Official Blog

  • Small size keeps Brembo fast, focused

    Small size keeps Brembo fast, focused

  • Chevy Silverado is among 2.7 million GM vehicles being probed over brakes

    Chevy Silverado is among 2.7 million GM vehicles being probed over brakes

  • Time for automakers to tap the brakes on self-driving car technology

    Time for automakers to tap the brakes on self-driving car technology

  • Scion packs automatic braking into iA

    Scion packs automatic braking into iA

  • What Is That Clicking Sound?

    Dear Tom,
    My 2003 Chevy Cavalier makes a clicking sound in the front when I make a right turn. It doesn't do it when I turn left. Should I be concerned? What could cause this noise? Larry from Detroit

    My first thought, Larry... your car probably has a bad front CV joint. Get the vehicle into a shop and have them check the CV joint on the side of the car where the clicking occurs. Tom

    After I responded to Larry, I thought a little deeper about his problem and sent him a follow up e-mail. There are many possible conditions that would cause a clicking sound.

    Besides a bad CV joint, what else could cause clicking in the front end when turning?

    • Loose Brake Pads
    • Loose Brake Calipers
    • Bent Brake Backing Plates
    • A Loose or Cracked Wheel
    • A Rock Stuck in Between the Wheel and Brake Caliper
    • Loose Hub Caps

    (use our Repair Estimator to find out how much any repair should cost you)

    Loose Brake Pads
    The design of the brake pads assures that they are secured to the brake caliper seat. If they come loose then the pad is allowed to jump up and down when the brake is applied. This action produces a clicking sound when driving slowly or when braking while driving at a slow speed.

    Loose Brake Calipers
    Brake calipers are secured to their seat with bolts and guide pins that fit firmly through bushings. This design keeps the caliper suspended properly so that the brake pads make contact with the rotor, and the vehicle stops when they are applied. A loose caliper will flop around and make a clicking sound that emanates from that wheel.

    Bent Brake Backing Plates
    Each brake has a backing plate attached to the back of it. This plate protects the brake from road dirt and prevents damage from projectiles. If the plate is bent inward, it will rub against the rotor or caliper and cause a clicking sound.

    A Loose or Cracked Wheel
    A wheel with loose lug nuts will click and rub or grind. A wheel with a crack will click. This is more common with steel wheels.

    A Rock Stuck in Between the Wheel and Brake Caliper
    If a rock gets stuck in the tight area between the wheel and brake caliper, it can click or grind.

    Loose Hub Caps
    A loose hubcap will click at slow speeds when the wheel flexes as it turns.

  • Dodge recalls 121,603 examples of Dart for loss of brake assist

    Dodge  will recall 121,603 worldwide examples of the 2013-2014 Dart with the 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines because of possible loss of power brake assistance. The company reports two minor injuries and seven accidents potentially related to this problem. The affected models have build dates before Jan. 24, 2014. There are 105,458 of these vehicles in the US; 11,996 in Canada; 3,705 in Mexico; and 444 outside of NAFTA. This campaign doesn't affect Darts with the 1.4-liter engine.

    These vehicles' brake-booster vacuum tube routing can potentially allow oil to access and eventually to degrade the brake booster diaphragm. If this happens, then the vehicles could lose braking assist. The brakes themselves would continue to work, but the driver would experience longer stopping distances. A pop or similar sound of a vacuum leak sometimes precedes the problem, according to the automaker.

    Dealers will inspect the components and replace the vacuum tube. If technicians find oil in the tube, they'll also swap out the vacuum pump, brake booster, and master cylinder. Affected owners will receive notice from the company within the next 60 days.

    Statement: Vacuum-tube Assembly

    December 3, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC is voluntarily recalling an estimated 105,458 compact sedans in the U.S. to inspect and replace vacuum-tube assemblies and certain other components, as required.

    Some of the affected vehicles may be subject to oil migration that could affect their brake systems' power-assist feature. Foundation brake function is unaffected. However, if this condition occurs, the driver may notice hard pedal-feel on brake application, and longer distances may be required to stop the vehicle in emergency situations.

    An FCA US investigation identified certain model-year 2013-14 vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter engines, may have brake-booster vacuum-tube routing that inadvertently allows oil to reach the brake booster diaphragm, if ever the vacuum-pump check valve fails. Oil may degrade the diaphragm and lead to a loss of brake-assist – a feature that helps reduce stopping distances.

    FCA US is aware of two minor injuries and seven accidents that are or may be related to this condition.

    The recall is limited to model-year 2013-14 Dodge Dart sedans produced before Jan. 24, 2014. It also affects an estimated 11,996 cars in Canada; 3,705 in Mexico and 444 outside the NAFTA region.

    Vehicles equipped with 1.4-liter engines are excluded.

    Affected customers will be advised when they may schedule service, which will be performed at no cost.

