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Servicing Mercedes-Benz AIRMATIC Suspensions

The Mercedes-Benz AIRMATIC suspension system was introduced in 1999 on the S-Class and has subsequently been used on the E-Class and most of the automaker’s SUVs. The system employs electronically controlled air springs that provide an ideal balance...

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Mazda: Performing Regular Undercar Maintenance

In this article, we’ll take a look at brake and undercar service on the Mazda vehicle lineup, with the footnote that even though this type of work ­becomes routine when you have a preventive maintenance mindset, good work habits from beginning to end...

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ZF 8-Speed Transmission Replacement

The ZF 8HP transmission made its debut in 2009, and since its introduction, has been one of the top choices for international car manufacturers. BMW, one of ZF’s largest customers, uses the 8HP across its entire product portfolio. BMWs featuring...

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Ford Edge Brake Replacement

Ford Edge Brake Replacement Basics The Ford Edge is an SUV based on the CD3 platform. The brakes on these vehicles are straightforward and do not break any new ground. There were no major changes to the brake systems from 2007 to the current model. For...

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Live-Axle Wheel Bearing Replacement

Replacing wheel bearings on a vehicle with a live rear axle may not be one of the most frequent jobs, but it can be one of the most profitable. While the basics have not changed in more than 60 years, new seal materials and differential designs have...

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Honda Civic Alignment Spec: 2006-'11

Built on a high-rigidity unit-body platform, the 2006-2011 Civic has a MacPherson strut front ­suspension and a multi-link rear suspension. The eighth generation switched from a high mounted to a low mounted steering rack and significantly increased...

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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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Celebrate 'Back To The Future' Day By Watching The Time Machine Get A 2015 Detail

    For many today is just another Wednesday, but for a lot of people it is more than just your average Wednesday, it is "Back to the Future" Day. It is a day that everyone who watched the cult classic trilogy Back to the Future recognizes...

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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]
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