It’s spring time here at Hoffman Auto which usually means that we’ll have some nice, sunny days followed by a snow storm or two before we actually, really see spring and summer. People are ramping up for their yearly road trip south and the rain we’ll be getting in the next few weeks will be washing off the salt and dirt from the roads making this the perfect time to have a bi-annual brake cleaning service done on your vehicle.
Brake cleanings are not something you hear much about; I mean…if you wash your car from time to time, aren’t you cleaning your brakes and pads, too? Not quite and most service repair shops find it easier to just say, “time for new brakes and pads” instead of suggestions a $40-$50 brake cleaning when your components do not necessarily need to be replaced.
How does a brake cleaning help?
During the winter months, especially in the Adirondacks, your wheels and brakes get covered in dirt, salt and water. When the snow melts and things begin to dry up, these contaminates cover your brake pads and mating surfaces and basically start turning into concrete, keeping your brake components from moving properly. Once things stop moving, uneven or accelerated brake wear can occur, along with a soft brake pedal or extended braking distances; this can also cause poor fuel mileage.
Many times you won’t notice that anything is wrong with your brakes, but after months and months of a slow build-up process, they can begin to wear. For instance, your rear brakes are not working properly because they are seized up from build-up so your front brakes are working overtime to make up for the difference and it feels like the brakes are working fine. Even though they feel fine, your rear brakes are wearing improperly and your front brakes are wearing twice as fast from working overtime. We’ve seen vehicles with 15,000 – 17,000 miles on their brakes and have had to spend upwards of $400-$600 on new pads and rotors because their pads wore prematurely and destroyed the brake rotor.
An annual or bi-annual brake cleaning can easily extend the life of brake pads and rotors by double or triple the mileage, and can save you from having to make premature costly brake repairs.
What exactly is a brake cleaning?
Think about a brake cleaning like going to the dentist for a teeth cleaning. Basically, a technician will remove all your brake pads (front and rear when applicable), clean the mating surfaces where the pads sit in the caliper bracket, clean the caliper slid pins and give the brake pads a better stopping surface. Then, we reassemble the braking system and “re-seat” your brake pads and make sure they are working properly again.
When should I schedule a brake cleaning?
Hoffman Auto recommends scheduling a brake cleaning with your regular service and tire rotations. Tire rotations should be done every 5,000 miles – typically in the fall and spring (before and after winter). This is the best time to have your brakes cleaned since your wheel are already off the vehicle, saving you the additional labor to remove your wheels solely for a brake cleaning.