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Old 10-25-2012, 11:11 AM   #321
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That's a good one. I never found a for sure answer. Consensus seems to be 2yrs/24kmiles. It's in some owners manuals but not all. I don't think it is part of a brake job, you don't have to touch the fluid when replacing pads. I bled and filled mine last year, main thing is to not let the reservoir go down and get air in the system.
In my experience, about every 3-4 years is good. Some factors include city vs. highway driving, weather (more frequent in Arizona than in Missouri), etc. Humidity is another, as brake fluid attracts moisture, but you don't want moisture in your system. You might think it's a sealed system...but there's always a way for some humidity to get in.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:14 AM   #322
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19. When you hear a squeak from your front brakes, this does not necessarily mean they are worn out. There are a few things that can cause brakes to squeak, and it’s often difficult to tell the true cause. Squeaking may be caused by a glazed finish on the rotor (too smooth and shiny, sort of like washing your finger with soap, then pushing it across a clean window pane…it will “chatter”). Another cause may be the brake pads “fluttering” within the caliper, which can be caused by worn springs or retainers or rusty areas.

If the brakes are making noise because they are worn, there are a couple things you should know. There are two mechanisms that can cause this noise. 1) The brake pads are worn down so far that the metal on the back of the pad is actually touching the rotor. This noise will be more of a metal-to-metal grinding noise than a squeak. If this is your problem, you’ll have to replace both the rotor and the brake pad. 2) Most brake pads have wear “indicators”, a small metal tab that is designed to hit the rotor and make a loud noise BEFORE the pads completely wear out. If this is the mechanism, the noise will be more of a screeching or very high pitched noise. You cannot always trust that you’ll hear this noise, however, as sometimes the indicator is only on one pad on each side of the car (there is an inner pad and an outer pad on each side). If for some reason the pad without the indicator wears faster…you will not hear the screeching noise soon enough. This uneven wear is rare on newer cars…but on cars that are on their 2nd or 3rd brake job (and especially if the job was not done properly), this is common.

If you have your tires rotated, ask the technician to look at the pads while the wheels are off…this is very simple and they won’t charge you extra. Be sure they look at both the inner and outer pads to avoid the issue I describe above.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:48 AM   #323
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Hi Dave,

All great stuff! Thank you!!

In a previous post you indicated that you performa brake fluid flush every 2 years but every 5 years is probably ok. I think people in rust prone areas should stay closer to the two year mark to reduce the chance of the bleed screw rusting/breaking/becoming unable to turn.

BTW I've become a believer in the gravity method too. Foolproof, effective, and can be done with only a hose and container. The only drawback is it is time consuming. Also, for those that want to try, watch that the master cylinder stays full or you may not like the results or need to repeat the procedure.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:02 PM   #324
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #325
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On replacement brake rotors, I've run across one interesting item. The shop guy was telling me I needed to replace the rotor as it was down to the minimum thickness, which he showed me with a micrometer. Since he had the replacement rotor right there, I asked him to humor me and measure the new third party rotor as well.

It was thinner than the old rotor.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:31 PM   #326
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Lake Travis -
I have no idea why the brakes (and a whole lot of other compenants as well) have lasted as long as they have in this vehicle. A couple of hypotheses -1) most of the driving has been highway driving in flatlands (very little stop and go, very few mountains), 2) the entire brake system of this model of Suburban was significantly upgraded from tthe previous model (my '91 Suburban went through brakes like butter and one occaision overheated so badly that the brakes locked up and caught the brake fluid on fire. Scary), 3) even though I got the trailering package, I seldom pulled a trailer (sold the boat shortly after buying the vehicle), 4) I appear to have a statistical outlier.

As to why I am replacing them before they are totally shot? Good question. I am in the process of getting everything ready for my anticipated "Class of 2013" status, and trying to get any and all major expenses taken care of before I pull the plug. I'd rather put the money out now than later and, with that many miles on them, I know I'll be doing it in the not-too-distant-future. Not my normal way of doing things, but that's the thought process
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:58 PM   #327
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On replacement brake rotors, I've run across one interesting item. The shop guy was telling me I needed to replace the rotor as it was down to the minimum thickness, which he showed me with a micrometer. Since he had the replacement rotor right there, I asked him to humor me and measure the new third party rotor as well.

