CrossDrilledRotors.ca Official Blog

  • Can You and Your Brakes Take the Heat?

    There is little doubt that brakes represent one of the most active markets in the industry. Given the stiff competition in the segment, there also should be little surprise that much of what is being sold in your store today is manufactured outside of fortress North America. Given the sensitive issue of safety surrounding these parts, though, what are the implications for jobbers faced with constant price wars, quality questions and the need to guard against sub-par or dangerous parts?

    First the good news

    The continuing growth in Canadian vehicle populations is sustaining the demand for replacement brake system parts in this country. The demand for brake pads, rotors, and calipers is particularly strong, since all new vehicles are equipped with at least two, and possibly four, disc brakes.

    As the majority of automobile manufacturers employ disc-braking systems, demand for premium and ceramic brakes is also expected to remain on the rise in Canada. Satisfied Brake Corporation vice-president Ian Braunstein says he is encouraged by the use of more ceramic pads, but also notes the problems associated with the boom in the business. “There is sometimes a misconception, when it comes to ceramics, that any ceramic pad will always be better than an organic or a metallic,” he says. “Today, there are a lot of economy ceramic pads that are selling at a lower price, so at best you’re going to compromise performance. Of course, the worst-case scenario is that an economy ceramic is inadequate for the job, causing excessive dust, unacceptable noise and vibration, or even compromised safety.” In this case, Braunstein suggests jobbers stick to their OE specifications. “What jobbers need to keep in mind is that they still have to be OE-specific. If the OE is a semi-metallic, then it can absolutely be replaced by a quality grade semi-metallic; and if you want to upsell them to an aftermarket ceramic pad, you must be certain that it will surpass the OE part in quality and performance.”

    Now the Not-So-Good News

    Rising raw material costs and increased competition from overseas suppliers has served to make the production of brake components more difficult for North American manufacturers. While the increase in oil prices, steel, and other components has added to production costs, manufacturers are hesitant to raise their prices, as it would make them less competitive against foreign competitors, who are at an advantage due to their lower overseas labour costs. “To counter these costs, companies are moving their production sites to Asia and Latin America to take advantage of lower labour expenses,” explains Frost and Sullivan research analyst Stephen Spivey.

    Satisfied Brake Corporation, for example, has begun working with and even establishing its own facilities in China, which Braunstein says is a business reality in today’s global market, but he notes that it needs to be done cautiously. “To do it properly, you have to control the process across all of your product lines, to ensure overall quality control,” he says. Honeywell, manufacturer of the Bendix line of brakes, has a similar global reach when it comes to its modern manufacturing process. “Bendix manufactures parts in the USA, China, Brazil, Germany, France, Australia and Thailand,” says Jay Buckley, technical training manager for Honeywell Consumer Products Group. What’s more, Buckley says, all of those plants are Honeywell-owned and QS9001-certified, which helps to monitor and ensure quality.

    One issue noted by Canadian representatives is the sheer number of new competitors that appear to be little more than marketing and sales agencies. “All of a sudden we’ve seen many of these so-called brake companies bringing their product in and simply marketing it for an overseas manufacturer,” says Braunstein. “It’s opened a real grey area in technology, because a lot of these new manufacturers have only been in the brake distrobution business for a few years.” It’s undoubtedly a safety concern; Braunstein insists that very high quality parts can be built in Chinese facilities, but it requires significant investment by the parent company, both in training and infrastructure.

    Unfortunately, not all North American distributors play on the same contentious level, and as a result it has, in some automotive sectors, caused some of the same corporate disasters that have been suffered recently by massive multinationals like Colgate and Mattel. A highly germane case out of the United States pointedly illustrates the dangers of poor product research. A company out of New Jersey, Foreign Tire Sales, was involved in importing Chinese-made tires and then rebranding them for domestic sale. It has since been forced to recall some 450,000 tires after they began experiencing tread separation problems. According to preliminary reports, it appears that the manufacturing company in China unilaterally decided to cut back on, and in some cases stop using the appropriate gum strips, which are critical in holding the tread in place. As a result of the ordered recall, execs with the importer have indicated that they will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy, as they simply can’t afford the mandatory recall.

    While many jobbers feel they are not significantly affected by the recent spate of recalls, what many don’t appreciate is that, like it or not, you are intimately associated with the products you sell, and in some instances, can be severely affected both personally and financially if there is a catastrophic flaw in a part you have sold.