    The condition may be preceded by a pop or a sound consistent with a vacuum leak. Customers who experience such events and/or hard pedal-feel are advised to contact their dealers.

    Service comprises an inspection and vacuum-tube replacement. If oil is found in the vacuum tube, dealers will also replace the vacuum pump, bake booster and master cylinder.

    Customers with additional questions may call the FCA US Customer Information Center at 1-800-853-1403.

  • Brake checking crash that went viral under investigation

    Video footage of a crash caused by a driver who suddenly hit the brakes in front of a car that was following too close caught the attention of police in Fox Valley, WI this week. The dashboard camera footage, shot on I-41 near Green Bay, was uploaded to YouTubeon March 10, Fox5 reports. Since appearing online, the crash has been viewed over three million times. It serves as an excellent illustration of what happens when you play power games on the freeway.

    The term brake checking refers to the act of momentarily tapping hard the brakes as a way of encouraging tailgating vehicles to back off. While following too close to a car is dangerous in its own right, so is brake checking other drivers. In the video, a driver in the left lane suddenly hits the brakes to try and shake off a driver that was following too close. When the vehicle suddenly braked, the tailgating SUV driver overcorrected to avoid a crash, sending their vehicle swerving across two lanes of traffic before settling in a ditch in the grassy median.

    No one comes off as a good guy in this situation, but the left-lane squatting, brake-checking driver proved to be the most dangerous driver in this instance. However, the driver who crashed is the only one who has so far been cited. Police are now searching for the driver who caused the crash and drove away. Fox Valley police told WFLA that they are continuing to investigate the incident.

    Related Video

  • Brake replacement & upgrade options

    What comes to mind when you hear the term "automotive performance?" Most people, auto enthusiast or not, will think of big crate engines, superchargers and turbos, flame throwing exhaust, and maybe even suspension components. But what about brakes? All of that extra "go" will be useless if you can't stop. Most of us will know it's time to replace our brakes when one of two things happen:

    • Your service mechanic tells you after completing an oil change, tire rotation, or similar job
    • As you approach a red light you hear that notorious squeal that announces to you and everyone in a 2 block radius that the time has come

    But the term "brake job" can mean many things depending on your vehicle, driving style, and how often you maintain your brakes. And just like the vast selection of air intakes, tuners, and other performance parts, there is a large variety of replacement and performance brake components.

    Replacement vs. Performance
    The first thing to determine is what you need. Are you looking to repair a commuter car or replace brakes on a non-modified vehicle? If so replacement brake parts will be a lower cost compared to performance parts and just as effective for normal driving. If your vehicle has some engine modifications, you like to drive on winding mountain roads, or you do a lot of towing, then you should possibly consider upgrading your brakes. In either case, the two main components will be the same: pads and rotors.

    Complete brake kit – Original Equipment

    Complete brake kit - Performance

    Brake Pads
    Brake pads are arguably the most important part of your vehicle braking system. As you apply your brake pedal they compress and create friction, causing your vehicle to stop. Whether your vehicle's brakes are disc or drum style, you should purchase new pads each time you service your brakes.

    Brake pads are categorized into 4 main groups:

    • Non-metallic - Generally the lowest cost option, these pads are quiet and have a "soft" feel when braking, but can wear quickly and create a lot of brake dust
    • Semi-metallic - Mid-range option as far as cost and durability. These pads will have a slightly harder feel and will be louder braking than the non-metallic, but will last longer and create less dust
    • Ceramic - These will be your upgrade or performance option for most passenger vehicles. Ceramic pads will provide more stopping power than the semi- and non-metallic while being extremely quiet with a "soft" feel. These pads do however have a higher cost and are more prone to overheating.
    • Fully metallic - Fully metallic brake pads are generally only used for race vehicles. They will have a "hard" feel, are loud, and will not be as effective in normal driving conditions as the others. These pads are made to withstand prolonged hard braking at high speeds. Vehicles used for daily driving or commuting should not use this style pad.

    Also known as "Discs" are the flat circular surface that you can sometimes see through your wheel. Disc style brakes are factory equipment in most cars today. If your vehicle is equipped with disc brakes, you have a few options for replacements. * Note: There are some vehicles that do not have rotors, and therefore you would not need to replace. These drum style brake systems are sometimes found in older vehicles and the rear axle of small economy cars*

    • OEM/ Factory style - These rotors will generally be your lowest cost option and what most economy vehicles are equipped with from the factory. They are commonly made of iron with aluminum centers. OEM style rotors will have a flat surface and can either come solid or vented (they look like 2 solid rotors with a space in the center). Vented rotors are generally used in the front of vehicles as they help to dissipate heat.
    • Slotted - Slotted, or "grooved" rotors have shallow channels on the surface of the rotor. These channels help to dissipate heat, water, brake dust, and friction gases off of the braking surface while still maintaining their structural integrity and a quiet ride. This makes them a good upgrade options for 4X4s and towing vehicles. Slotted rotors do, however, cause more pad wear and will require pad replacements more often.
    • Drilled - Drilled rotors are built for performance driving. These rotors have holes drilled through both sides of the rotor, maximizing heat and debris dissipation. Because of the intricacy of these parts, they are generally higher cost than the slotted and factory style options. Drilled rotors are not as strong as slotted or solid rotors and therefore are not good for heavy vehicles or driving styles that require abrupt stopping such as drifting or stunt driving.
    • Ceramic - Similar to the ceramic pads, ceramic rotors are considered your high-end upgrade or performance option. These rotors are corrosion resistant and increased friction efficiency. Ceramic rotors will be more expensive than most iron based options.

