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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Faulty Brakes

Good Brakes – Saves Lives

BRAKES ARE THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT SAFETY FEATURE OF YOUR CAR. 

Although we all know this, sometimes we can let things slip. To help protect the safety of you and your loved ones, follow this Seven Point Brake Checklist. If you notice any or all of them, it is time to get your brakes professionally checked.

  • Loss of grip when braking
  • The feeling of your car pulling left or right when braking
  • A sloppy, soft or low brake pedal
  • Shuddering through your steering wheel when braking
  • Squeals, screeches and high pitched noises when breaking
  • Your brake system warning light flashes
  • Your car takes longer to stop than normal.

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You will need;

-Auto Tools & Equipment

-A lug wrench to remove road wheel

-A jack and supports to safely elevate your vehicle

-A flat headed screw driver to force the brake piston back

-A turkey baster to remove excess brake fluid from reservoir

-The correct size wrench or allen wrench/key to undo the caliper bolts

-2 feet of string to support the brake caliper

-A c-clamp to further compress the brake piston

-Pliers to remove clips and springs

-The new Brake pads (make sure you buy the right type for your vehicle)

Replacing brake pads is easy, just follow these steps:

1. Loosen, but DON’T remove, the wheel lug nuts of the wheel that is being serviced

2. Safely and securely support the car in a high enough position to work on the brakes. Now remove the lug nuts and road wheel.

NOTE: Now is a good time to check you brake system for leaks, wear and/or damage.

3. Use your flat headed screw drive to force the brake piston back into the brake caliper – NOTE: This will force brake fluid back into the fluid reservoir – loosen the reservoir cap and keep an eye on the fluid level so that it doesn’t overflow (you may need to remove some fluid using a turkey baster)!

4. Loosen the appropriate nuts and bolts on the brake caliper so that it can be removed.

5. Remove the brake caliper using pliers to remove any clips or springs holding the brake pads in place.

6. Suspend the caliper safely using string – this will stop it hanging by the brake lines and doing potential damage.

7. Using the c-clamp, compress the brake piston so that the new brake pads (which will be wider) can be fitted.

NOTE: Remember step 3 and keep an eye on the fluid levels in the brake fluid reservoir.

8. Replace the worn pads with new brake pads (after removing the c-clamp) and refit the caliper, tightening the caliper bolts to the appropriate torque settings for your vehicle.

9. Top-up the brake fluid if required and replace the reservoir cap.

10. Gently depress the brake pedal to reduce the gap in between the pad and brake rotor.

11. Replace the road wheel and lug nuts, and then lower the car down to the ground. Once the car is safely on the ground tighten the lug nuts to the appropriate torque settings for your vehicle.

12. Once this has been completed for all required wheels, get in the car and check the brakes. If they feel soft and/or spongy you may need to bleed your brakes. A tutorial on how to bleed brakes exists on in this content section.

Pat yourself on the back – You’ve mastered the art of replacing brake pads!
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How To Replace Your Brake Pads

Brake Squeal

Brake Squeal Solutions

Gringing Sound and Brake Squeal

Brake squeal is a common problem and is the nightmare of all pad manufacturers. It is caused when the pad “bounces” in a calliper and the squeal noise is resonance between the back plate and the piston. The grinding noise that is sometimes heard (more frequently with semi metallic not Asbestos pads) is somewhat unnerving and sometimes tends to sound as though the pads are completely worn out. The third noise, which can come from the brake system, is after the fitting of grooved or drilled brake rotors, which can be a whirring or aeroplane type sound.
We have found that the fixes for all of these problems are as follows;
Applying plastic shims to the rear of the pad can dampen this, but these are expensive and to fit them on every pad where the incidence of brake squeal can be only 1 in 10 is false economy. These are however, available, as a low cost accessory item. We definitely do not recommend the use of general workshop greases, especially Copaslip on the back of brake pads as these are a friction reducing agent being applied in the area of the only part of your vehicle which is designed to produce friction – the brakes. There are however, some “paint on” anti squeal silicone/rubber based materials, which are viscous enough to stay where they are placed and are useful in reducing brake squeal.
On certain BMW and Audi calliper fitments, we have found that applying a 5mm or 1/4 inch chamfer at the front and back leading edges of the pad has the effect of completely reducing the squeal. (Many OE pads ARE chamfered in this way). This is a fix, which needs to be done by a knowledgeable workshop mechanic if the problem arises, but the measurements above should not be exceeded. As our pads are TOTALLY ASBESTOS FREE, there is no health hazard with the dust generated bearing in mind our dimensions mentioned above are maximums and a normal dust mask is advisable.
One of the MOST PROMINENT REASONS causing brake squeal on used cars is poor disc condition. Pads will often make a noise due to vibration whilst bedding in. The worse the condition of the disc obviously the longer it takes to bed in and the longer the noise continues. Pads that have not achieved a 90% SURFACE AREA CONTACT with the disc will ALWAYS squeal.
We have seen plenty of examples where pads just sit on a small lip on the outer and inneredge where the used disc was badly “troughed” and was not replaced or re-skimmed.
Turning or skimming of rotors is also recommended if not replacing discs as this removes the glaze and polish from the surface of the discs, which can also promote brake squeal.(Always observe the disc minimum thickness, which is in our published catalogues for safety reasons and to avoid disc overheat).

Graunching or Grinding Sounds

Can be down to the material itself, happily we have had very few complaints of this on our pads. We have found that by putting a centre line groove in the pad, this can contribute to reducing this noise. We have therefore adopted a programme of centre line grooving on a large number of pads to reduce the incidence of this problem. The addition of the centre line groove also totally eliminates any pad cracking in the centre surface area of the pad where maximum heat is generated and “bulging” can occur.

Brake Rotor Noise

Created by rotors with holes or grooves, this sound is usually at its loudest when the discs are first installed and does drastically reduce after a few hundred kilometres, when the pad becomes flat and seated on the disc. This is not a warrantable situation and is normally “part of the programme” as we say and has to be accepted by customers ordering grooved and slotted discs.