When performing brake repair service, there are certain things you must keep in mind. Some of these things are safety related, while others are related to performing a successful repair.
Friction surfaces are the portions of the rotors and/or drums that make contact with the pads or shoes and the portions of the pads or shoes that make contact with the rotors or drums. These surfaces must be kept clean, especially of grease or oil. If the pads or shoes become contaminated with grease, oil or brake fluid, they must be replaced.
Brake rotors and drums have minimum and maximum specifications that must be adhered to. A brake rotor has a minimum thickness allowable. If it measures less than this number, it must be replaced. Brake drums have maximum allowable diameters, after which they must be replaced. Catastrophic failure can occur if these specifications are exceeded.
Air is bad in most passenger vehicle brake systems. Air is compressible. This means it will take extra pedal pressure to stop your vehicle. The other reason is because brake fluid is a hygroscopic fluid, meaning it absorbs water from air. Water will rust brake components from the inside.
This may not sound like a service item, but the parking brake helps keep your rear brakes properly adjusted. This keeps you from using excessive pedal travel to apply the brakes.
Take extra care to keep brake fluid off your car’s paint. If any does spill or splash, wash it off quickly. It will eat your paint if left on and could dull it if you wipe it off.
Brake fluid lines, calipers and cylinders should be flushed with denatured alcohol approximately every two years to ensure proper actuation of brake components, without any binding or sticking. Remove fluid from master cylinder with a suction device and refill. Force the alcohol through the lines with pedal pressure. Crack open all bleeders. Refill with clean fluid and flush completely.
As long as you keep the 6 things mentioned above in mind when performing brake repairs, your vehicle’s braking system will give you a lifetime of safe stops.