braking system faq

How often should I have the brakes checked on my vehicle? Can I just wait until the next roadworthiness test?

The standard interval for checkig the brake system every 10'000 miles provided that that no other faults indicative of disc and pad wear or damage are noted, such as vibration, suspect noises, cracks and discolouration caused by overheating. But as winter approached and you bring your vehicle in to change to winter tyres, this is a good opportunity to ensure that you can depend on your braking syste. Ask us to check wear on each of the brake system components next time your vehicle is scheduled into the workshop.

How can I tell if the discs and pads need to be replaced?

Discs should normally be replaced when they reach the minimum thickness indicated by the manufacturer. This is the minimum thickness that the disc rotor can reach whilst still ensuring the safety and peformance of the brake itself. Similarly, brake pads must also be replaced when they reach their minimum permitted thickness. On some pads it is indicated either by an electric sensor in the pad or an audible wear sensor, while on others wear is determined by visual inspection conducted by our technicians. It is important to remember that the brake pads must be replaced when fitting new discs and the opposite will also be applicable - the brake discs must be replaced when fitting new pads. All braking components used by our technicians are Original Equipment whilst adhering to manufacturers specifications such as torque settings.

After changing pads, how important is the bedding in period and how long does it take? How should I best bed in new braking components to achieve the best results?

Our technicians will always conduct a road test after replacement of braking components to check efficiency and quality control. Why bedding? To align the pad surface with the brake disc (rotor) surface and ensure full contact. To transfer a layer of friction material onto the brake disc (rotor) faces to achieve maximum performance. To burn out the volatile elements in the friction compound in order to have te initial fade occur during bedding. If pads are not bedded properly according to the required sequence the braking system will not achieve its maximum friction performance, wear behavious and pedal feel. Improper bedding can lead to judder and vibration. Unlike discs, pads do not require cooling down post bedding for optimal performance or longevity. You should be alert for any noise or vibration during this time, in periods of bedding you should only apply the brakes briefly and gently. Sudden and harsh brakig could result in overheating of the friction materials, potentially compromising the integrity of the components and braking system. Breaking in Creating a perfect contact pattern between the rotor and brake pad surface. Ten stops with low pressure and low temperature with the distance between each braking stop at 600 to 800 meters. Heating up Warm up in order to initiate some core heat in the whole braking system. A sequence of five stops with medium to high pressure with maximum acceleration between the stops. After the last stop cool down for three minutes with the speed preferably no higher than 62mph. Recovery stops Three to five stops with low pressure at a distance of between 600 to 800 meters.

Should I check the brake fluid as well as the discs and pads?

Of all the braking systems components, brake fluid is the one that deteriorated the quickest. Because it is highly hydroscopic, brake fluid absorbs moisture from the exteral environment through the walls of the lines in the hydraulic sircuit. The moisture lowers the boiling point of the fluid which can lead to the extremely dangerous phenomenon known as 'vapour lock' - when the brake fluid is more likely to boil if the brake system overheats, causing an increase in stopping distances. It is extremely important that the brake fluid is checked at regular intervals, specified by the manufacturer and changed when necessary. Ask us to conduct a free brake fluid check next time your vehicle is scheduled into our workshop.

Is it necessary to change the brake calipers? If so, when?

Unlike the brake discs and pads, brake calipers and the other hydraulic components of the brake system (lines, brake pistons, brake master cylinders) do not wear through friction. Therefore, they only need to be replaced as a result of normal wear or accidental damage. But calipers, in particular, can deteriorate rapidly if used in very cold or corrosive ambient conditions. Extremely low temperatures, rain, snow and other factors such as the salt and chemical products used to clear and de-ice roads in the winter can also cause accelerated deterioration. It is important to have the braking system checked thoroughly if any malfunctions are noted, to ensure the caliper piston moves freely and that the caliper itself shows no signs of significant deterioration. If you are unsure, schedule your vehicle into our workshop for our technicians to conduct the necessary checks.