    One important measure to ensure overall quality and avoid such unpleasantness is to make sure you fully investigate the testing methodologies used by manufacturers with whom you are considering doing business. Ensuring that the products you sell are adequately tested should go a long way in ensuring that quality, reliable parts are being sold to your customers. “We test aftermarket parts to the same SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards as we use for Original Equipment friction testing, and our aftermarket products meet all DOT and SAE standards for performance, wear, and durability,” says Buckley. At Satisfied, Braunstein says the firm’s testing will most accurately reflect real-life conditions. “We’ve embraced relevant testing standards,” he says. “The D3EA (Dual Dynamometer Differential Effectiveness Analysis) testing method simulates real driving conditions, and it is very vehicle-specific.”

    In the end jobbers simply have to start doing some of their own research into their suppliers’ practices, as a precautionary measure. Making sure you’re selling the best and safest product possible does not have to be a difficult or threatening venture; but it requires some homework. As Buckley advises, “With the proliferation of parts coming in from low-cost regions, it is extremely important for jobbers to deal with known brand names that they can trust.

    “The first question that should be asked when selecting a supplier is how it protects the buyer in a liability case. It’s important to have an idea of how a supplier intends to stand behind its products.”

  • BRM Releases Honing Tool For Brakes

    Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM) has released a ball-style honing tool, the Flex-Hone that allows rebuilders and service shops to give gives brake cylinders and rotors a smooth, “non-directional” finish that eliminates braking noise and extends service life.

    The Flex-Hone uses abrasive globules called “dingle berrie,” mounted to nylon filaments to de-burring, plateau hone and deglaze, and to easily remove microscopic metal shards and fragments. BRM also makes a special line of these ball-type hones for use on brake system rotors.

  • North American Brakes Aftermarket: Sales of Brake Caliper and Hydraulic Components to Benefit as Consumers Keep Their Vehicles Longer

    North American Brakes Aftermarket: Sales of Brake Caliper and Hydraulic Components to Benefit as Consumers Keep Their Vehicles Longer

    Research and Markets has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report "North American Brakes Aftermarket: Calipers and Hydraulic Components" to their offering.

    Research and Markets has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan’s new report “North American Brakes Aftermarket: Calipers and Hydraulic Components” to their offering.

    This service analyzes brake calipers and hydraulics in the North American automotive aftermarket. It includes unit shipment and revenue forecasts, pricing analyses, distribution channel analyses, market share analyses, and industry challenges. The base year is 2009. Forecasts are provided from 2010-2016, and historical data is provided for 2006-2008. Calipers are segmented into Loaded, Semi-loaded and Unloaded product lines. Hydraulics are segmented into master cylinders, wheel cylinders, brake hoses, brake cables, clutch master cylinders and slave cylinders. There are two companion services connected to this research. They are North American Brakes Aftermarket: Rotors and Drums and North American Brakes Aftermarket: Friction Parts.

    This research service titled North American Brakes Aftermarket: Calipers and Hydraulic Components provides unit shipment and revenue forecasts, market drivers and restraints, distribution channel analyses and market share analyses. In this research, Frost & Sullivan’s expert analysts thoroughly examine the following markets: automotive brake calipers and hydraulic components.

    Sales of Brake Caliper and Hydraulic Components to Benefit as Consumers Keep Their Vehicles Longer

    The current economic environment is encouraging people to keep their vehicles longer and driving growth in the North American brakes aftermarket. Demand for durable brake components such as calipers, master cylinders, and hoses will also increase in the coming years, reversing a longstanding downtrend for many parts in this category. The result will be increased competition that drives some suppliers out of the market. The decline in vehicle sales has a corresponding effect on average vehicle age; today, the average vehicle age in the United States is about 9.5 years, notes the analyst of this research service. In two years, the average U.S. passenger vehicle will be over 10 years old, putting more vehicles in the prime replacement period not only for routine maintenance parts, but also for many long-lasting components such as hoses and master cylinders. These growth rates may not seem impressive on the surface. However, for some of these components, it is the first time since Frost & Sullivan began tracking the category that suppliers expect any growth at all. Unit shipment demand for semi-loaded calipers will increase by 3.7 per cent annually. Demand for master cylinders will grow at a rate of 0.3 per cent annually. Total manufacturer-level revenues will increase by 3.1 per cent each year from 2009 to 2016.

