Vehicle Tips & FAQs

Do I Need to Pay for a Premium Brake Job? (part II)

This is the second post about why paying for a brake job can save you money and a lot of time and frustration. Click here to be routed to the previous post.

Now we're discussing installation of the new brakes. Not all brakes are created equal and you'll want to be experienced with your specific style of braking system before you attempt replacement of the pads & rotors. Especially for European setups.

In the following picture, we're showing a special tool required to compress the caliper piston on a Mini disc brake caliper. Unlike most, this piston spins as it compresses so it requires a tool that maintains pressure while you spin the piston. There's another $50 for the manual tool and $150 for the pneumatic one.

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The next two steps hardly ever happen at home but are commonplace in a professional garage: rust removal and lubrication.

Rust builds up everywhere on cars here in the Northeast. We identify the metal mating surfaces such as the hub and the sliders of the calipers and do whatever is required to make a nice clean surface. Here is a set of before-during pictures of the hub before we installed the new disc brake rotors.

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Without a clean, smooth mating surface, rotors are more likely to spin out of balance and warp causing noise and vibration in the braking system.

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Finally, only the PROPER areas of the braking system must be lubricated with caliper grease. If you put too much on, grease can make its way to the friction surfaces which is a recipe for disaster. If you put too little on, the calipers will make an awful noise and eventually seize.

The point is not that there is no possible way to do a brake job yourself. If you have the proper equipment and expertise, you can save a lot of money changing your brakes in your driveway. But considering the cost of equipment and the likelihood that you will have different cars regularly throughout your life as well as less time and more money in the future, does it make sense for you to invest in the ability to change your own brakes? That's the question you need to answer for yourself.

Thanks for reading!