The Importance of Proper Braking System Maintenance: Keep Your Vehicle Safe and Reliable on the Road
The braking system is a crucial safety feature of any vehicle, allowing drivers to slow down and stop as needed. Proper maintenance of the braking system is essential to ensure that it is functioning correctly and able to provide reliable stopping power when needed.
One of the main components of the braking system is the brake pads, which are responsible for creating the friction needed to stop the vehicle. As brake pads wear down over time, they become less effective at generating friction and may need to be replaced. Regular inspections and replacements of brake pads can help ensure that your vehicle has strong and reliable braking power.
Another important aspect of braking system maintenance is the brake fluid. Brake fluid is responsible for transmitting the force from the brake pedal to the brake pads, and it can become contaminated over time. Contaminated brake fluid can cause a variety of problems, including reduced braking performance, spongy brakes, and even complete failure of the braking system. Regularly flushing and replacing the brake fluid can help prevent these issues and ensure that your braking system is in top condition.
In addition to replacing brake pads and flushing brake fluid, it is also important to check and maintain other components of the braking system, such as the brake rotors, calipers, and hoses. These components can wear out or become damaged over time, and need to be replaced to ensure that the braking system is functioning correctly.
Overall, the importance of braking system maintenance cannot be overstated. Proper maintenance can help ensure that your vehicle’s braking system is reliable and able to provide strong stopping power when needed, improving your safety on the road. Regular inspections and maintenance of the braking system is an essential part of responsible vehicle ownership, and can help extend the lifespan of your vehicle’s braking system.
“Why are my brakes squealing?”
There are several potential reasons for brake squeal, and it can happen with any brake pad, pad type, brand, and on almost any vehicle. Here are some things to consider:
- Brake squeal usually occurs within the first 500-1000 kilometers and usually goes away after that.
- The condition of the brake discs/rotors plays a significant role in brake squeal. A used rotor with a lip at the edge or an uneven surface can take longer for the noise to stop.
- On automotive cast iron rotors with an uneven condition, the best solution is to have them machined on a Pro Cut lathe. A used rotor that is skimmed on the Pro Cut lathe is actually better than a new rotor, provided the thickness minimums are respected. The cast rotor matrix settles after use.
- There are different types of squeal, ranging from a small noise when you release the brake from a standstill (called “creep graunch”) to more general brake squeal.
To remedy brake squeal, consider the following:
- Make sure your pads have noise shims, which are included on all EBC pads.
- Allow the pads to bed in, and if the noise continues after 1000 kilometers, give the brake system a good workout with a few heavier brake applications on a safe road.
- Check the condition of the calipers. Calipers should be removed and serviced every 5-7 years or replaced. Sliders and pins in calipers can corrode and cause pad drag, leading to brake overheating and squeal.
- If the noise persists after trying these steps, contact us to discuss a different grade of pad.
“Why are my rotors making a whooshing or wind noise? – EBC GD DISCS”
Provided you have the latest spec 3 slot version of EBC sport rotors the noise levels are as low as they will go with a sport rotor. EBC recently changed from 5 slot to 3 slot to reduce noise issues. The slots have a purpose of drawing cool air under the pad contact point and are therefore beneficial.
On the 5 slot rotors experience shows us that noise gradually reduces over a period of driving but it can take up to 4000 kilometers use before this reaches its lowest point after which the noise is there to stay. If you are totally dissatisfied with the presence of this noise, please contact us again and we will come to a reasonable solution.There is absolutely no safety issue involved.
EBC now also make their new Ultimax Black Dash series slotted rotors which feature narrower slots and no dimples. This design is significantly quieter. So why does EBC sell two types of sport rotor? First the larger the slots (as on the 3GD series) the better the air cooling effect, tests on the UK Police Force Chase cars have shown the wide slots to be very helpful at speed at cooling the pad and rotor.
Also the 3GD wider slots extend completely to the edge of the rotor and are better at removing dirt, dust, debris and water (making them ideal for off road uses) On the other hand the narrower slots on the new Ultimax series provide SOME cooling and certainly degas the pads and are therefore a good upgrade option for street use at lower speeds.