    To take advantage of this opportunity, suppliers must carry all makes and models coverage. This includes approximately 3,650 calipers, 3,650 brake hoses, and 3,525 additional hydraulic components. Suppliers that cannot provide the entire product line are unlikely to win business with large distributors, limiting their ability to compete in this category. The high number of parts that the aftermarket requires makes it difficult for suppliers to plan production, manage inventories, reduce costs, and meet all customers needs in a timely manner, says the analyst. The high bargaining power of larger retailers and warehouse distributors (WDs) puts pressure on suppliers to cover all vehicles, maintain fill rates of at least 92 per cent, and offer the best price to win the distributors business.

    Distributors usually source calipers and hydraulic components from different suppliers rather than from a single vendor because they require distinct specialization. As a result, suppliers should specialize in calipers or hydraulics rather than trying to sell all components together, or by distinguishing themselves as a remanufacturer or a re-packager offering sourcing, assembling and labeling services to a full-line brakes company. There are opportunities for suppliers to create niches in this market, such as developing a cost-effective line of new calipers to compete against the remanufacturers that currently dominate the category or focusing on high-performance upgrades rather than standard replacement parts. Suppliers can differentiate their products or services to develop competitive advantages.

  • Research and Markets: North American Brakes Aftermarket – Sales of Higher-priced Brake Pads Poised to Drive Growth in the North American Friction Parts Aftermarket

    Research and Markets: North American Brakes Aftermarket – Sales of Higher-priced Brake Pads Poised to Drive Growth in the North American Friction Parts Aftermarket

    Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/f596b3/north_american_bra) has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan's new report "North American Brakes Aftermarket: Friction Parts" to their offering.

    Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/f596b3/north_american_bra) has announced the addition of Frost & Sullivan’s new report “North American Brakes Aftermarket: Friction Parts” to their offering.

    This service analyzes brake pads and brake shoes in the automotive aftermarket in the United States and Canada. It includes unit shipment and revenue forecasts, pricing analyses, distribution channel analyses, market share analyses, industry challenges, and market drivers and restraints. The base year is 2009. Forecasts are provided from 2010-2016, and historical data is provided for 2006-2008. Within brake pads, the market is further segmented into Good, Better and Best product lines, and by material type into semi-metallic and ceramic/NAO. There are two companion services connected to this research. They are North American Brakes Aftermarket: Rotors and Drums and North American Brakes Aftermarket: Calipers and Hydraulic Components.

    This research service titled North American Brakes Aftermarket: Friction Partsprovides unit shipment and revenue forecasts, market drivers and restraints, distribution channel analyses, and market share analyses. In this research, Frost & Sullivan’s expert analysts thoroughly examine the following markets: automotive brake pads and shoes.

    Sales of Higher-priced Brake Pads Poised to Drive Growth in the North American Friction Parts Aftermarket

    The North American friction parts aftermarket, which includes brake pads and brake shoes, generated manufacturer-level revenues of US$1,383.2 million in 2009. Increasing vehicle age, which puts more cars and trucks in the prime replacement period for brake components, and newer vehicle applications that require more expensive parts will drive future growth. Friction parts will generate steady growth for manufacturers and distributors in the aftermarket, with demand for premium pads and shoes growing at the expense of low-priced products.

    As production has shifted away from North America, an increasing number of distributors, installers, and vehicle owners are willing to pay for higher product quality, better warranty terms, and reliable customer service rather than for a low-priced replacement part.

    Once regarded as a high-performance upgrade, manufacturers now position their best lines as the new industry standard, notes the analyst of this research service. Companies that compete mainly on the basis of price leadership have lost market share over the past two years, even in a poor economic environment. In response to the markets current quality focus, suppliers must carefully align the pricing of their good, better and best line-up to support the value of their premium offerings.

    Strong private-label competition from leading distributors threatens the brand value of traditional manufacturers. Most retail and wholesale customers promote their own in-house brands at the expense of traditional suppliers, which have invested large sums to build brand loyalty. This trend diminishes the power of manufacturers to enhance their value, since the companys name is no longer on the product.

    Private-label brands such as NAPA, Carquest, Duralast, and Brake Best account for about half of friction parts sales in the aftermarket. That hurts traditional aftermarket brands such as Raybestos, Bendix, and Wagner, and forces manufacturers to compete with their own distributors.

