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Automotive Pet Peeves 2: Reader Feedback Is Overwhelming

How many auto repair pet peeves are out there? Well, enough of them that one article wouldn’t hold them all. I’ve received so many emails, texts and phone calls about my article in the February issue that I thought: why not put everyone’s pet peeve...

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Air Filter Show & Tell: Seeing Is Believing

Air filters are normal wear items that ­require regular checks and ­replacement. Their role is to trap dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, walls, pistons and piston rings. In fuel-injected vehicles, the air filter also plays...

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Searching For 'Black Holes': Job Totals Reveal Missed Selling Opportunities

The concept for Maintenance Chronicle is simple: We ask one shop to record their maintenance sales for a two-week period, and then we see what we learn from the results. This edition of Maintenance Chronicle also proved to be valuable for the shop we...

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MAZDA: Timing Belt & Chain Replacement

This month, we’re going to be looking at the ­timing components on the Mazda line of vehicles. We’ll be focusing on timing belts since they are considered a service item and will present the greater amount of opportunity for replacement. Then, we’ll...

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Honda Element Brake Job

It may look like a car that was never removed from the box it came in, but the Honda Element isn’t boxy when it comes to the brakes. Based on the CR-V platform, there is also nothing tricky when it comes to service. But, its brake system is hardware...

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The Changing Maintenance Market: New Technologies Mean More Opportunities

Most of us wake up each morning, not ­realizing that our professional world has changed even as we slept. Our first job of the day is to service a ­vehicle equipped with an oil life monitor. Not only do we discover that modern oil life monitors can...

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Electronic Proportioning Valve: Doing More With Less Hardware

Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and the HCU are replacing proportioning, combination and other valves to change the braking forces in the front and rear. This is called Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and it can dynamically change the proportioning...

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NHTSA’s GM Brake Line Corrosion Investigation: Reading Between the Brake Lines

There will be no recalls on some GM vehicles for brake line corrosion. Instead, we received an advisory from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about brake line inspection and car washes. What was not discussed was the corrosion...

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2007-2011 Ford Expedition and Navigator Air Suspension

The Ford Expedition air suspension does more than just lift and raise the vehicle. The system levels the vehicle under loads and when a trailer is attached. The system uses only two air bags on the rear axle unlike previous models with air bags on all...

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Converter Codes: How Long Will the Light Stay Out?

OBDII systems with faulty catalytic converters will normally store a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) when the converter begins to fail. The OBDII converters use an upstream and downstream oxygen sensor to measure the differences in oxygen content between...

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Maintaining Your Spray Guns

If there’s one piece of equipment that epitomizes the painter and the paint shop, it’s the spray gun. Over the years we’ve seen many spray guns. Although there are operating principles and functions that remain the same, some have been improved...

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Wheel Bearing Adjustment Tools & Equipment

A recent survey showed that more than half of the bearings on the road today are adjusted incorrectly. A wheel bearing that’s out of adjustment can reduce bearing life and can affect more than just the bearing. An out-of-adjustment bearing affects...

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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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