People often ask “Do sport rotors really do anything?” and our honest answer is they do. First the cooling advantage is simple physics: they cool the pads and rotors, but the surface area reduction actually means less braking unless you change the brake pads for a higher friction compound such as EBC to compensate.
Every EBC pad offers significantly higher stopping power than most aftermarket and OEM pads (according to EBC dyno tests) and one extensive independent vehicle test conducted on a closed race track in the UK on a Sport compact (Golf GTi) showed EBC pads to stop several car lengths faster than three popular USA aftermarket brands tested. Add this extra friction to the better cooling and you have better brakes. Extra benefits of sport rotors are not often spoken about but are very worthwhile.
This is the effect the slots have on maintaining a flat smooth pad surface during the pads wear life. The slots encourage the pads to wear with a more flat pattern and the “ribbing” common with non-slotted rotors does not appear. This removes the “record groove” effect of pads on plain rotors, particularly around the outer edge and helps pads maintain better contact area with the rotor through their life. As far as EBC is concerned this is the major benefit of sport rotors over all others as EBC pads have such a high temperature rating they don’t need degassing. We test all pads to temps over 1000 degrees.”
“Why are brake discs/rotors vibrating”
There are several potential reasons why your brake discs might be vibrating (which can be felt through the steering or pedal):
Runout/Warped brake discs: If the brake discs are warped, they can cause vibrations when braking. This can be caused by excessive heat or uneven wear on the discs.
Misaligned calipers: If the calipers that hold the brake pads are not properly aligned, they can cause the brake pads to wear unevenly, leading to vibrations when braking.
Loose or damaged hardware: If any of the hardware that holds the brake discs in place is loose or damaged, it can cause vibrations when braking.
Contaminated brake fluid: If the brake fluid is contaminated, it can cause the brake calipers to stick or function improperly, leading to vibrations when braking.
Suspension Components: In some cases vibrations through the steering wheel may not be brake related, it could simply be a case of worn suspension bushes, such as; tie rod-end links, rack-ends, control arm bushes, etc.
If you are experiencing vibrations when braking, it is important to have the issue addressed as soon as possible. Vibrations can be a sign of a more serious problem with your braking system or suspension components, and addressing the issue promptly can help prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your vehicle. It is best to have a mechanic diagnose and repair the problem, as attempting to fix the issue yourself can be dangerous if you are not trained in brake repair. Contact Us for Assistance
“What’s causing brake vibrations or intermittent noises? – EBC Specific”
If sport rotors are not checked for runout, driving without even applying brakes will exhibit a clicking noise on a “once-per-rev of the wheel” basis. If you encounter this, especially early after having rotors installed, return them to the service shop and have them checked for runout.
Recommendations for maximum permissible runout vary from 0.001 to 0.002 inches on most European cars to 0.003 to 0.006 on larger USA Trucks and SUV’s. Figures above these are not only unacceptable but they will cause brake vibration after a period of 5000 to 6000 Kilometers. (Read below in Blue please) which is not grounds for warranty.
Mounting rotors on dirt or rust and scale covered hubs or excessive use of mounting greases and most often incorrect tightening of rotors from first install are the common reasons for excess runout. If your installer knows his job he will hand tighten the rotor studs in a diagonal fashion with gradually increasing torques by hand and final tighten with a torque wrench and ideally you wont even see or hear an air gun being used. Guns (including air guns) are for cowboys and are often used by them.
A common question we receive is “Why do rotors suffer vibration after 5000-6000 kilometers and how can EBC be so precise in this mileage estimate, surely it cannot be the same for every car?”
The reason the mileage is more or less the same for every car where vibration occurs is that the problem develops OFF BRAKE or when you are driving without applying the brake. The more freeway driving you do the more easily this can occur. The excess runout mentioned above caused in most cases by bad fitting and not checking for runout (and the other 10% due to a hub not running true such as a car that has impacted a curb at some time) causes the pad to “kiss” the rotor gently each revolution of the wheel as you drive.
After the above mileage period the pads wear a microscopic thin spot on the rotor and a condition known as DTV occurs. This DTV (Disc Thickness Variation) causes the brake to pulse. A small amount of runout itself does not cause vibration but the tiniest amount of DTV does cause vibration. That is why when a rotor is not running true the car does not exhibit vibration in the first few miles and this explains how it shows up later (5000-6000 kilometers).
