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Fuel Trims And AFR Sensors

Fuel trims are a difficult topic to cover in a matter of a few pages. But this summer, an old friend and former teaching partner arrived at our local car show with the check engine light illuminated on his 2004 Holden Monaro, which was imported from...

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Preventive Maintenance Profits: Preferred Automotive, Jenkintown, PA

With the summer months heating up and cross-country road trips beginning, many people want to make sure their vehicles are prepped for the long haul. For the first-ever July edition of Maintenance Chronicles, we will focus on Preferred Automotive Specialists,...

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Toyota Charging System Diagnostics

According to my experience, I estimate that replacing the alternator solves 95% of all charging system failures. If that’s true, what happens in the remaining 5% of charging system failures that results in customer comebacks? To explore charging system...

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Nissan Maxima Brake Job Tips

Called the four-door sports car by Nissan, the 2004-2008 Maxima brake system is easy to service with very few complaints of brake noise or pulsation. The system used the same brake pads, rotors and calipers on all models. There were some changes in...

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VIDEO: Aluminum Suspension Inspection

VIDEO: Andrew Markel answers a reader question about threadlocking compound, what to do with it when you see it during a repair, and how it relates to aluminum suspension components. From 2012 to 2015, aluminum consumption for new vehicles increased...

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Making Sense Of Steering Angle Sensor Input And Data

Measuring the­ ­position angle, rate of turn and force of the steering wheel is critical for Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems. Scan tools call these Steering Angle Sensors (SAS) and typically display the information in degrees. The SAS...

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The Humble Mechanic Answers Your Questions

Charles is taking your automotive questions. If you have a question about a car, car repair, DIYs on your car, Volkswagen, mechanic’s tools, or anything car related, ask it up. If you have a car question for a show like this, email him [email protected]...

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The Ins And Outs Of Sanders

Sanders are required tools in today’s collision repair shop. Body techs and painters rely upon them every day to achieve that perfect finish on your customers’ vehicles. Whether you’re prepping a panel for paint or removing imperfections before...

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Are You Regularly Maintaining Your Equipment?

Technicians who are idling because the welder won’t feed wire, the hydraulic ram won’t pull chains, the booth heater won’t heat or the air compressor won’t compress enough air is a costly mistake, as labor time is the most expensive thing in any...

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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 Underhood Service magazine. He has been with Babcox Media for 15 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]
Andrew Markel

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