It was thinner than the old rotor.
Yea, this is what I was getting at when I was pestering Dave about the actual difference between good and crummy parts.
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:10 PM   #328
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On replacement brake rotors, I've run across one interesting item. The shop guy was telling me I needed to replace the rotor as it was down to the minimum thickness, which he showed me with a micrometer. Since he had the replacement rotor right there, I asked him to humor me and measure the new third party rotor as well.

It was thinner than the old rotor.
Sounds like the shop was just trying to sell you a new rotor. The repair manual for your vehicle will have the specs and wear limits. Mine for instance 28mm normal, 26mm repair limit so it has 2mm of wear. The replacements should meet these specs even on a cheap one.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:25 PM   #329
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On replacement brake rotors, I've run across one interesting item. The shop guy was telling me I needed to replace the rotor as it was down to the minimum thickness, which he showed me with a micrometer. Since he had the replacement rotor right there, I asked him to humor me and measure the new third party rotor as well.
It was thinner than the old rotor.
Whoops, busted...
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:51 AM   #330
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Most rotors have the minimum thickness cast into them, near the hub area. At least on my GMC's and Jaguar.
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Old 10-28-2012, 12:26 PM   #331
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What are some typical numbers for allowable thickness on the rotors? What I'm wondering is, why not just make them a bit thicker? It seems we are talking small fractions of an inch, right?

And before you say "unsprung weight", I can't help but notice that tires on cars seem to be getting larger (and therefore heavier). Seems to me that I used to buy 14" tires on the smaller-to-midsize cars I owned, then they started coming with 15", and now 16". Upgrade beyond the base model, and you start seeing 17-18-19-20" tires.

What's up with that? It seems the larger tires go up in price significantly, yet I doubt they wear that much longer. One that I looked at (same series), had a 3% delta in Rev/Mile between a 16" and 19" rim, and the larger is 17% heavier (~ 4 #). But the 16" cost just 53% of the 19". Not sure if that is typical, but I bet it's close.

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Old 10-28-2012, 03:38 PM   #332
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Eh, these big tires look cool! Do people need any other reason?

Same thing with fancy low profile tires on pick up trucks! How are those going to help handling on those trucks to make them as maneuverable as sports cars? Look is everything and the only thing (though I personally do not think they look all that good on a truck, but I guess it might be just me).
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:03 PM   #333
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Called plus sizing, putting larger tires on than OEM specs

+Better handling, cornering, traction etc, Looks...

- Cost a lot more for tires and wheels. performance improvement not that great,
poor ride comfort, poor winter performance

Plus sizing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:07 PM   #334
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Curiosity question for Dave....

At one time in my career... many moons ago, I was involved in a large retailer auto service think tank, with more than 200 Service Centers... (similar to the Sears Auto Service Center)s...
One of our major challenges was to increase the labor income... ie:, the profitability aside from the income from tire/battery/repair parts sales.

One of our projects was a 4 wheels off inspection of every car that ended up in our shops. It was a free 12 or 18 point inspection of the major categories... brakes, fluids, battery, tires... etc.. The inspection was followed up with a postcard reminder three weeks later. Soft sell, confidence builder.

Our Shop Managers and employees hated the program.

In the 6 months trial, our labor recovery... (labor income % to labor cost), changed from 80% to 130%. It was obviously the right thing to do, but pushback from the Managers and employees resulted in dropping the test.

This was more than 25 years ago. Now I wonder, as I see many underutilized brake and muffler and tire shops, why this free wheels off inspection is not being used.

The idea was to "show" the customer his/her problems, and use a softer sell, instead of using the fear factor.

It grates on me to see a three bay auto service with two bays empty.

Just wonderin'... Whaddya think?
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:44 PM   #335
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PA has a good system, once a year safety inspections. + emissions test, which I loathe.

Especially in western PA, the terrain has lots of ups and downs, many steep. I feel good about the safety inspections, performed by independent shops. Clearly they have a motive to find things to fix, thus the inspections are thorough. I have the peace of mind knowing that guys who know most vehicles' weak points look at them carefully. It is a very thorough check, takes an experienced mechanic a good part of a half hour with the vehicle in the air on the lift, bright lights shining everywhere. Then a test drive.