    Manufacturers must be prepared to position and defend the value of their brands against low-priced alternatives. They should focus on superior product quality and customer service so that distributors, installers, and vehicle owners will pay more for a recognized brand. Suppliers still cannot afford to overlook the opportunities in private labeling. However, the profit margins are lower in this market segment. Manufacturers are unlikely to survive over the medium to long term if their customers are not willing to carry the companys own brand, which allows it to recover the cost of developing, testing, marketing, and supporting its products.

    To drive growth, the aftermarket should identify and attract customers that have deferred the purchase of a new vehicle or maintenance of their existing car or truck because of the current economic recession, says the analyst. Suppliers must also be able to demonstrate that their products will reduce service comebacks and drive repeat business. The best market entry strategy for manufacturers is to become a second- or third-line offering to warehouse distributors (WDs), carrying leading brands such as Wagner, Raybestos, and Bendix that serve area installers/technicians.

  • Proper Hub Unit Removal and Installation Keeps Wheels, Brakes, Other Parts Working Longer: Timken

    Properly removing and installing hub unit bearings can not only enhance the performance and longevity of hubs, but will also benefit the axles and wheels.   Hub Unit Bearing Removal1. Begin by raising the vehicle up and removing...

    Properly removing and installing hub unit bearings can not only enhance the performance and longevity of hubs, but will also benefit the axles and wheels.
    Hub Unit Bearing Removal
    1. Begin by raising the vehicle up and removing the lug nuts and the wheel.
    2. Remove the brake caliper and rotor. The caliper should be supported and not hanging freely.
    3. Next, the axle nut needs to be removed using an axle nut socket. The vehicle manufacturer’s instructions should be used to determine proper nut replacement.
    4. If possible, disconnect the ABS sensor wire from its mating connector point. This is usually located in the wheel well or on the chassis frame. Also, disconnect the sensor wire from the clips that are used to properly position the sensor wire in the wheel frame. Before removing, be sure to make note of the current orientation and positioning of the sensor wire and bearing.
    5. Remove the bolts that attach the bearing to the steering knuckle. A puller may be needed to remove the hub assembly from the knuckle. Be careful not to damage the knuckle or axle shaft.
    Hub Unit Bearing Installation
    1. First, insert the new hub assembly into the steering knuckle. Check the positioning of the splines on the axle shaft as the hub assembly is inserted into the knuckle. Carefully position the two components so the splines are not damaged during the installation. Never force the hub assembly on the shaft and never hit it with a hammer or other tool.
    2. Next, torque the knuckle-bearing mounting bolts to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification using a torque wrench. Don’t use an impact wrench because it does not reliably use the proper torque.
    3. If possible, connect the new ABS sensor (comes already attached to the new bearing) to its mating connection point and clips in the wheel well and frame area.
    4. Install the axle nut. Tighten the nut to the vehicle manufacturer’s torque specification using a torque wrench. Again, an impact wrench is not recommended.
    5. Replace the brake rotor and brake caliper. All components should be clean of debris and burrs.
    6. Replace the wheel and torque the lug nuts. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations regarding torque specification and re-torque requirements.

  • Phoenix Systems Brakestrip ID Determines DOT Brake Fluid Types

    Phoenix Systems Brakestrip ID Determines DOT Brake Fluid Types

    Phoenix Systems introduces BrakeStrip ID, a visual brake system performance test that quickly identifies the Department of Transportation (DOT) type of brake fluid in your vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers design brake systems to use a specific type of fluid, and BrakeStrip ID is designed to make sure your brake fluid meets the proper specification for your vehicle. BrakeStrip ID, which identifies DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 brake fluids, also finds brake fluid that needs replaced. BrakeStrip ID is a Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) approved brake fluid test and features a three-year accuracy guarantee. It is available at leading automotive retailers and comes in a tube of 100 strips.

  • Putting the Brakes on Copper

    Putting the Brakes on Copper

    New laws look to do away with copper and regulate other compounds in brake formulations

    New laws being passed in California and Washington State will permanently change friction formulations for cars and light-duty vehicles over the next 15-20 years.

    Known as ‘Better Brake Laws,’ California and Washington State are proposing to reduce the use of toxic materials in automotive brake pads and shoes. The materials to be governed are a combination of heavy metals and copper.