    Clockwise from top left: OEM/Factory style rotors; Slotted rotors; Drilled rotors; Ceramic rotors.

    Selecting the correct pads and rotors based off of your driving style and vehicle will increase brake life as well as your safety. It is important to understand how each of these components work separately as well as in tandem with one another. If you have questions it's advised that you seek the advice of a professional prior to purchasing replacements.

  • Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Master Cylinder

    The brake master cylinder is one of the most important components found on modern car braking systems. It serves as the main valve that pushes brake fluid through the brake lines so that the brake calipers can squeeze the pads against the rotors. It functions by pushing a metal rod through a cylinder to force fluid through the braking system to the wheels. One end of this rod is attached to the pedal and is actuated when the pedal is depressed. Usually a faulty brake master cylinder will produce a few symptoms that alert the driver that service may be required.

    1. Abnormal brake pedal behavior

    One of the first symptoms commonly associated with a bad or failing brake master cylinder is abnormal brake pedal behavior. The master cylinder is the component that generates all of the pressure for the braking system, and if it develops any sort of problems sealing or distributing pressure, this may be felt in the pedal. Over time, with constant use, the seals inside of the cylinder can wear out and form internal leaks. A bad brake master cylinder may result in a pedal that feels mushy, spongy, or that slowly sinks to the floorwhen depressed.

    2. Contaminated brake fluid

    Another symptom of a bad brake master cylinder is contaminated brake fluid. Brake master cylinders use rubber seals which can break down and wear out over time. When they do, they can contaminate the brake fluid and will turn it dark brown or black color. Aside from contaminating the fluid, a brake master cylinder with worn seals will also not be able to hold brake pressure as effectively and may also result in a mushy pedal or one that slowly sinks to the floor.

    3. Check Engine Light comes on

    Another symptom commonly seen for newer vehicles is an illuminated Check Engine Light. The braking systems on newer vehicles may have brake fluid level and pressure sensors installed in the master cylinder. These sensors are meant to detect any problem with the vehicle’s brake fluid pressure, which is generated by the master cylinder. If they detect that the pressure has dropped, it is possibly due to a problem with the master cylinder.

    As the brake master cylinder is essentially the heart of the braking system and vital to reliable brake operation, it is an important component to the handling and safety characteristics of the vehicle. A vehicle with a bad brake master cylinder will have inoperable or compromised brakes, and therefore will be unsafe to drive. For this reason, if you suspect that your brake master cylinder is having a problem, have the brake system diagnosed by a professional technician from YourMechanic to determine if it the car needs a brake master cylinder replacement.

  • Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Rotor/Disc

    The disc brake rotors are metal discs that work together with the brake pads and calipers to slow the vehicle. When the pedal is depressed, the calipers squeeze the brake pads against the spinning rotors to slow and stop the wheels and the vehicle. Since rotors work to slow the vehicle by using friction from direct contact with the brake pads, they do wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. Usually when rotors have a problem, they will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver that they may require attention.

    1. Noisy brakes

    One of the first symptoms commonly associated with bad brake rotors is noise. If the rotors are warped or severely worn, they may produce squealing or squeaking sounds. Usually warped rotors will produce a squeak, while severely worn rotors will produce a scraping sound.

    2. Vibrations from the brakes

    Another symptom of bad brake rotors is excessive vibration coming from the brakes. Warped or excessively worn rotors may vibrate irregularly and cause vibrations that can be felt in the pedal, and sometimes through the vehicle’s chassis. Warped rotors may also produce a pulsating feel that will be felt in the pedal when the brakes are applied.

    3. Grooves or score marks on the rotor

    Another symptom of bad or failing rotors is visual scoring or grooves on the face of the rotor. Over time, grooves or scoring marks can develop on the rotor from repeated contact with the brake pads. Scoring and grooves in a rotor can take away from its capacity to slow the vehicle, as well as cause vibration and pulsation that can be felt in the pedal. Usually scored or grooved rotors will require replacement.

    The disc brake rotors are a very important part of the braking system, and as a result are critical to the overall safety and handling characteristics of the vehicle. If you suspect that your rotors may be worn or damaged, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your car needs a brake rotor/disc replacement.

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Cross Drilled Rotors