I have a brake issue and am not sure (aside from brake pads) what I need to replace.
my left front started sqeaking whenever I would turn to the left but when I turn to the right or barely applied brake pressure it would stop squealing. Now i's rather intermittent with the squealing happening all the time or not at all and the brakes not affecting but rather adding the problem. I also notice that when I start to approach the end of a stop my car seems to apply more brake pressure at different spots in the wheel turn, all while I maintain the same pressure on the brake. (Rotors?) Anyhoo I'm sure this is rather simple although I'm sure I need other things where should I start?
Sounds like you're hearing the wear indicators scrapping on the rotors. They can squeal when applying the brakes or they can stop squealing when applying the brakes. The rotors are probably warped too causing the sensation you described. Machining will solve that but if they are down to the legal minimum thickness, replacement will be the solution.
March, 26, 2011 AT 7:38 PM
Thank you very much for the quick response kind sir! I just got back from autozone and purchased exactly these items. Installation time. But just to save a step, if this turns out to not be the issue what should my next course of action be?
March, 26, 2011 AT 7:59 PM
Let's cross that bridge if we come to it. There are a few things you can do to prevent other squeaks and squeals, and there are things that will CAUSE them. First of all, run a flat file over the pistons and the caliper fingers that contact the outer pads. You don't need to shine them up. All you need to do is remove any high spots of dirt or rust so the pads will sit flat against them. Apply some high-temperature brake grease to those contact points. "Rusty Lube" is one trade name I'm familiar with but there are others. Clean up and put a little of that lube on any surfaces or bolts the calipers slide on. Use the file to remove the sharp edges on the new linings if that hasn't already been done by the manufacturer. The leading edge is the important one. That removes the "fingernails on the blackboard" potential squeal. You only have to remove less than 1/32" of material. As long as you can prevent the squeal during the break-in period, that will tend to keep them from squealing later. Put a coating of some kind of grease or brake grease on the rotor to hub contact points. That will make them come off easier next time, but it's really more to prevent a possible crunching sound when cornering. That's more of an older GM thing but still good preventive maintenance. Be absolutely certain to not get any grease on the rotors' friction surfaces or the linings. If you do, (even fingerprint grease), wash it off right away with brake parts cleaner. You'll be okay as long as those parts don't get hot. If grease is on them when they get hot, it will soak in and cause squealing. Once that happens you'll never be able to wash the grease out. Don't let the calipers hang by their hoses. Keep them supported or tie them up with wire.
March, 26, 2011 AT 10:40 PM
About crossing that bridge.
Well whenever discount tires changed my tires last time they didn't bother to put on the lug nut all the way because it apparantly misthreaded and I've been driving on it this whole time. So in taking it off it snapped off. So I put the tire back on and like an idiot drove over to my dad's to get some tools ( I still figured I could do the brakes.) Well when I got there I couln't get one of the other lug nuts off and as a result it broke as well. So I'm aware of my mistakes and all but now wonder. How much am I looking at to have a garage put new bolts in. And I already took off the rotor and brake pads, I figure if i've already got everything off I may as well get the learning process in there since someone else is gonna have to put it back on anyway.
March, 27, 2011 AT 3:11 AM
Replacing studs is not a significant problem. They are damaged when they are installed so don't be too hard on the tire guys who were trying to get them off. If they snapped one off, it was already damaged. Just pound out the remaining part, then march down to the local auto parts store for a couple of new ones. You can even pound some out at the local salvage yard if they have the same model car. Install a nut to bang on so you don't wreck the threads. To draw the new ones in, notice there are serrations under the head to bite into the hub. Install a large nut or a stack of large washers with center holes bigger than those serrations so they don't get caught. You'll need a nut without a chrome center cap. Install it backwards with the flat side against that stack of washers, then tighten it to pull the stud in. If there isn't room behind the hub to get the stud in and out, look for a part of the metal plate behind it with grooves showing where to knock out the piece to create an opening. You might not get the new studs all the way in. Install the wheel, then use a click-type torque wrench to tighten the nuts. Typical values are around 95 foot pounds for standard studs and 80 foot pounds for anodized studs. Anodized studs are used a lot on imports. They will be silver, light blue, or light yellow. That is an electrical coating. There should be no lubricants on them because that coating is a lubricant already. The use of the torque wrench is extremely important. Many shop owners will warn an employee once for failing to use one, and they will fire them after the second offense; it's that important. At roughly 105 to 120 foot pounds, (which might not feel tight if you're using a long breaker bar), the nuts will just keep turning but you won't feel that the threads are being peeled off the studs and nuts. You'll find that out the next time you try to remove them. Besides holding the wheel tight and not damaging the threads, proper torque is important so a 90 pound person can get them loose to change a flat tire, and so the clamping forces are equal all the way around to prevent warping the rotors. If you have standard steel studs it is acceptable to put a LIGHT coating of grease on them to prevent corrosion but here are some real important precautions. NEVER, never, ever use anti-seize compound on lug nuts and studs, even if your boss tells you to. There is a chance nothing bad will happen, ... On this car, but you don't want to risk your reputation and time spent in a courtroom when that results in a crash. Along with that, if you DO use any type of axle grease on the studs, you must turn the nuts on by hand as far as possible. Do not use air tools. The grease will build up in front of the nuts as they thread on. If you use an air impact wrench, the centrifugal force will spin that grease onto the rounded surface that contacts the wheel. That is the friction surface that holds the nut tight. Grease on that friction surface can help the nut work loose. Anti-seize compound on the friction surface WILL cause the nut to come loose. During our day of orientation, I spent a good 15 minutes telling my students about anti-seize compound and torquing lug nuts. Given that they were warned, if I caught anyone not following proper procedures, they were not allowed to move the car until that compound was washed off, and it had an impact on their final grade. I'm the most easy-going instructor you'll ever find, except when it comes to safety and the chance of being responsible for a lawsuit for your boss. In case the new studs might not have pulled all the way in, retorque the nuts after you drive the car for a mile or two, and again after around 20 to 50 miles. If you find any nuts that turn a little after you retorque them, check them again in another, oh, ... 10 to 20 miles until they are always tight. You can get away with two nuts that work loose as the new studs pull in from driving, but if all four or five nuts work loose the contour of the friction surfaces on the wheel will be damaged and the nuts will never stay tight after that. Insurance investigators are trained to look for things like that after a crash. A good lawyer, if there is such a thing, can even make a case that YOU are partially at fault for a crash caused by the other guy running a red light. They can find non-standard and damaged wheels, modified ride height, and many other things that may have reduced your ability to avoid a crash. Even blinding fog lights are contributing factors. Common sense can say the other guy was 100 percent at fault, but lawyers are very good at convincing jurors that somehow you were partially at fault. Sorry; I didn't mean to get up on my soap box. My reason for bringing this all up is because I worry about the things do-it-yourselfers might do that can get them in trouble later. I think it's great when people want to know how to do their own car repairs and the outcome will be a lot better when they are informed. You would not believe how much mechanics have to keep in mind to protect themselves from lawsuits.
March, 27, 2011 AT 4:25 PM
Well written, detailed, and informative. Once again, thanks so much for the knowledge. I enjoy doing these tasks myself but always wonder what dangers I'm opening myself to in the process. You covered every angle I was questioning. Most ppl give you a 5 step process which often leaves me with more questions than answers. So thank you!
March, 27, 2011 AT 9:05 PM
You're welcome. Holler back when it's finished or if you have more questions.