It comes with no surprise that brake service is the most highly contested service when it comes to vehicle repair. This is because most often customers are left to make a decision to replace their brakes without the proper education as to why they need to service their brakes to begin with. I am not saying that customers don't understand that brakes wear out over time. What I am saying is that customers don't typically understand why an estimate to replace their brakes cost so much. Most often people thing "Aren't they just replacing the pads and rotors? I could do that!"; and you're right! You could do that, but here are some tips to help you with a professional repair. My goal is to educate you so you either: 1.Have a better understanding of what goes into a quality brake repair; or
2.You gain the knowledge and confidence to complete the work yourself; an
3.Your brake repair will be a quality repair and you will experience minimal issues down the road
Scrub, clean, and lube, what is it?
Good question! Scrub, clean, and lube is a process that professionals follow to prepare all metal to metal contact surfaces to insure "like new" performance after brake replacement. The idea behind this, is that you want to restore all contact surfaces as close to factory condition as you possibly can. The only way to do that is with a little bit of work. By investing a little bit of time in this process you will greatly increase the life expectancy of your brand-new brake pads and rotors. So, let us get started!
Once you have disassembled the brake assembly (one side at a time) you want to start by "scrubbing" all contact surfaces. This will require some tools like:
3.A green Scotch-Brite™ Premium Clean and Finish Disc
5.Scotch-Brite™Roloc™Brake Hub Cleaning Disc Kit
6.Scotch-Brite™ Roloc™ Bristle Disc (for aluminum surfaces) I typically start with the hub. You will want to scrub the entire surface that contacts the brake rotor. If there is rust left on the face of the rotor, you will create a brake pulsation that will present itself somewhere between 200-7,000 miles. Essentially you want the face of the hub to be flat, flush, and even. If the rust is left untreated there will be high spots that throws the alignment of the rotor off causing the rotor to contact the pads with each revolution. Scrubbing the face of the hub will help decrease the chances of this happening and decrease the chances of brake pulsation developing.
You accomplish this by scrubbing around the lug studs with Scotch-Brite™Roloc™Brake Hub Cleaning Disc Kit. You can continue to use this tool to scrub around the pilot of the hub and the gaps between each lug stud or lug hole. If you do not own this tool or you do not want to spend the money to invest in a tool like this, you can use sandpaper. Just understand that sandpaper will take a lot longer and you will have to work much harder to accomplish this task to the same level of quality as the hub cleaning disc.
Once you have scrubbed the hub face. Next, we move on to the anchor bracket (also known as the caliper bracket). Remove the hardware and the slide pins from the bracket. Use a wire brush to remove rust and buildup from the anchor bracket where the hardware sits. If there is rust that is stubborn and stuck to the anchor bracket you can use an angle grinder with a green Scotch-Brite™ Premium Clean and Finish Disc. You must be careful not to change the shape of the anchor bracket in any way. You are only trying to remove the rust from the bracket. If you alter the shape of the bracket the hardware will fit too loosely, brake noise and uneven brake ware will occur.
While you have all your scrubbing tools out. It is best practice to scrub the pilot hole and contact surface on the back of the wheel as well. This insures the wheel is flat, flush, and even. Use Scotch-Brite™ Roloc™ Bristle Disc (for aluminum surfaces) if you have aluminum wheels. If you have steel wheels you can use a wire brush.
I know what you are saying, "that's a lot of work". Trust me, if you follow this advice you are on the right track to restoring your brakes to "like new" performance and they will have a very long service life. Let's move on to cleaning.
Yay, cleaning. This process seems pretty straight forward. You will need some clean rags and a can of brake clean. Spray the face of the hub and anchor bracket with brake clean to insure a nice clean surface. Next, whip the slide pins clean with a clean rag.
I have covered the types of lubricant in a previous post. We will not cover types here, but if you would like to up your game in which types of lubricant go where. I would suggest reading that post was well. Matter of fact, I wouldn't lubricate anything without knowing where it goes because certain types of lube will cause rubber to swell (Anti-seize). So, please make sure you educate yourself on this topic before you start lubricating. The link to that article is here http://www.fixya.com/cars/r27246435-brake_lubricant_s_important_use_correct.
You want to start by lubricating the face of the hub and the pilot but use care not to get the lubricant on the lug studs or inside the holes for the lug bolts. Next, lubricate the anchor bracket where the brake hardware sits (this step helps prevent rust from forming on the anchor bracket later on down the road). Install the new brake hardware (This is a must! Always use new brake hardware) and lubricate the surface of the new hardware where the pads make contact. Then, lubricate the slide pins (using a silicon-based brake lubricant only). And finally, lubricate the back of the pad each pad (only where it makes contact with the caliper piston and the fingers for the caliper). Install all of your new parts and torque everything (with a torque wrench) to factory specifications.
I hope this tip is helpful for you, but please understand. "Use at your own risk" the topics covered in this tip are for reference only. In no way does this tip substitute or replace manufacturers procedures and specifications. Brake systems should always be serviced by a professional. Any failures that result from negligence or failure to follow proper procedures are solely the responsibility of the individual that performed the brake service.