    The new laws have broad industry support, with the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association through the Brake Manufacturers Association and the Heavy Duty Brake Manufacturers Association working closely with state legislators to develop the laws.

    A Closer Look at the Laws

    The Washington State Department of Ecology website (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/betterbrakes.html) offers a useful summary of the major provisions of the law for the state:

    Brake pads and shoes manufactured after January 1, 2015, must not contain asbestos, hexavalent chromium, mercury, cadmium or lead. Auto shops and other distributors of brakes will be able to sell any existing inventory for ten years.

    Brake pads manufactured after January 1, 2021, must not contain more than five per cent copper by weight.

    Beginning in 2015, Ecology will review relevant information and consult with a committee of experts to determine if alternative brake friction materials, containing less than 0.5 per cent copper, are available.

    Eight years after Ecology determines that alternative brake friction materials are available, brake pads containing more than 0.5 per cent copper may not be sold in the state.

    Brake manufacturers will use accredited laboratories and certify to Ecology that their brake pads and shoes comply with the law and will mark proof of certification on all pads and packaging offered for sale in Washington.

    Ecology will track data provided by manufacturers to ensure that concentrations of nickel, zinc, and antimony in automobile brake pads do not increase by more than 50 per cent.

    The law in California is largely the same, except for some differences in the timing of when copper has to be eliminated from friction formulations, and Washington State’s law has a provision that manufacturers meet the 0.5 per cent copper or less restriction eight years from the date that experts say an alternative to copper becomes available.

    What is key is the regulation and eventual near elimination of copper from brake friction formulations.

    Ian Wesley, better brake rule coordinator, Washington State Department of Ecology, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction says the laws in Washington State and in California came about in an effort to reduce harmful metals and copper from entering the watershed, and streams and rivers. High levels of copper are known to cause damage to fragile aquatic ecosystems and fish. A study in Ecological Applications finds small amounts of copper in water can cause the deadening of a salmon’s sense of smell. This makes the salmon more susceptible to certain kinds of predators as smell is the salmon’s means of detecting them.

    Cities to the south of San Francisco found that they were having difficulty meeting the Clean Water Act requirements since the 1990s, specifically in reducing the levels of copper coming from urban runoff entering San Francisco Bay.

    Studies undertaken in both states discovered dust produced when braking is one of several sources of copper showing up in the runoff.

    “The Brake Pad Partnership in California spent a decade researching the link between pollution and copper coming from brakes,” Wesley adds. “They concluded that a little bit less than half of the copper entering San Francisco bay is coming from brake pads; and we have estimates here (for Puget Sound) that are just a little bit lower. Either way, brake pads count for a significant source of copper.”

    The Brake Pad Partnership, made up of representatives from the automotive industry, friction manufacturers, environmental groups, storm water agencies and representatives of coastal cities, proposed that the most effective means of tackling the copper problem was a gradual, phased-in reduction of copper used in brake friction materials.

    Ann Wilson, senior vice-president of government affairs for the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association says “one of our primary issues, as we represent manufacturers of brake materials, is that we have sufficient time to work with our entire customer base — aftermarket and OE makers — to make sure there is an adequate supply of brake material out there.”

    What friction manufacturers needed to be assured of was that a system was going to be put into place where the existing brake friction products could be ‘flushed’ from inventories as new friction materials were added that matched the guidelines set out by Washington State and California, while at the same time ensuring the new low-copper friction products meet the performance requirements of vehicle owners, OE vehicle makers and aftermarket suppliers of friction.

    How will copper be phased out?

    Washington State’s Department of Ecology and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, along with brake friction manufacturers, all agreed to develop a common set of reliable test methods for determining the concentrations of copper and the levels of the other materials to be regulated. The testing method agreed to is SAE 2975 and this testing will be used by the friction manufacturers to self-certify compliance with the laws of the two states.

    NSF International (nsf.org) has been charged with helping friction manufacturers show they are compliant with the new state regulations, having the support of brake producers, the Brake Manufacturers Council (BMS) and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. In a statement released to the press by the Brake Manufacturers Council, NSF International will act as the third-party registrar to verify which friction materials do not exceed the allowable limits of regulated material and to publicly list friction materials complying with the laws.

