Interested in Auto Technology School? Here’s What You Should Know about Brake Pad Contamination

automotive technology training

Brake pads can become contaminated both over time and by accident when the brakes are being serviced. Contaminated brake pads can end up damaging the brake rotor, which in turn can lead to decreased brake performance. Other contaminants may not damage the rotor itself, but they can still cause the brake pads to perform less effectively. So when contamination happens, you should take it seriously.

Learning how to avoid brake pad contamination—and how to correct it when it does happen—will help you become a better automotive technician and help you keep the vehicles you work on performing their best for longer.

Learning About Brakes During Auto Technology School Can Prevent Contamination

When you take apart the brake calliper (that’s the big clamp-like device on the brake rotor that contains the brake pads and pistons), you’ll see that the brake pads ride on certain parts of the calliper. These points of contact can become contaminated over time with dust and dirt and that contamination can prevent the brake pads from moving freely within the calliper. Use brake cleaner and a cloth to remove these contaminants. Also, wear a mask while doing so because you do not want to be breathing in brake dust.

Know How to Grease Brake Pads in Your Auto Training in Order to Avoid Contamination

Greasing brake pads is another important part of brake servicing. Servicing brakes is one of the key skills you will learn during your automotive technology training. Only grease the back of the brake pad and the edges that come in contact with the calliper. Doing so helps prevent squealing and allows the brake pad to move properly, especially when the brakes are being released. Never apply grease to the front of the brake pad (i.e., the side that comes into contact with the rotor). That’s incredibly dangerous and it could seriously compromise the effectiveness of the brakes.

Make sure you don’t let grease come in contact with the front of brake pads
Make sure you don’t let grease come in contact with the front of brake pads

If Brake Pads Are Really Contaminated, the Solution Is Usually to Replace Them

If the fronts of the brake pads become contaminated with grease or oil, you have two options. If there is only a little contamination, you can actually put the brake pads in the oven or apply a blow torch to them, which will burn off the contaminants. While putting brake pads in the oven may seem strange, they are designed to handle high temperatures.

However, brake pads are highly absorbent, so if quite a bit of grease or oil gets on them then your only solution will be to replace them entirely. This, fortunately, is not a big issue since brake pads are affordable.

Learn to Use a Brake Lathe to Even Brake Rotors

For a vehicle to come to a stop, the front of the brake pad is applied to the brake rotor, which creates friction. Over time, brake pads wear down and leave a layer of dust on the brake rotor. This is called the transfer layer and it is actually completely normal, so technically it is not contamination in and of itself. However, if the transfer layer is deposited unevenly, it could damage the rotor, which can cause juddering.

An uneven transfer layer cannot be removed with simple brake cleaner. Instead, you’re going to need a brake lathe, which will machine down the surface of the rotor so that it’s even again. A good auto technology school will have a brake lathe on their campus for you to practice with. The brake lathe is also used to get rid of rust buildup on the rotor that can occur due to road salt and other contaminants.

Use a brake lathe to fix damaged rotors
Use a brake lathe to fix damaged rotors

Are you interested in pursuing a rewarding career in the automotive sector?

Contact Automotive Training Centres today and learn more about our automotive technology course!

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