At Steve’s Auto Repair, we rotate tires and check brakes for our digital vehicle inspection, which is done as part of our oil change.
We conducted an inspection on a Lincoln Mercury and learned that the customer didn’t notice that the brakes had gone metal to metal. Because we are a full service shop, we are able to take care of these kinds of jobs.
What brake repair looks like
In this particular case, the brake pads and rotors were simply worn down and need to be replaced. However, it’s important to keep in mind that brake repair doesn’t just involve changing the brake pads and rotors. It’s about looking at the rest of the brake system to make sure everything is working correctly.
You also need to check the bleeders on the calipers. Make sure we can actually open them and bleed the brake fluid out. Are there any hardware issues that have to go with the brake caliper? Is the brake caliper piston boot torn? Is the caliper piston seized where it won’t retract into the caliper housing? Those are some other problems that can occur and make the brake pad and rotor wear faster than just normal wear and tear.
A brake line going bad can also cause this. There’s an issue called “brake line checking,” which is when a little piece in the brake line becomes loose. When you press the brake, the fluid goes past. As you release it, a piece acts like a flap, preventing the fluid from releasing and maintaining pressure on the brake.
In order to conduct brake service correctly, you need to release the bleeders before you push the pistons back on the brake caliper. You don’t want to be cramming dirt back into the Anti-lock braking system (ABS) or the master cylinder.
Once the brake job is done
After everything is put back together, you will want to do a brake fluid flush. We use the BG fluid, which has a flushing agent in it. So, it’s not just a brake fluid exchange, like some other places do. Over a period of time, the brake fluid will get some moisture in it and – under extreme braking – the moisture can boil, resulting in a soft pedal. These problems arise as the brakes heat up when you’re coming down from the mountains after visiting with grandma or when you’re commuting. If you’re a commuter, you’re braking all the time. Even if you’re in stop and go traffic, you’re heating up the brakes quite a bit.
Using the correct lubrication on the back of the pads, or the metal contact points for the hardware or the calipers where they meet on the caliper bracket is also a necessary step in brake repair.
Using an impact gun, using an electric impact, or torquing the wheels back down is one of the last things often missed at a lot of places, including people who are working on their vehicles at home. Not using a torque wrench can automatically mess up the brake job from the get go. You start getting some lateral run out, which can cause some brake pedal pulsation later. Then, you basically have to do the brake job all over again.
Wherever you go to get your vehicle worked on, ensure that it has ASE certified technicians. Our techs are trained to look for these different types of conditions and make sure that the brake job is done right.
Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.