Tak­ing a brake

PART THREE: Our Fi­esta has been hor­ri­bly ne­glected in its nine years and 100,000 miles, with the brakes in a ter­ri­ble state. An­drew Everett over­sees the restora­tion of brak­ing power.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Project Ford Fiesta Mk7 -

Our 2009 Fi­esta is a prime ex­am­ple of a car that’s seen vir­tu­ally no main­te­nance apart from the odd oil change. Judg­ing by the brakes, it’s amaz­ing that the oil we drained from the sump last month didn’t re­sem­ble a choco­late cake. The lack of a ser­vice book with the car tells us all we need to know!

The brakes were pretty poor when we picked up the Fi­esta from the auc­tion house, but over the next 100 miles or so they de­te­ri­o­rated to point where the steer­ing shake un­der brak­ing was threat­en­ing to dam­age the steer­ing rack or a balljoint. It was with trep­i­da­tion that we gin­gerly drove the car to Park­side Au­tos in Work­sop to get the brakes sorted.

What we found was typ­i­cal of so many cars nowa­days, which are driven un­til some­thing breaks. The an­nual MOT is seen as a kind of ser­vice by many own­ers, who just couldn’t care less as long as a car starts and drives. There is also no brake pad warn­ing sen­sor.

Shabby discs

The front pads on our car were about half­way through their life and were QH branded but, judg­ing by the di­a­bol­i­cal con­di­tion of the discs, we would al­most put money on them be­ing the 2009 orig­i­nals. We have never seen brake discs as rot­ten as these. The rear brakes – drums, as on many Fords, in­clud­ing very re­cent Fo­cus models – were in fair con­di­tion, which shows how lit­tle work they do. These were also in orig­i­nal con­di­tion and we re­placed the lot, although the orig­i­nal al­loy-bod­ied wheel cylin­ders were still bone dry.

Fi­nally, there was the brake fluid. This re­sem­bled Mar­mite (with or with­out boil­ing wa­ter – you choose) and was clearly very old – again, prob­a­bly orig­i­nal.

The drive home showed what a trans­for­ma­tion the new brak­ing com­po­nents had made. It now re­ally does drive well. With main­te­nance, cars last as long as you want them to.

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