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Holiday Brake Inspection Checklist

Technical Bulletins

Nov 10, 2020

It’s holiday season, and it is tradition for many Aussie families to hold long road trips to the bush, or visit relatives. It is also a very busy period for mechanics, who are flooded with vehicles getting a last-minute check over and a service before hitting the road. One of the most important safety aspects to check is the brakes. It could mean between stopping safely or not at all. Fortunately, Bendix has a checklist that’ll make a brake inspection quick and easy.

1. Spongy brake pedal Does the vehicle have a spongy brake pedal recently? If that is the case, it’s most likely time to do a brake fluid flush. The spongy brake pedal comes from air bubbles present in the braking system. With bubbles, the brake fluid cannot provide maximum pressure to the brakes, reducing braking capabilities. Brake fluid flushes should be done according to manufacturers’ recommended intervals. However, if there is no service history for the car, a brake fluid flush should be done for peace of mind.

2. Low on brake fluid If the brake fluid flush has been done recently, check the brake fluid reservoir and ensure that the fluid is at the maximum or full line. If there is brake fluid missing, it is normal, just top it up with the car manufacturer’s recommended brake fluid specifications (DOT3, 4 or 5). Make sure to only use brake fluid from a sealed, unopened bottle. As brake fluid absorbs moisture over time, brake fluid from previously opened containers will be unsafe to use.

3. Brake pads Visually inspect if the brake pads require replacing. For a thorough inspection, jack the car up and remove the wheels. Check if the brake pads have reached the wear marks or has uneven wear. Replace if its past the wear indicator or has uneven wear. It’s best to replace them with new brake pads if its worn close to the indicator. As long road trips are much harsher on cars, there is a chance the pads will be very worn before the journeys are over.

4. Uneven wear on brake pads If there is significantly more wear on a set of brake pads than the other (left to right), this usually indicates a problem with the brake caliper. Usually, it’s just a simple regrease of the sliding pins, but in extreme cases, the caliper may need a rebuild or replacement. Be sure to use Bendix Ceramic High Performance Synthetic Lubricant on all moving parts of the caliper when replacing the pads.

5. Brake rotors With the wheels taken off, make sure the rotors are cool before inspection. Feel around for rough spots, irregular grooves, or cracking. Check for any uneven wear by visually inspecting the edges. If one side of the rotor is thinner than the other, it may have severe disc thickness variation (DTV). Ensure the rotor is not worn down to its wear markers. If any symptoms are present, the brake rotors should be machined or replaced (if its worn down to the markers). After checking the rotors and pads, ensure to clean with Bendix Brake/Parts Cleaner & Degreaser to remove any contaminants present on brakes and its parts.

Bendix products are available from leading automotive stockists. Visit www.bendix.com.au/stockists to locate your nearest stockist.

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