I know many who think the emission part is important, I think it is annoying, especially since OBDII hacks up a nasty glob, and check engine light with minimal deviation from optimal function. In PA there is also the brilliant system, for emissions: even though my suburban is OBII compliant, and many diesels are compliant as well, over 7500lb GVW they require a tail pipe test. Huh?

By the way very few authorized inspection stations have the tail pipe test machinery, most just turn them off. They cost a fortune to certify, repair and maintain, yet not mandated to have even though they authorized inspection stations. Riiight, makes perfect sense.

Take Maryland, please!
They do emission checks, but no safety checks, except when transferring title to new owner. You can drive a hunk of junk, if the parking brake holds, as long as it does pass emissions, good to go.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:52 PM   #336
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Here it take just long enough for the tech to peel the old sticker off and put a new one on. If you know the right person you don't even have to do that, they'll give one or several and you can put it on yourself. State law limits the charge to $5, which would not even cover the cost of putting the sticker on let alone do a real inspection.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:33 PM   #337
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Here it take just long enough for the tech to peel the old sticker off and put a new one on. If you know the right person you don't even have to do that, they'll give one or several and you can put it on yourself. State law limits the charge to $5, which would not even cover the cost of putting the sticker on let alone do a real inspection.
In Tx the cost depends if you are in a metro area and need a smog check or not, if you do its $40, if you don't because you live in the boonies its $15. Note that Tx does give a new car a 2 year sticker because I guess they figure it will take that long for a lot to go wrong with a new car.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:40 PM   #338
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Called plus sizing, putting larger tires on than OEM specs

+Better handling, cornering, traction etc, Looks...

- Cost a lot more for tires and wheels. performance improvement not that great,
poor ride comfort, poor winter performance

Plus sizing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Of course even OEM tires have increase in size my Cruze comes with 16 inch tires, and I believe pickups now come standard with 17 inch wheels (it was 15 in 1985 and 16 in 2001) I recall my 76 volarie (a real piece of junk) had 14 inch wheels. I suspect the larger wheels reduce rolling resistance a bit thereby helping fuel economy a bit, and today every little bit helps.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:39 PM   #339
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And before you say "unsprung weight", I can't help but notice that tires on cars seem to be getting larger (and therefore heavier). Seems to me that I used to buy 14" tires on the smaller-to-midsize cars I owned, then they started coming with 15", and now 16". Upgrade beyond the base model, and you start seeing 17-18-19-20" tires.

What's up with that? It seems the larger tires go up in price significantly, yet I doubt they wear that much longer. One that I looked at (same series), had a 3% delta in Rev/Mile between a 16" and 19" rim, and the larger is 17% heavier (~ 4 #). But the 16" cost just 53% of the 19". Not sure if that is typical, but I bet it's close.

-ERD50
Everthing's possible. My 50 year old toy came with 13" steel wheels and a high profile tire (the only ones made). It now sports 14" alloy wheels and a lower profile tire. Roughly the same diameter and, while I haven't weighed them I'd guess, a slightly lower weight, more or less the same diameter.

I'd say that tires are getting smaller and therefore lighter, but the wheels they are on are getting bigger. Are those wheels getting heavier? Unsprung weight combines tires and wheels. What weighs more steel or rubber. I don't pretend to know but it may be a sawoff.

As an aside, I've never seen anything dumber than an 'off-road' pickup with 23" 40 profile tires. If you want to go 'back country' you want the highest propfile available. Why smash those nice alloy wheels on a 3" rock?
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:43 PM   #340
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Called plus sizing, putting larger tires on than OEM specs
+Better handling, cornering, traction etc, Looks...
- Cost a lot more for tires and wheels. performance improvement not that great,
poor ride comfort, poor winter performance
The techniques in that article seem to attempt to keep the tires the same diameter. But I've seen plenty of cars where the tires are clearly bigger than the fender wells were designed to accommodate. If the diameter of the wheels is bigger, then the tires have fewer rotations per mile and the speedometer would register a lower speed. I guess going from 16" to 17" would reduce the speedometer reading by about 6%, or about 4 MPH at 60 MPH. Does this somehow get adjusted, or is it even considered significant?
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