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Brake Shudder

Does Your Steering Wheel Shake when You Brake

tech-bulletinHave you experienced your steering wheel vibrate or shudder when braking? In this technical bulletin, we are going to look into what could cause this and how it can be alleviated.

Brake shudder is the vibration that you feel through the steering wheel when you apply the brakes. Brake shudder emerges as an aftereffect of issues related to the brake discs. Specifically, when the brake discs(rotors) have been influenced by Disk Thickness Variation (DTV). This alludes to the uneven wear of the brake discs and is the consequence of rotor run out.

If your brake rotors are unevenly worn, as soon as the brake pads interact with the flat spots within the rotor’s surface you will experience a vibration through the steering wheel that is commonly referred to as ‘brake shudder’. This sort of uneven wear to the rotors can be the consequence of a number of things. For example, the brake calipers not working correctly, the rotors not having been fitted properly or the bedding-in process of the pads has not been followed.

So you have brake shudder? How can you fix it? Firstly we need to identify the exact cause or source of the brake shudder, so we can isolate the problem. By and large, when a shudder or shaking is felt through the steering wheel whilst braking, generally it indicates the front rotors need to be examined. If on the other hand, the shuddering is felt through the brake pedal, then this generally highlights a problem with the rear brake rotors.


How do we cure brake shudder…In the event that a brake disc(rotor) develops DTV, the disc(rotor) will need to either be machined to resolve the uneven spots and make the disc flat or level. Depending on the condition of the disc(rotor) machining may not be an option, in which case completely replacing the damaged disc(rotor) is the only answer.

Brake calipers that aren’t operating the way they were designed, can likewise be a cause of brake shudder.

If a caliper is pushing the brake pad against the disc(rotor) without the brake pedal being applied then this can cause rotor run-out or the disc wearing unevenly.

If this is the issue, seized slide pins in the caliper are generally the offender.
To remedy the problem, just take out the caliper pins and regrease them with a High Performance Synthetic Lubricant. If the issue is not resolved with regreasing, then the calipers may need to be rebuilt or replaced.


Another common reason of brake shudder are problems, is an uneven mounting surface on the face of the hub.

Uneven rust and scale deposits can build up over time and affect the smooth surface of the hub face, which the creates an uneven surface for the disc to be mounted on. If this has occured on your disc(rotor),  you will need to clean the area with some sandpaper and WD40 until the rust and scale deposits are gone.

This should be common practice when replacing or refitting brake discs to help prevent any instances of brake shudder in the future.

At the point when you are fitting a new set brake pads, it’s vital to bed them in appropriately. Subjecting your new brake pads to extreme thermal shock without following any sort of bedding-in procedure can promptly lead to uneven wear and brake shudder. Note: Some pads (such as titanium striped pads) require no bedding-in procedure. Check your pads manufacturer for guidelines.

Another small detail worth paying consideration on is your wheel nuts. Torqueing down your wheel nuts evenly, according to manufacturer specifications and utilising a quality torque wrench is another preventative measure against disc(rotor) run out.

When it comes to your brakes, don’t take any chances.  It’s vital to keep them in first class condition. All things considered, they’re the only thing that is going to bring you to a STOP.


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Faulty Brakes

Good Brakes – Saves Lives


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.

Continue reading…

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!
Continue reading…

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.