Finally, the sun is shining and there’s no better feeling than revving up the engine, rolling down the windows and hitting the open road. But after months of plowing through highly corrosive deicing chemicals that are laid down on roadways across the country, there could be a vehicle service concern when it comes to the braking system. Safety is paramount, so when the snow melts and the sun shines, you want to ensure that your brakes are ready for action. That means checking for corrosion that could prematurely end brake pad life.
The problem happens when the powder coat paint on some brake pads are niked or chipped and allow deicing chemicals to seep into metal backing plate, sometimes attached to the friction material with glue, and eat away at the materials, causing rust and other oxidation that can cause the friction material to crumble off the backing plate and reduce the life of the brake pad.
Here’s a quick overview of how you should inspect your braking systems:
- Inspect for secure mounting, wear, leaks, corrosion and damage.
- For proper brake pad wear, check that there is enough clearance to allow the caliper full movement during normal operation.
- Inspect pad friction thickness to ensure that it has not fallen below the minimum.
- Check the friction material for any cracks.
- Visually check the brake assembly (e.g. pads, rotor, etc.) for oil or grease contamination.
- Check rotor thickness. It must be within acceptable ranges and make sure there are no stress cracks.
In the event that your brake pad needs replaced, you’ll want to ensure that your pad of choice ensures long-life and features that can help combat corrosion. NRS Brakes, for example, recommends using galvanized steel brake pads. Galvanized NRS Brake Pads feature mechanically attached friction on a galvanized steel backing plate to further protect the pad and prolong operational life. The galvanized steel is used in place of a powder coat paint to protect from rust, and the mechanical attachment offers much more strength compared to adhesives. This construction prolongs the life of brake pads since the protected steel will not rot and fall apart before the friction has a chance to wear down.