Editor’s Note: In today’s Guest Commentary, Chris Hudson, district sales manager for Raybestos Brake and Chassis, part of the Affinia Under Vehicle Group, responds to a recent column by Brake & Front End Editor Andrew Markel regarding rotor resurfacing and the recent settlement of the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) case against former Midas franchisee Mike Glad. To read the complete article click here.
Great article! Timing being everything, the day your article came out in AMN, I was giving a brake clinic to an upscale independent repair shop and the question of pad slapping was raised by the owner. I run into this issue a lot in the fleet world, but rarely in the automotive side. You are absolutely right in your opinion, that a light cut and non-directional finish is critical for the bedding-in process, and dramatically improves the life, performance, and noise issues for the life of the brake service. Ironically, our industry looks at "pad slapping" as a shortcut to a quality brake service, and the BAR seems to view it quite differently.
In the fleet world, I give the technicians five parameters that must be met before considering pad slapping a vehicle: 1) No hot spots 2) No heat cracks 3) No parallelism issues 4) No excessive lateral run out, and 5) Most importantly, replace with the same friction material being removed from the vehicle. If all five conditions are met, we have never had an issue with pad slapping. Easy to do in the fleet world, but not so on the automotive side. Rarely does the repair shop know what friction is being removed from the vehicle to enable them to replace with the same.
The case that the BAR quoted in their complaint, where the customer was sold an upgrade to ceramic pads, drives this point home. Over the years I have had several consumer complaints of poor brake performance when installing ceramic pads. In all cases I found that the rotors were not turned, and metallic pads were replaced with ceramics. The two friction materials are so dissimilar that braking performance was compromised. The friction material embedded into the pours of the rotor must match the pads for optimum performance. In the case of a dealership doing warrantee brake repair on a new car, they should know what friction material was used OE, and be able to replace with the same.
In my opinion, the only issue the BAR got right in respect to rotors, is that turning rotors effects a rotors’ ability to dissipate heat, and shortens life expectancy. A careful balance must be considered when turning rotors.
It is my hope, that the BAR went after an unscrupulous shop and threw the book at them, and would not have an issue with a quality reputable shop turning rotors as a part of a brake service. I would love to take on the BAR if this was not the case.
Keep up the good work. We need a voice of reason in the print world, to aid the quality repair shops in continuing to offer great value and service to their customers.
District Sales Manager
Raybestos Brake and Chassis