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The Problem With Living In The 'Now'

I once had a shop manager who concentrated on the “now.” Every day was a mad dash to complete the jobs at hand. He wanted to know who was working on what, where the parts were and when everything would be done. He was constantly reacting to a customer’s...

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ASE G1: Drive Belt Inspection, Replacement

The ASE G1 Certification test contains 55 scored questions, plus 10 unscored ­research questions, that cover a range of skills and knowledge related to maintenance and light repairs in engine systems, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drivetrain...

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Amateurs and Hacks Provide Job Security For Automotive Service Professionals

Two cars pull up in front of my shop. The drivers didn’t come in, but I heard the commotion from my office window. The boyfriend opens the hood of his girlfriend’s car. They both stare at the engine; she tells the boyfriend that she was supposed...

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Audi Engine Timing Chain Failure Due to Lack of Maintenance

If you’ve been working on cars as long as me, you’ll remember the first timing belt you did and thought, “what was wrong with timing chains?” It was only a year ago, when I was working on a 2005 Audi A6 Quattro with a 3.2L engine with a broken...

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Acura: Clunk Noise While Turning

Model: Acura RSX 2005-’06 Symptom: The front suspension makes a ­clunking noise while turning. Probable Cause: The front springs are moving on the spring seats. Corrective Action: Replace both front springs and do a four­-wheel alignment. Diagnosis:...

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Inside Import Car Collision Warning, Automatic Braking Systems

Anything that moves under its own power also has to stop, so brakes have been a safety feature on cars since day one. Over the years, technical innovations such as antilock brakes (ABS) have ­improved the ability to stop with minimal skidding on...

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Rotor Failure: Why Rotors Crack and Make Noise

The prices of rotors seem to be dropping the past few years. Call just about any parts supplier and they can quote you a vast range of prices for the same application. And when you compare the rotors side-by-side, they may look the same, but the difference...

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Wheel Bearings: Measurement and Torque

Wheel bearings are either of the ball or tapered roller variety. Front wheel bearing applications are an angular-type ball bearing, which will accept greater thrust loads than a Conrad-type bearing, and will accept a 100 percent load in the radial...

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Why Alignment Angles Change

An alignment angle doesn’t change randomly. There is a cause-and-effect relationship between external and ­internal forces that can alter the geometry of a vehicle’s suspension. Having the alignment reading for only one angle on one corner is just...

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Bendpak Breaks Ground On New Warehouse and Shipping Complex

    BendPak, Inc. announced the recent groundbreaking to celebrate beginning construction of a 67,000 square-foot multipurpose warehouse and shipping center located on 3.7 acres of land in Santa Paula, CA. The new 67,000 square-foot...

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Pulling Codes: 7 Common Causes of Misfire Codes

A flashing check engine light and a P0301 to P0312 diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is a surefire indication that one or more cylinders are misfiring. Occasional misfires may pass unnoticed, but a steady misfire is hard to miss. The engine usually feels...

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Analyzing the Cylinder Pressure Waveform from a Running Engine, Part 3

By Vasyl Postolovskyi and Olle Gladso Contributing Writers and Instructors at Riverland Technical and Community College in Albert Lea, MN   In Part 1 of this Maximizing Tools series, we discussed an alternative approach to diagnosing an engine...

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Home Cooling How Long Should a Brake Job Last?

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Every technician knows it’s impossible to estimate how long a set of brake pads will last. But, due to changing ownership cycles, your customers are developing new expectations.
 
According to R.L. Polk, the typical consumer held onto a vehicle for 57 months in 2012. This is up from 38 months in 2002. So, if a customer drives 15,000 miles a year, the customer will accumulate 23,000 more miles before they trade it in. These extra miles could mean an extra front brake job. These repair incidents create points of reference that form certain customer expectations that were not there just a decade ago.
 
But, in some cases, reality may not meet customer expectations. Why? Each time the brakes are serviced, the pads could be compromised by the previous brake jobs that did not restore the brakes to like-new condition.
 
The brake hardware might not have been ­replaced during the first brake job. Halfway through the customer-expected life of the pads, the abutment clips may have corroded and lost their spring. The guide pins could have been neglected on the next brake job. Now, the pads wear really unevenly and the customer will notice that mileage between pad changes has significantly dropped. Performing a complete brake job will break the cycle.
 
A normal customer-expected wear interval cannot be achieved if a low-quality brake pad set is used. One area that is consistently compromised is the quality of the backing plate and how it r­etains the friction material during the life of the brake job.
 
Keeping a friction material attached to a piece of metal under more than 1,400 psi and shearing forces is not something to take for granted when selecting a replacement brake pad. If the attachment method and implementation is substandard, it can result in noise and, eventually, failure of the pad before it’s worn.
 
This is called edge lift or delamination. It’s caused by failure of the attachment method and can be hastened by corrosion. The first symptom of the failure is noise. The noise is a result of the separation, causing ­irregularities in the braking surface and the pad now having completely ­different NVH properties.
 
Some manufacturers are using mechanical ­attachment methods that can prevent delamination in a brake pad. The technology allows brake pads to be run down to the last few millimeters of friction material. The bond can be resistant to shear loads, corrosion and heat. This makes for a pad that can meet or exceed a customer’s expectations.

In a recent survey of technicians and shops ­conducted by Brake & Front End magazine, noise was the primary reason why a customer brought their ­vehicle in to have the brakes inspected. They did not bring it in for a low-priced brake job. Customers are concerned about safety, not a low price. They can see the value in getting more miles out of a complete brake job, over a cheap brake job that has them returning to you sooner than expected.  
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Andrew Markel

Andrew Markel

Andrew Markel is the editor of Brake & Front End and Servicio Automotriz magazines. He has been with Babcox Media for more than 12 years. He is a technician and former service writer and holds several automotive certifications from ASE and ­aftermarket manufacturers. He can be reached at [email protected]
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