ACDelco’s Technical Team shares their best practices for when you are completing brake service to ensure your customers can get the best stopping power out of their brakes. Brake service involves inspecting, cleaning, and lubricating all brake components, including replacing the rotors, brake pads, retaining clips, and calipers. After you have the right ACDelco brake parts and completed your preliminary check, follow these five steps for complete brake service.
By following these recommendations, you can provide your customers with a safe and reliable driving experience.
1-Inspect and Replace Worn Out Parts
Replacing hardware is one of the most overlooked maintenance tasks for brakes and can be the cause of many future issues due to rust buildup. While completing brake service, we recommend that you always inspect and replace the hardware (if needed) and inspect the caliper piston and boots for rust. Replacing other worn out parts not only ensures the new brakes will work properly, but will prevent further damage to the other components.
2-Thoroughly Clean All Surfaces
Brake service goes beyond just replacing the worn out parts. Ensuring all mating surfaces are clean of rust and corrosion while performing brake service is equally crucial. Sandpaper, wire wheel brushes, wire cup brushes, and abrasive discs are all great tools for removing rust and cleaning down to the metal. A file or chisel may need to be used in extreme situations.
Pay special attention to the hub face, hub center, and brake pad carrier or frame. After you’ve cleaned the surfaces, apply a coat of ACDelco silicone (which is provided in the box with each new set of brake pads) to the brake caliper and frame to protect them from future corrosion.
3-Lubricate Brake Components
After all of the surfaces have been cleaned, proper lubrication is essential to ensure smooth braking and to prevent premature wear and damage to the braking system. Brake caliper slide pins and brake pad retaining clips allow for enough movement so that brake pads stay in place without dragging on the brake rotor. Make sure to clean the slide pins well, then use silicone grease—not anti-seize compound—to lubricate them.
Retaining clips should also be protected with a dab of silicone. A very light coat of anti-seize on the brake rotor center hole will also make it easier to remove from the wheel hub the next time tire removal is required.
4-Check Torque on All Brake Components
Once the brake components are properly lubricated, it is crucial to check the torque on all brake components, including all fasteners, caliper mounting bolts and lug nuts to the recommended manufacturer specifications. This step will prevent parts from coming loose and ensuring all brake components are securely tightened for your customers safety.
5- Burnishing the Brakes
After performing the brake service or replacing the brake pads and/or rotors, a "break-in" or "burnishing" procedure is recommended to properly condition both the brake pads and brake rotors for the best service and a long life.
If done correctly, the brake burnish process physically and thermally converts the composition of the pad and rotor, smooths the severities (roughness, unevenness) of the mating surfaces and heat cycles the entire pad structure.
The recommended procedure is:
1. For “normal” street service eight to ten moderate applications from 65-30 km is sufficient. Allow for a 1/4 to 1/2 mile cool down between brake applications.
2. Allow the brakes to cool for at least 15 minutes either by parking the vehicle or continuing to drive at moderate speeds with minimal brake applications. This burnishing procedure offers optimal performance, extended life, and minimizes noise issues.
By incorporating these five tips into your future brake services, you can ensure your customers’ experience the best stopping power and performance from their ACDelco brakes.