Guess the Brake Pedal


Can you name the the vehicle that belongs to this brake pedal? OK, it is more of a button…

Here are some hints…

• The first year was 1955.

• The car did not have a vacuum brake booster.


• This was behind the pedal:



Please leave your guesses in the comments! Thanks!

HINT 1: French

HINT 2: Some upscale version of the car did not need a jack to change the rear tire.


Brake Pads vs. Deer Whistle: What is more effective at preventing deer crashes?


More than 1.2 million collisions will happen this year as deer mate and forage before the tough winter months. According to State Farm’s latest analysis, an American motorist currently has a 1 in 174 chance of hitting a deer during the next 12-month period.

DeerWhistleSo how do you avoid becoming a statistic? Most deer are active between 5am to 8am and 5pm to midnight. So not driving is not an option. Deer whistles have been for sale for decades. They are cheap and can be install anywhere. But the effectiveness of these whistles has never been proven.

The most effective method is to make sure your car can avoid a deer. First, slow down. If you see one deer, there are bound to be more. Second, make sure your car is in the best possible condition to be able to stop or maneuver around the deer. This includes maintaining the shocks/struts, lights and most importantly the brakes.

deer_volvo_brakesIf a vehicle has worn brakes or brake pad wear issues, it can’t stop in the required distance during an emergency stop. Having an extra 10-20 feet of stopping distance when Bambi decides to cross the road can be determining factor between life and death.


Deer whistle (Average Price $5-7)


• Cheap and easy to install.


• According to most scientific studies they are not effective at scaring away deer or other animals.

Brake Pads ($60-90 for high-quality pads)


• Effective all year.

• Can prevent crashes with other animals, cars and pedestrians.

• Works with ABS and stability control systems


• Needs to be installed by a professional.

The hands down winner is Brake Pads! You can spend $5 on a deer whistle, and hope that you do not become a statistic. Or, you can get your brake serviced and use high-quality pads and be able to deal with a deer!

3 Brake Modifications You Should Never Perform

WR2a8SuNothing is worse than having to stare at a rust rotor or brake caliper through the spokes of your wheels.





original3. Painting the Entire Brake Rotor and Caliper: Do you want to turn that ugly rusting brake rotor into a work of art? Don’t like masking off the pads and the face of the rotor? Just blast those brakes with with spray paint and let the brake pads do all the work.

Why is this bad? Simple, the paint can contaminate the friction surface of the brake pads. The pigments in paint can cause the friction levels or µ (mew) of the pads to change dramatically. This contamination can last a lot longer than after the paint has bee scrapped from the rotor. This could cause some very long stops.

Rotor_BigCrack2. Rotors Drilled and Slotted Improperly: A hole in a rotor is more than a hole. If the edges of the hole are not chamfered with the correct radius, it can cause stress areas as the rotor heats and cools. This can lead to cracking and catastrophic failure. Also, the placement of the holes matters. So put the drill press away.

TN_NB front corner


1. Caliper Covers: How do you change a single-piston caliper into a six-piston caliper? You could buy a real performance brake kit from Brembo, Stop Tech, or you could buy knock-off brake caliper covers! These brake caliper covers are made of a resin plastic and painted red. They are glued to the caliper with adhesives or clips. To top it off, some have a counterfeit logos. Some covers even have fake bleeder screws. They can fit any caliper because nothing says performance like a six-piston caliper on a 10-inch rotor. If installed improperly, they can prevent the caliper from centering over the rotor.

Don’t do it!

BRAKE TECH: Why Do Some Brake Pads Stink or Smell?

seinfeld-carI was recently ask by a relative at a family function why their brakes smelled horrible after the pads were replaced. Most drivers may not know much about their vehicles, but they know when something does not smell right.

The customers who typically come back to the shop are not too happy. For shops it is a difficult phenomenon to explain. Also, the smell is typically gone by the time they get back to you, if they comeback at all. You know that there is nothing wrong with the vehicle mechanically, but you still have to set the customer’s concern to rest.

The source of the smell is typically the brake pads. Explaining what’s happening is very difficult because you are treading on very complicated chemistry that is further politicized by the friction material manufacturers. The term and concept that you want to avoid at all costs using is “burning off.” This is inaccurate and may cause the customer to become alarmed. Yes, there is heat involved when the bad smell is produced, but it is not oxidation or burning.

What is really happening is polymerization, or curing. This is a chemical process where smaller units are combined into larger and more stable units. It is like making an omelet. When heat is applied to the eggs, the omelet is formed. But, in the case of the friction material, the yoke and whites are the resins that hold the pad together.

The heat of braking causes the resins to polymerize and form stronger bonds. This is a good thing. The bad thing about this is when the resins polymerize, they create by-products in the form of gases that do not smell pleasant.

The bottom line is that the smell is not a bad thing in the majority of cases for new pads. What is important is that the pad must be heated in a controlled manner.

