Toasted New Brakes

A Honda CR-V was brought into the shop with a complaint about the brakes. I can’t recall exactly what the complaint was, but it was probably that the brake pedal would pulsate as they slowed the car.

I had a reasonable suspicion at the cause, but to be thorough, I went for a quick test drive. When I returned to the shop, I put the car up on my lift and took off the wheels. Even after those few minutes of setting up the car, I measured the front brake rotors at 220 degrees, which is way hotter than they should be after a quick drive at normal speeds.

The discoloration of the rotors showed that they had already been affected by the heat. Often this kind of thing happens when a caliper seizes up and doesn’t stop pressing the pads against the rotor, but this time it was that somebody had recently done a brake job and not put any grease on the ends of the pads, causing them to seize up. With how hot it had all gotten, the new pads and rotors were already junk and needed a full replacement. Fortunately, whoever had done the rear brakes even more recently had done the job correctly. As the saying goes, do it right or do it twice.

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