has worn too thin, it must be replaced. The second rotor measurement taken is run-out, which is easy enough to check with a dial indicator. Run-out is the side to side wobble of the rotor as it spins. Assuming the caliper pins are free, run-out will not cause a pulsation, but left unaddressed it will lead to thickness variation in the rotor, and that will cause pulsation. Which brings us to the next measurement: parallelism. Parallelism is just a shorter way of saying that the rotor is equally thick all the way around. If the rotor has thickness variation, it will cause a pulsation in the brake pedal. How much variation is too much? .0005″ of an inch will cause a pulsation. This is not visible to the naked eye either. A standard mechanic’s micrometer will likely have a .001″ resolution. In other words, it will be incapable of measuring 10,000ths of an inch and cannot be used to check parallelism. Most newer vehicles are built with brake rotors that will only last 1 or 2 brake jobs, so machining brake rotors might not be a good option for a safe brake life. However some older vehicles will allow machining of brake rotors, where we have the tools and guides to come to this conclusion.