Brake Repair: Do It Yourself
Brake pads are a vital part of a vehicle's braking system. They are positioned in between the brake rotors and the calipers, and provide the friction needed in order to stop the car. Made of organic material, the constant exposure to heat and friction makes them naturally prone to wear and tear. Therefore, they will need to be replaced at least once during the vehicle's lifetime. However, it is possible to save money on this type of brake repair by making it a do-it-yourself project.
Brake pads are equipped with a metal indicator tab that makes a squealing noise when the pads are worn out. The sound comes from the metal-to-metal contact of the indicator tab grinding against the rotors. Ignoring these sounds will allow the metals to keep grinding, and when the pads have completely thinned out, the rotors will fall victim to the grinding of the caliper's metals. Therefore, before all the other parts of the car's braking system deteriorate beyond simple repair, it is best to invest in new ones as soon as possible.
Getting brake repairs at an auto shop can be expensive because most of the cost is associated with paying for the labor, and although replacing the brake pads is one of the most common brake repair issues, a vehicle owner can still expect to pay at least $60 per hour at a repair shop. However, it is possible to save money on replacing the pads if the vehicle owners can perform this task themselves. It will require some mechanical aptitude and a set of basic tools, but it is a moderately easy task.
The first step is determining which type of brake pads the car needs and having the right tools handy. Refer to the car's manual, or consult an auto mechanic to choose the right ones for the make and model of the car. As for the tools, along with a basic set of tools with a variety of wrenches and clamps, this job will also require a vehicle jack and a jack stand to raise and secure the vehicle, and a lug wrench to remove the wheels.
To be begin, use the lug wrench to loosen the bolts on the wheels, although the wheels should not be removed until the car has been raised. Once the car is raised, the wheels can be removed to expose the brake calipers, rotors, and pads. Use the appropriate wrenches to remove the calipers and inspect the rotors. If the rotors have deep scratches and markings, do not attempt to apply the brake pads; the rotors should be removed and referred to an auto mechanic before attempting to replace them. However, if the rotor is even and smooth, the brake repair can continue by removing the worn pads, and replacing them with new ones. Once the pads have been replaced, simply work backward to replace the rotors, calipers, and wheels.
Brake repair can be expensive, but with a little research and mechanical effort, it is possible to make common repairs without the expertise and cost of hiring an auto mechanic.