The brake professionals from Otto Zimmermann GmbH in Germany want to increase the safety of drivers. They say this can easily be ensured by a brake check when changing tyres. At the same time, workshops ensure good customer loyalty, because customers feel comprehensively cared for.
Detailed visual inspection increases safety
Changing tyres is the optimal time for brake checks. The wheels are removed anyway and the brake system is exposed. During a visual inspection the wear of brake pads and discs is checked. Usually the minimum thickness of the disc is stamped on the hub or the outer diameter of the disc. The thickness can be quickly checked with a special caliper gauge. An obvious burr on the outer edge of the disc is also an indication of a worn brake.
The next look is at the braking surface. Blue-black heat spots (see above), so-called hotspots, indicate overheating of the brake. When braking, this can lead to significant noise, a pulsating brake pedal or even a wobbling in the steering wheel. In the worst case, the braking effect is reduced.
However, small, net-like hairline cracks (see below) in the disc are not a problem as long as they are not longer than half the width of the friction ring (see final image).
With a view from the upper side into the brake caliper, the pads and their thickness can also be checked. It is also advisable to check the complete system for damage, corrosion and possible leaks. Finally, the boiling point of the brake fluid should be checked according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Replacement and sustainable remanufacturing of the components
The brake pads usually wear out fastest. A professional workshop can change them quickly. If the discs are worn out, new brake pads must always be installed. No matter whether only the pads or also the discs are used – when working on the brake, the brake caliper should always be thoroughly cleaned and examined again. Usually it does not need to be replaced. A short revise of the caliper is much more sustainable, cheaper and therefore also more environmentally friendly. This involves thoroughly removing brake dust and dirt from all components, i.e. the caliper itself and the guide pins.
Then the piston seals should be checked for damage and all contact surfaces should be carefully cleaned. The wire brush may also be used for coarse dirt on the contact surfaces. For protection, a metal-free spray should be applied to the contact surfaces and the brake is reassembled.
But what if the caliper is damaged and needs to be replaced? Here Zimmermann recommends remanufactured calipers. These are in no way inferior to brand-new components and offer the same safety. On the one hand they are much cheaper than new ones and on the other hand they contribute to a sustainable use of resources. It is important to Zimmermann that the workshops really only replace components and use brand new ones when it is absolutely necessary. If remanufactured parts serve the same purpose, they are definitely preferable in terms of sustainability.
Experience shows that customers appreciate it if they only sell what is really necessary. Zimmermann also recommends that workshop customers show and explain the defective parts and the corresponding damage. This creates trust and often leads to long-term customer loyalty.