Time to get a break on braking systems
When it comes to replacement parts for our vehicles, few categories offer as many choices as braking systems. Whether it’s regular or ceramic pads (linings) or plain or coated rotors (discs) or upscale performance designs, there’s a world of selection to bring your ride to a halt. But few of us are ever given a choice by our service providers when this critical safety system is in need of maintenance and if we were offered some options, which ones are the best?
Avoid “white box” like the plague. “white box” is an industry term that refers to inexpensive replacement parts that are usually, but not always, sourced from offshore suppliers. They come in a variety of brand names, so it can be difficult to determine if you’re dealing with “white box” parts. Basically, if they are priced at 50 per cent or less than recognized national brands, you’re probably looking at ‘white box’ parts.
If you’re not sure, simply ask your parts or service provider.
When it comes to brake linings and rotors/drums, unless you’re a fan of extremely noisy brakes with vibrations and lots of brake-dust wheel staining, never let any shop install these inferior components.
For everyday driving, performance parts aren’t necessarily worth the extra cost. For family haulers, personal trucks, SUVs, and commuter chariots, drivers are basically looking for five things when it comes to brake service: performance, silence, smoothness, cleanliness, and durability.
Ceramic pads tend to offer good performance in all five of these categories and often don’t cost any more than non-ceramic linings. If the cleanliness feature seems strange, then you haven’t had to deal with the headache of trying to remove black brake dust from your alloy rims.
Zinc-coated brake rotors can go a long way to fight the ravages of corrosion that can drive just about any automotive part to an early grave. They also tend to run quieter than non-coated types. Sticking with recognized national brands such as AC Delco, Raybestos, Bosch, Wagner, NAPA, Halten, Akebono and such can mean a long lasting job without breaking the bank.
Stopping performance is only as good as the driver. Every driver wants to know that their vehicle’s braking system will do the job in any situation, especially emergency or panic stops. And while there are great products that can provide shorter braking distances than their competition, a lot of that advantage is moot when you factor in driverresponse times.
New hardware is key to a great finish. Many vehicles use mechanisms that attach to brake pads to keep them moving smoothly. They are often referred to as slippers or anti-drag clips.
These thin chrome steel clips fit between the tabs on brake pads and the corresponding guides in their calipers. They aren’t designed for lifetime use and good quality brake pads always come with new clips. It’s important to ask your service garage if their brake services include new hardware.
Ventilated disc brakes on a 2015 Camaro Z/28. If a vehicle sits for more than a few days (and even just overnight in damp weather) expect a little light grinding noise at first from the brakes.