Niagara Gazette

Columns

September 5, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: Tackling the typical braking system problems

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Chattering

Brake chattering occurs when brake pads or shoes rattle from bad anti rattle clips, worn return springs or misshapen pad or shoe backings. When the brake is applied, you hear a metal chattering and usually the brake pedal pulsates. If this is happening on your car, have the brakes checked as they could fail in a panic stop situation.

Hot burning grease smell coming from wheel

I smelled a lot of this when I was in NYC. A burning grease smell usually indicates that a wheel bearing grease seal is worn out and either wheel bearing grease or differential lubricant is leaking past the worn seal and onto the brake friction material. In the case of this problem, not only the seal need to be replaced, but the brake pads or shoes that are soaked with lubricant also because the lubricant has impregnated the friction material and this cannot be cleaned. Oftentimes any rubber seals that get contaminated with lubricant also must be replaced because the rubber gets gummy and swells, so it’s unable to do its job.

Smoking hot wheel

Years ago when I was with Channel 4 (before I started the TV show on WBBZ this year) our weekend meteorologist came to me concerned that there was something wrong with her Nissan Xterra. Seemed she smelled something coming from a front wheel after she parked the truck. Yes something was burning all right … the left front brake caliper was seized and smoke was billowing from the wheel. When a brake seizes like this it causes the brake fluid inside the system to burn or scorch, rendering it useless because it loses its hydraulic properties. If a pair of wheels getting hot on the same axle then it could be a frozen emergency brake. What happens? Due to exposure to the weather elements, moisture sets into the cables for the e-brake, then one day the person sets the e-brake and the cable is pulled tight against the corrosion and gets stuck in the applied position. As the saying goes with respect to the e-brake “If you don’t use it, you lose it!

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