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The brake system is one of the most important safety components of any vehicle. A good brake system can avert any accident that may occur on the road. Too bad, the brake pads do not often last as long as we want them. Replacing brake pads and rotors is easy enough. What many do not understand is the importance of bedding in brakes. What is it? And how are you supposed to bed in your new brakes?

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All About Bedding In

Some vehicle owners may not be familiar with the term. They may have overheard it from the auto supply store from where they bought their new brake pads or rotors. Bedding-in is similar to burnishing, conditioning, or breaking-in your new brakes.

The process of bedding in brakes transfers some of the brake materials from the pad to the brake disc or rotor. It is like coating the brake rotors with the same material that the brake pads are made of. This results in the formation of a transfer layer on the brake disk. They call it ‘bedding in’ because the process creates a ‘bed’ of brake material on the rotor.

When executed properly, bedding in new brakes can enhance the ability of the brake system to generate friction. This leads to better braking performance. It can also help extend the lifespan of both the brake pads and the rotors. In a way, you will feel a lot safer behind the wheel if you know how to bed in brakes the correct way.

How Do You Bed In Your New Brakes?

It is crucial to perform the bedding in process right after installing new brake pads or rotors. The process involves a series of quick accelerations and decelerations. It is best to perform the process of bedding in brakes early in the morning. This minimizes the chance of you figuring in an accident. It would also be ideal to perform the break-in procedure in an area where there are few vehicles. Remember, you will be accelerating and decelerating throughout the process. Having other motorists around you can lead to accidents.

The process of bedding in your new brakes involves two phases. In the first phase, you will drive your vehicle at 45 MPH. After a few minutes, apply the brakes in a more aggressive manner than normal braking. This will help bring the temperature of the brake rotors to its optimum. It helps prevent thermal shock. You do not have to come to a complete stop. A slow 15 MPH speed is often enough. Repeat this process up to four times. Make sure to allow the brakes to cool down after each deceleration.

The second phase of the process involves going at a speed of 60 MPH. After a couple of minutes at this speed, apply the brakes as hard as you can until you get to a low speed of 15 MPH. In this phase of learning how to bed in brakes, it is important to be both aggressive and firm. However, you should also use your common sense not to trigger the wheels to lock up. Let the brakes cool down for a few minutes right after decelerating to a comfortable 15 MPH pace. Repeat the process for 10 to 20 times.

Always keep in mind to keep the vehicle running during the entire time you are bedding in brakes. If you stop your vehicle on its tracks, there is a chance of transferring more brake pad materials onto your rotors. This can have a negative effect on the performance of the brake system.

Some Notes to Remember

Delay the bedding-in process if you have brake rotors with zinc, cadmium, or phosphate coating. The aggressive braking maneuvers in bedding in brakes can alter the coating of the rotors. It is best to drive in a normal fashion to help polish these special coatings on the rotors. Once polished, then you can break in your brakes.

Always check the face of the brake rotor for a slight blue tint and a light gray film after the bedding-in process. The blue tint shows that the brake rotors were able to achieve their correct bed-in temperature. The light gray film is an indication of the brake material having been transferred onto the brake rotor.

Large brake kits may require two cycles of bedding-in. This is also true if you are going to install new brake pads without replacing your brake rotors.

Learning how to bed in brakes is crucial to ensuring the optimum function of the vehicle’s brake system. It also increases the lifespan of the different components, leading to bigger savings in the long run.

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Sources:

  1. How to Break in Brake Pads – Your Mechanic

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