    Bob Frayer, director of Engineering Laboratories and Automotive Aftermarket Certification Programs with NSF International, says friction manufacturers selling into Washington State will first submit their current friction products to NSF International to establish a baseline of the materials used in brake products. The date for that is January 1, 2013.

    “The baseline data is to give the state a snapshot of the materials that are currently out there, and the percentages of the materials,” adds Dave Schenk, engineer with NSF International. “Those baselines will be used to monitor that the materials are being reduced in accord with the timeline.”

    The Brake Manufacturers Council, in an effort to help consumers know that the brakes they are putting on their vehicles are in compliance with the new regulations, created a new set of trademarks called LeafMarks. These will be visible on brake packaging and on the brakes themselves, and NSF International has been granted the right to authorize the use of the LeafMark to manufacturers in compliance with the testing standards.

    The LeafMark has three leaves: a single darkened leaf, Level “A”, regulates cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and asbestos; two darkened leaves, Level “B”, is the same as Level “A”, but copper must be less than five weight per cent; and three darkened leaves, Level “N”, is the same as Level “B”, only copper must be less than 0.5 weight per cent.

    What This Means for the Aftermarket?

    When SSGM contacted several major aftermarket brake makers and suppliers, all said they are enthusiastic about the new regulations and have already started developing new friction formulations to sell under the new regulations for Washington State and California. All say the new friction materials will meet the same performance specifications as today’s friction materials, specifically in the areas of low noise, dust and heat distribution.

    “I believe the consumer will not see any impact on performance with these new formulations,” says Fabio Jurchaks, sales and engineering manager with Fras-le. “By the time the new products come up, the formulations will have the same performance as we have today. Consumers should see no difference.”

    All the friction makers also say while the regulations are for Washington State and California, the brake materials made for those states will be available nation-wide. Brake manufacturers will not be making products for sale in Washington State and California with one kind of formulation and then another for all other states. The same will happen with aftermarket brake products with all new products conforming to the new regulations regardless of where the products are sold.

  • Broken brakes

    Broken brakes

    Badly worn brake system underline the importance of regular vehicle maintenance... and an inspection every once in a while!

    Tyler Rump of Roy Rump & Sons Tire and Auto Center in Ottawa, Ont., sent in this picture of a badly worn brake system.

    “This first-time customer came in for a brake noise,” he wrote. “The tech couldn’t believe what he saw when he took the wheel off!”

    The car had gone so long without a brake check that the pad was completely eaten through, and the caliper was starting to disintegrate in chunks. Take a look!

  • Put the Brakes on VW Vibration

    Put the Brakes on VW Vibration

    Diagnosing a repair can be challenging. In the case of a manufacturing defect, a solution can be especially elusive. For any diagnosis — difficult or relatively simple — manufacturers’ repair information is the solution for...

    Diagnosing a repair can be challenging. In the case of a manufacturing defect, a solution can be especially elusive. For any diagnosis — difficult or relatively simple — manufacturers’ repair information is the solution for timely and profitable repairs.

    Technical service bulletins (TSBs) often can expedite repairs because they describe known problems and the procedures for fixing them. It is always a good idea to search for a TSB first. You’ll often save time. Here, for example, is a TSB from Volkswagen that describes a known issue with the brakes on most models.

    Volkswagen drivers may complain of a pulsating brake pedal when applying the brakes at highway speeds. The pulsation may also be felt as a vibration in the vehicle body. Additionally, the steering wheel may shake. The cause may be improperly machined brakes, and the condition may not be felt until several months after the brakes were machined. To correct the problem, follow the steps in this Tech Tip.

    Applicable Models

    1999 – 2010 Volkswagens — ALL models except Routan.

    Repair Procedure

    Review safety procedures in ­ALLDATA Repair S3000 before beginning.

    Remove wheels and separate brake calipers from carrier using factory and/or industry standard approved practices.

    Brake Disc Inspection

    A detailed brake disc inspection is needed to determine if the brake disc should be machined or replaced.

    • Inspect brake disc friction surfaces on both sides of the brake disc for:

    • Severe discoloration (bluing)

    • High heat surface damage (raised hard spots)

    • Visible cracks

    Brake discs showing any of the above described conditions must be replaced.

    Disc Thickness Measuring

    Each brake disc has the minimum allowed thickness cast, stamped or laser-etched into the disc hub (Fig. 1).

    • Measure the brake disc thickness in four locations using factory and/or industry standard approved practices. Measurements must be taken the same distance from the brake disc outer circumference to ensure consistency (Fig. 2).

