What is "Friction Break In" and How To Do It

What is "Friction Break In" and How To Do It

When completing a brake job, it can be tempting to replace parts and call it done. However, to really complete the job, it is important to complete a friction break in. Essentially, this process helps get the brakes ready for every day use. To help you out, this article will go over why and how to complete a friction brake in.

How to Perform a Friction Break In

Once a job has been completed, a test drive should be performed. In order to do this, the test drive has two goals. The first is to make sure the brake system is operating properly. To do this, a test drive is performed in order to help in the mating of the pads to the rotors. This is often called a "break in" or "burnishing". In any case, no matter what you choose to call it, it is important to get it done. Depending on who you ask, the number of stops you should make with new brakes will vary. Typically however, A good average is 10 to 12. To mate the pads effectively, make 10 to 12 stops from about 30 mph down to 10 mph. Equally as important, allow about 30 seconds between stops for cooling.

Delivering to the Customer

Next up, the second thing you should do is educate the customer. When you deliver the vehicle to the customer, advise them not to do any severe braking for the first couple of hundred miles. Likewise, let them know to stay away from towing or hauling, while also trying to anticipate their stops when possible.

Often times, there are two types of customers you'll want to watch out for, and educate.The first group of customers think they need to slam the brakes several times directly after the brake job. As a result, many customers make hard stops right after the job is done, causing potentially irreversible effects on the performance of the brake job. On the other hand, the second group of customers are those that will leave your shop and go on vacation. Because of this, they end up towing a lot of weight and putting a lot of stress on the brakes. Not catching that customer can cost you big time. That is why you should talk to and educate your customers, it will benefit both of you in the long run.

OEMs & Friction Break In

To further prove the point, some OEMs endorse the same steps on their new cars. For example, the image below shows the new vehicle break-in page from an owners manual on a late model GM vehicle. Just like above, you can see similar steps.

New vehicle break-in manual instructions

While both parts can be helpful, there are times it will not be practical to perform the second part of the brake-in process. For example, Asking fleet customers to not tow or haul for 200 miles is not practical. In these cases, try and at least double the number of stops taken in the first step to bring the process closer to completion. Remember that proper friction break in is par of any quality brake job.

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