by Pat Goss
Like many things on automobiles, brake problems aren’t always what they appear to be. Take that pulsation you get when you hit the brake pedal. Maybe in the pedal or in the steering wheel, but when you hit the brake, something shakes. You automatically think that you have a warped brake rotor; it’s no longer smooth. Well that may not be the case, especially if the car’s been sitting for a long period of time.
What happens is, the rotor rusts, and then in one spot, right under the pad, where it’s been sitting, you have a clean spot like this. Well, what happens here is, that this builds a little bit of an edge, on either side of where the pad was. So when you hit the brake, that edge, as the pad goes over it, that edge makes that pulsation that you feel in the car. And no, in most cases driving it will not make it go away.
So how do you correct it? Well, you start out by cleaning all of the rust off the surface of the brake rotor, using a grinder, such as we have here. This is a very simple air-powered grinder with a Scotch Brite pad on it. Just clean the entire surface of the rotor, only takes a few minutes to do. Problem gone; saves yourself a lot of money.
Alright, now something else. Cheap shops, techs that don’t know, do-it-yourself-ers that don’t know, they may create a problem with the brake hose. Either in replacing the brake hose, or replacing the brake caliper. See, it’s real easy to get these things twisted. And you certainly don’t want a twisted brake hose on your car.
Brake hoses have these little ridges in them, and those ridges have to be absolutely parallel the whole length of the hose. If they’re twisted like this one, that’s going to stress the fabric inside the hose, and eventually the hose will break. And you’ll have a brake failure.
Alright, in this case it would be really easy, because somebody just put the caliper on wrong. All they have to do is turn the caliper over. And in other cases it might mean removing the brake hose, and straightening it out… but once you’re done, the line should always be absolutely parallel. Big safety feature right there. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line. Right here, at MotorWeek.