Hi there. I’m Saul Reisman here at Saul’s Autotek and today we’re going to talk a little bit about brakes.
Now, you’ve seen we’ve made a few videos about brakes and the reason is they’re one of the most important parts of your car. One of the most common sales that you’ll hear from local auto repair facilities is about just brakes because that’s what that they to focus on, is just brakes. Or, maybe they might do brakes and a few other things, so they think it’s like brakes plus something else. But we like to think of ourselves as being able to service every and all parts of the car and brakes are just one of those systems. The reason that some of those shops focus on them is there’s a huge profit center for shops if they market to only those.
Those types of local Denver Brake repair facilities are driven by that profit margin and that’s why they focus there.
That makes us skeptical of some of the repairs and some of the reasoning behind some of those repairs. As a result, we want to teach you a little bit more about yours. Now, most of the time when somebody says, “I need brakes,” what they’re thinking of is the actual brake pad itself, which, just like an eraser and you rub back and forth on paper and the eraser eventually wears down and there’s nothing left, the brake pad that sits right up in here into the caliper itself will eventually burn up and become very thin. When it does, several different things can happen. Luckily, if the brake isn’t that hot of a design, let’s say, a large brake on a smaller vehicle, this pad can be replaced, we can retract this caliper and lubricate these slide pins and allow it to get a good surface with just replacing the pad.
However, some motor vehicles weren’t factory equipped with a high-performance brake or were equipped with a brake that was designed to run hot and therefore burn into that rotor. Any Volkswagen or Audi product, and this goes all the way up to the line of Porsches, Lamborghinis, Bentley and accordingly, all utilized what we call a hot pad, by that we mean they use a carbon-carbon or a carbon-ceramic pad. Those burn extremely hot and as a result will actually eat into the edge of this rotor and leave a lip along the edge of this rotor, even in regular, normal everyday use. Now, most motor vehicles will be able to replace the pads at least once before the rotor itself gets eaten into. Volkswagen motor vehicles, this isn’t the case. Some Toyota vehicles fall into the same category.
So here at Saul’s Autotek, we inspect the brakes thoroughly to see what damage has been done, has it done any damage to that rotor, can that rotor be saved and resurfaced and if it does need to be replaced, why does it need to be replaced? Were the brake pads worn evenly on both sides? Were they uneven or cockeyed? Is there a problem with the slide pins or with the caliper pistons themselves? Or what actually caused the brake to wear out? If you’re just looking at the bent parts of broken pieces and you’re trying to replace them all, you can do that, but it won’t necessarily get to the root cause of the problem. If you have a vehicle come in and it keep getting brake pads every six months and somebody just keeps putting brake pads onto it, the problem’s probably a caliper that’s either not aligned properly, not squeezing properly or has a slide pin problem.
Here at Saul’s Autotek, we’re going to lube those slides. We’re going to retract those caliper pistons and make sure every single time that every brake job is done perfectly no matter what. We value your safety and we want you to understand the components, how they work, how they support you and how you can make good decisions. When it comes to brakes, there’s a lot of cost differences that are substantial. For most motor vehicles, a standard brake of replacing the pads, cleaning things up and getting those rotors to a better surface is typically a $300 to $400 repair. However, if that same vehicle needed to replace all four of those brake rotors, that repair might jump to anywhere from $800 to $1200 depending on the vehicle accordingly.
Some of the ways that we can avoid that are by properly taking care of our brakes, getting those brake pads changed as soon as you hear that high pitched squeak noise from that squeaker so that you don’t burn through that brake pad all the way into that rotor and you don’t cause damage to it. However, if you do, there’s a few things we can do to help you budget in mind. Let’s take a look. Now, the piece of equipment we’re working at is a brake lathe. Now, the term lathe, L-A-T-H-E, originated in England when they would spin wooden rods on a dowel and use them to make banisters and they would carve away at the wood at its spinning in order to perfectly shave around an object. Now, 190 years later, we use a similar type lathe to spin a brake rotor and then use a jaw to actually cut the brake rotor’s surface itself and bring it back to a smooth surface.
So, if that brake rotor has developed an edge on the bottom of it, we can actually run this along it while it’s spinning to cut that edge perfectly smooth again and allow a smooth surface for that brake pad to engage. We want that brake pad to get the perfect surface to surface contact with that rotor because the more surfaced area adhesion we get the more friction we can transfer because the more traction we have between the two. So, the goal is to get that smooth as glass feel of one of the other and not have a brake rotor that looks like a record or has that kind of warped feel to it. However, sometimes this machine can’t save us, and we do end up having to replace the rotor. In the new case of rotors on the market, a lot of new rotors are actually being produced fairly cheaply and are not the highest quality product.
So, one service that we offer here at Saul’s Autotek is if we replace the pads on your vehicle, we’ll always check to see if they need to be machined on that rotor and we’ll make sure those are true and straight. If they need machining, we use state of the art equipment with a diamond tipped bit to ensure the smoothest, straightest surface. If they need replacing, some of the new after-market rotors and even new factory rotors that we’ve seen on the market have a minor standard deviation up to 5000th of an inch. Now, while that might not seem like much, that could translate to a shimmy, a wobble or an uneven feel in the braking, even with a brand-new brake rotor. As a result, every rotor that we replace we then machine that surface edge off of so that we know that we’ve taken that down to a perfectly true surface every time and you have the best braking system possible on your motor vehicle.
This also allows that rotor to be the thickest possible, maintaining the most mass and that mass will be used to transfer that kinetic energy into thermal and allow that mass to hold that heat. I hope this gives you a good idea about how your brakes work in your vehicle and a little bit better insight of what your mechanic might be talking to you about yours. So, if you’re concerned about your brakes, you need a little something extra, a little plus service or just those brakes taken care of, come see us Saul’s Autotek. We’d be happy to get you taken care of.