    NOTE: The brake disc must exceed the minimum thickness after the machining process is completed in order to be reused.

    Brake Disc Machining

    Tip: Brake discs must be machined in pairs (front axle and/or rear axle).

    NOTE: To ensure that a high quality brake disc finish is produced, brake lathe cutting tools must be maintained as directed by the lathe manufacturer.

    • Follow the brake lathe manu­facturer’s instructions for set-up and machining.

    • Wash the brake disc with a soap and water solution upon completion of resurfacing to remove all machining particles (Fig. 3).

    • Re-measure brake disc thickness in four locations to verify that minimum thickness is still exceeded. If recorded brake disc measurement is less than the minimum thickness, the brake disc MUST be replaced (Fig. 4).

    NOTE: Always replace brake discs in pairs (front axle and/or back axle).

    Measure brake disc lateral run out. Run out must not exceed 0.1 mm (Fig. 5).

    Drive the vehicle to verify the repair.

     NOTE: This Repair/Service Procedure is excerpted from a Technical Service Bulletin published by the vehicle manufacturer, and is intended for use by trained, professional technicians with the knowledge, tools and equipment to do the job properly and safely. It is recommended that this procedure not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.”

     Ed Dorowski has 19 years of Domestic and Import dealership and independent shop experience as a service consultant, ASE Certified Master Technician, Nissan® Certified Master Technician, & California Smog Test & Repair Technician.

    ©2010 – 2013 ALLDATA LLC. All rights reserved. All technical information, images and specifications are from ALLDATA Repair. ALLDATA and ALL­DATA Repair are registered trademarks of ALLDATA LLC. All other brand names and marks are the property of their respective holders.

    Volkswagen, VW and Routan are registered trademark names and model designations of Volkswagen of America, Inc. Nissan is a registered trademark of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. All trademark names and model designations are being used solely for reference and application purposes.

  • Wisdom from a $1G per day Guy

    Wisdom from a $1G per day Guy

    He's a highly talented and productive auto service technician, with extraordinary customer relations skills and the ability to balance sometimes conflicting forces of sales targets and the customer's ...

    He’s a highly talented and productive auto service technician, with extraordinary customer relations skills and the ability to balance sometimes conflicting forces of sales targets and the customer’s vehicle service requirements.

    Like thousands of other auto service professionals across Canada, he is confronted daily by a suspicious public and must continually prove his credibility by taking care of genuine customer service requirements without over-selling.

    Generous and honest and willing to share his knowledge, this 30-something technician also teaches technician apprentices about brake service part-time at night school.

    He works full time for a corporate chain of auto service shops, at one of the chain’s three specially designated emission test and repair facilities in the Greater Toronto Area.

    Until recently, he was known as a $1,000 a day man when he worked in the service bays for a competing chain. That is, he generated that much worth of daily parts and labour sales, being a star on the pipes, mufflers, brakes and suspension parts.

    He did alright for himself, too, earning the same amount on a weekly basis.

    These days, and for some years now, brakes have become less a service item and more a disposal and replacement item, as the trend by auto makers makes brakes a commodity-driven business. Rotors have become virtually disposable. Calipers aren’t so far behind, either.

    On some car models, life expectancy of a set of rotors is 50,000 km to 70,000 km, if they are babied.

    Talk about programmed obsolescence. Brakes are increasingly being engineered to require more attention, with less service over less time.

    Take hub assemblies on some SUVs. The rotors to which they are bonded can hardly be machined, even once.

    In fact, lathes are increasingly collecting dust, he says, because it’s not worth machining these rotors and risk having the customer return within a few thousand kilometres, complaining about pedal pulsation due to warped rotors.

    Better to just replace the rotors, which are relatively cheap, when a new set of pads is installed.

    Pads are another story entirely. Product diversification has led to pads marketed to specific applications, such as SUVs, heavy duty and light duty and commercial applications.

    High quality pads and shoes that offer better stopping power, less noise and more favourable durability have emerged.

    But then, some things never change, according to this veteran of the brake wars. No matter what the component or product and its quality or lack thereof, when it comes to brake service, a large part of customer satisfaction is derived from the quality of the work performed by the technician.

    Brake noise, pulsation, pedal feel and height are variables that are controlled greatly by service performed by technicians.

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