The braking system is one of the most important in the whole car. Driving safety directly depends not only on us, but also for other road users. Therefore, the correct selection of brake system components and its servicing is very important. What do you need to remember?
We will not use a strong and dynamic engine or a comfortable car interior if its braking system does not work as it should. Without efficient and effective brakes, starting any journey becomes simply impossible, so they absolutely require our special attention.
Replacing brake pads
Cheap products without appropriate certificates will not ensure adequate braking performance or service life. By law, all blocks should now have ECE R90 approval specifying quality standards. The certification mark should be on the packaging and on the back of the block. However, this standard is not very strict and if we drive a vehicle with a powerful engine and often travel on highways, we should first choose products from reputable brands from the premium group.
Another important criterion for choosing the pads is the adaptation to the brake discs. Too soft pads mounted on discs made of hard alloys can cause a significant reduction in braking efficiency and their faster wear. A bad fit can also cause unpleasant squeaks. These differences are even more pronounced when the discs are made of non-standard materials, e.g. for sports and performance riding. To avoid such phenomena, it is best to assemble both elements of one brand system. Good quality blocks have a special layer between the support plate and the friction material, which dampens vibrations (almost all premium products have such a solution) and additionally strengthens the connections between the plate and the facing.
With a proper purchase of spare parts, the most common is the 17-digit VIN number of the vehicle manufacturer. In the case of brake pads, it may also be indispensable to find out what specific braking system is used in our car. It may be that within one model there are different systems to which completely different blocks fit.
Whenever you replace the pads, look at the condition of the brake discs. Small circumferential grooves are permissible, but different thicknesses on one diameter should of course be aligned in a specialized service center. The discs should also be sanded when they corrode on the friction surface. Damage in the form of cracks, nicks or bulges is absolutely unacceptable. It should be remembered that the actual condition of the disc should be assessed by an experienced mechanic who will decide on its replacement or the possibility of further use. Worn and damaged discs will never work well with blocks. It is certainly safer to replace the braking system components one time too much than to lose the possibility of braking the car in the case of the one that determines our most important health and life.
Replacing breaking pads – when and how
In some cars, the information about the need to replace the blocks with new ones is signaled by an appropriate indicator light or by information displayed by the on-board computer. There are also pads equipped with wear sensors and additionally with special plates, which with minimal thickness of friction veneers rub against the brake discs and emit a characteristic sound. It is difficult to clearly determine after which course the pads and discs will have to be replaced. It depends on their quality, specifications and the individual driving style of the driver. Nevertheless, the condition of the braking system should be checked each time during standard vehicle technical inspections. Security cannot be overestimated.
The new sets of good brake pads from reputable manufacturers may also include special mounting kits containing – depending on the construction of a particular system – springs, disposable screws, bolts and studs or wear indicators. Experienced mechanics know that even if old elements look undamaged, due to corrosion, overheating, material fatigue they may be out of order and therefore they should be absolutely replaced. At the end of the assembly, the mechanism is protected with a special copper grease. A very important principle is also the need to replace the pads and discs in pairs on one axis, which allows their even wear and distribution of braking forces.