How can this vibration problem be solved?
Rotors will need to be turned at a machine shop or brake fitting centre or replaced. EBC sport grooved rotors can be turned with good results on standard AAMCO brake lathes. If too badly scored or worn some rotors will have to be replaced. New pads will always be needed.
Before taking your car to the shop, check if the vibration is coming from the front or the rear to save costs in unnecessary brake work. Generally vibration under braking that can be felt through the bodywork or seating of the car is a problem on the rear brake and vibration felt on the steering wheel is related to front brake problems.
What are the best pads to prevent or limit brake vibration?
Any good quality pad with a high thermal conductivity will reduce the chances of vibration both due to DTV as described above or vibration at speeds due to what we call thermal shock. Thermal shock is common on European cars and all pads in the EBC range are especially good at reducing vibration. Our online catalog recommends the minimum grades for your car and shows options.
“What about brake dust?”
Some brake dust is inevitable from every brake pad and it is impossible to totally eliminate dust otherwise brake vibration will occur. We never advertise zero dust, we only advertise less dust and we appreciate that in some cases dust will be almost the same as original pads. However, please note that dust is always more severe in the first 1000-2000 kilometers of driving especially if pads were fitted to partly worn rotors. Another condition which promotes significant dust is wrong pad compound choice.
If you have a car with over 200bhp (horse power) or drive above what we might call a spirited street level – for example green pads would not be suitable and Red Ceramic, being a slightly harder pad, can handle these higher speeds and loads and gives off less dust – there may be cases of overload where the Green pads are carbonising in use and a higher spec pad (Red Ceramic) is needed.
If you have been sold greens and need reds, go back to the dealer where you purchased them and ask him for some sort of a deal to get you onto the correct brake compound. Yellow compounds are a fantastic brake, probably our best but they are equal in dust to original parts and should not be chosen if a low dust pad is what you need. Our cleanest pads are Red Ceramic for sedans and Green 7000 series for SUV and light trucks.
“How efficient are EBC pads?”
All EBC coloured range pads – green, red and yellow – are high mileage compounds. and you cannot expect their optimum performance straight out of the box. Brake effect will be good and certainly safe, but not at their best. Pads need to be bedded in geometrically which could take 800-1000 kilometers, even on new rotors and after that pads have to final cure chemically which can take another 15000 kilometers.
Experience shows us that out of the box all EBC pads perform equal to or better than OEM parts and most other aftermarket parts but they just keep getting better with time so hang in there – and please don’t criticise the performance of the pads until they are fully bedded.
Also during the life of the pads remember to monitor pad wear as half worn pads or more than half worn pads will cause a significant reduction in performance of the brake. In sport use and for optimum braking we recommend changing pads when there is 3/16 th inch (4mm) of friction material left on the steel backing plate and not to wear the pads any lower. Pads and calipers start to overheat when friction material goes below this level.
Remember the faster and harder you drive, the faster pads will wear and a wrong spec pad could wear out surprisingly quickly so keep an eye on the pads, especially if you see more dust than expected. In race use wear will be much faster.
“My brake warning light is on. Where do i get brake wear leads?”
Many Asian and USA vehicles use a rivet on screech clip, a small gold coloured metal clip in a U form that contacts the rotor as the pads are low and makes a loud noise to remind you of the need for pad replacement. You only need one clip per set of pads and that is all EBC use in most cases.
There is no need for multiple clips and there is no safety issue with less. Pads wear evenly unless there is a major caliper problem and one clip will alert you of a pad requiring replacement. This assumes of course that your calipers are functioning properly and sliding freely which is part of any routine brake install work. It is always good practice to check pad wear every 5000-6000 kilometers anyway, whether or not you have indicators of any type on your car.
European cars usually use a wear lead wire to operate a dash warning light. For VW and Audi models the lead is glued into the pad and the EBC pad comes with a new EBC lead in the pad. BMW, Mercedes and Saab models have loose wear leads which clip into the top of the pad. We sell these EBC leads separately on vendor’s web sites or at the dealer that supplied you. We do not provide these loose leads in our sets as the price is considerable and leads do not always need replacement.