Breaking Down Your Brake Pads

Keep your brakes up to par with these tips

Brake tips
So here's the brake down on getting the most out of your brake pads.Cruiser

You've poured all that money into state-of-the-art brake pads, so don't ruin them in one wrong move. Keep the calipers and the discs spotless—no grease, no road tar, no baby food glop. Brake fluid or grease can ruin the pad's surface and muck up the discs too.

  • Your pads and rotors don't know each other before they bed, so make sure they have a proper introduction. Don't subject new pads to extreme forces early on, as they need time to conform to the surface of the old rotor. Harsh braking can concentrate generated heat unevenly over the pad, causing localized overheating and hardening. Then the pad will never live up to its full friction potential.
  • Don't jab at the pad early in its life, but don't baby it either. Work it in like a new tire—gently at first, and then gradually moving to more aggressive braking. It could take as long as 100-200 miles to bed in a set of new pads. Some pads may have unusual break-in procedures, so make sure you read the directions.