Installing brake pads and making them last isn’t as simple as slapping on a new set and going on your merry way. Incorrect brake-in procedures transforms hard-earned money into worthless piles of brake dust or worse. Sadly, an extremely important step is often overlooked: the brake pad bed-in process. This article guides you through the process from basic preparation to the last pedal pump for maximum pad performance.
The Importance of Bedding Brake Pads
Brake-pad bedding is an important process that removes impurities and lays down a thin layer of pad residue on the rotor surface, through repeated heated and cooling during braking. These cycles are like the three bears. Temperatures need to be just right to prevent scarring of the pad & rotor surfaces or uneven pad transfer. Follow these easy guidelines and enjoy quiet, smooth and long-lasting braking. While every manufacturer has a different method for bedding in their brake pads, the basics remain the same—regardless of brand.
Bedding in Your Pads
Anything really good is worth the wait, so be patient. Start by cruising at 35 mph and brake moderately to a stop. Repeat this process 3-4 times with a few minutes in between. By now, things are really warming up. Turn up the heat even more by increasing the speed to 45 mph and braking to 10 mph. It’s important to avoid coming to a complete stop during this stage as it’s possible to melt brake pads against hot rotors. Of course, should a deer, pedestrian or Sasquatch run onto the road, feel free to mash the brake pedal. After your stop-and-go session is complete, park the car and allow the brakes to fully cool for an hour or two. Now your car is ready for careful driving.
While it seems like borderline paranoia is needed to complete the bed-in, one funky stop isn’t going to ruin your efforts, so there’s no need to stress out. Just drive safely and avoid emergency stops if at all possible. Once through approximately 100 miles of driving in oven-hot braking conditions, most pads have fully cured and can be enjoyed like a delicious muffin.