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Bad Brakes

The chances are that you’ll buy at least three brake jobs during the life of your vehicle. Stopping on a dime requires three simple components – the caliper (the squeezing machine), the brake pads (the friction material), and the rotor (the part that gets squeezed).

Knowing how they work and how you drive can save you money when it comes time for those repairs.


Brake calipers work in a push-pull process to squeeze the brake pads against the rotors. First, the caliper piston pushes the inboard pad outward until it touches the rotor. Then the caliper slides backward, pulling the outboard against the other side of the rotor. When you back off the brakes, the piston retracts slightly and the caliper releases pressure on the pads.

But if the caliper binds on the slide pins, the brake pads wear unevenly and quickly. Binding is a very common problem. But that doesn’t mean you have to replace the calipers. Instead, we might simply need to replace the slide pins (much less expensive) and lubricate them with high-temperature synthetic grease.

In many cases, calipers can be reused. But if the brake caliper is leaking fluid or the piston won’t retract, then it must be rebuilt or replaced.


There are lots of myths surrounding ceramic brake pads. Is ceramic simply the best brake pad material you can buy? Will they outlast semimetallic pads and provide better braking? No, not necessarily. What is true about ceramics is that they run quieter and give off less brake dust—period.

If you haul heavy loads or do a lot of stop-and-go driving, semi-metallic pads last longer and provide better braking than ceramic pads. Think about what type of pad came with the vehicle and what kind of driving you do. If you do mainly light hauling and light braking and are really into the look of your aluminum wheels, then go for the ceramic pads.

The more you know…

Top-quality shops automatically use the best parts because they don’t want “comebacks” (jobs redone at their expense). They charge a fair price up front without resorting to gimmicks and up-selling. At Heritage, we’re proud to offer you high-quality NAPA parts when we repair your vehicle.


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