If the pad is heated too quickly or outside a certain heat range, the friction material could lose strength. The gases given off can cause brake fade, but if the pad is broken-in correctly, the gases do not pose a problem and brake fade conditions can be minimized in the future.

This is the most difficult part of the story because I could be stepping on engineering and marketing people’s toes at the same time.

Just about every brake pad manufacturer has a specific break-in procedure. The break-in procedure beds the pads to the rotor and induces heat that starts polymerization on some pads.

Break-in procedures can vary from 10 to 20 stops from 30 mph to moderate driving with no heavy braking for the first 500 miles. How can anyone explain the discrepancy?

First of all, all brake pads are different in their formulation and manufacturing methods. One manufacturer may use a molding technique that may use less resin and more heat in the molding process. Or, one manufacture may use a special resin that may work great, but has a distinct smell when it is being polymerized. It is tough to make the generalizations or judge a pad on its recommended break-in procedure.

Just understand that if a manufacturer recommends a break-in procedure, follow it to the letter. Do not just pump the pedal a few times and back it out of the bay and hope that the customer has a sinus problem. Even if the pad specifies a 500-mile moderate braking procedure, take the car for a test drive.

RETRO: Evolution of the Brake Job and Friction

Back in the day, the brake job was known as a reline. The technician would pull the drum and attach fresh friction material to the shoes at the shop. In 1931, a complete reline (all four wheels) with adjustment could be had for $10.00!

112697 (1)The shops could buy friction material in a roll. The woven materials were typically made of fibers like asbestos, wool or steel. The strands of the fabric were impregnated with resins and abrasives that were not fully cured.

The technician would cut the material so that it would cover the shoes. Next, the material would be fastened with rivets to the shoes. After the material was secured, the technician would grind the shoe to match the radius of the drum.

As the performance of vehicles increased, the friction materials changed. The woven style lengths of material were not able to stand the heat generated by more vehicles that had twice the power of just 10 years ago. Fully cured molded friction materials were the answer. These were called “matched sets.”

If you were a shop that relined its own brake shoes, it required some tools that might be completely foreign to new technicians or maybe found in the antiques listings on eBay.Ammco_890_Brake_Shoe_Grinder_Stock_401_p1_w500Brake Shoe Radius Grinder: This tool would grind the arc of the shoe to match the drum. The radius was taken from the diameter of the drum. If the radius of the shoe was not right, it could cause uneven braking. This was critical in the days before hydraulic brakes when the forces were not equalized by the fluid pressure. The grinder would send large amounts of brake dust into the air.

BrakeRiveter2Riveting/Grinding Press: Brake shoe and clutch rivets where typically made of brass or other malleable metal. The c-shaped presses typically had two functions. First, to serve as a press to drill out or grind down the old rivet. Second, with a foot-operated pedal the operator could set the new rivets into place.

Even in the 1930s, the brake friction industry was moving away from relining shoes in-house. The trend was driven by increased vehicle performance and better roads where higher speeds could be achieved.

Because of World War II research, adhesives had improved dramatically. Chemists were able to create synthetic adhesives that could out perform organic glues under extreme heat.

In the late 1960s, the market began to shift to disc brakes. Many smaller brake bonders were not able to keep up with the changes. By the mid 1970s as the number of brake relines diminished and with increased competition from larger manufacturers, the local brake bonder/jobber practically disappeared.


While backing plates and attachment methods have not received the same level of marketing attention as the friction materials, they have improved dramatically. Rivets are still used in a few applications where the performance and economical parameters call for it. Integral molding where the friction material is pushed through the holes in the backing plate (in conjunction with glue) is a common method of attachment.

On some demanding applications where noise and safety are critical to the performance of the entire brake pad, some manufacturers are turning to new attachment methods. Some manufacturers are creating stronger bonds with the backing plate through special surface treatments that create more surface area for bonding. Another approach has been new methods of mechanical attachment.

nrsNUCAP is able to put hundreds of small hooks on the plate that grab the friction material. The hooks increase the shear strength and can prevent edge lift of the friction material. Not only can it increase overall safety, but it can decrease incidents of unwanted noise.

VIDEO: Dragging Brakes? Outside Pad Wear? Service the Hardware, Brackets and Pick the Right Pads

Winter roads can be brutal on brakes. Corrosion can cause brake problems on vehicles that may still be under warranty. Youtube star FordTechMakuloco shows you a corrosion-related brake problem on a 2012 Ford Explorer with only 29,000 miles.

Corrosion between the hardware, pad and caliper bracket will cause uneven brake ware. mold_content_01But, look at the edge lift on the outer pad! These are the stock pads!

One solution not discussed in this video are replacement pads. Corrosion on the backing plate can bear some of the blame for the uneven wear. Some backing plates have a plated surface that corrosion proof and eliminate “Rust Jacking”. Pads like this might have a NRS stamped into the back of the backing plate.