ABS or Antilock Braking System

Under abnormal weather or road conditions heavy braking may be applied causing the wheels to lock up. The result is the loss of steering response and traction. ABS recognizes this situation and increases and decreases pressure to prevent your wheels from “locking up” while constantly applying brake pressure. Think of a man walking on a steel line while holding a long beam across his body for balance. The steel line is the maximum pressure the brake can generate without the wheels “locking up”. The beam is the increase and decrease pressure to the brake system. Hold the beam too far to the left (too much pressure), you will need to tilt the beam to the right, and vice versa to maintain balance.

Brake Pad Selection

Here are few things you should consider to determine what type of brake pads to get. 1. Price 2. Noise level  3. Dust Level  4. Durability 5. Rotor Life  6. Consistency of Coefficient of Friction   7. High temperature resistance (without brake failure)

How does my brake system work?

When you press down on to the brake pedal, the pressure applied will push brake fluids towards your brake calipers.  The pressure from the fluid pushes the piston inwards on the caliper, and squeezes the brake pads towards your brake disc rotor.  The more you press the brake pedal, the harder your brake pad will be squeezed towards the rotor.  The pad will generate friction and heat throughout the rotor which is attached to your wheel, and this will slow down and eventually stop your car.

Do I need to change rotors every time when I change pads?

It is HIGHLY recommend New rotors or Turn your old rotors when replacing new brake pads.
When old rotors are reused without checking for the manufacture minimum thickness or turned few things can happen.
– If the rotor is below minimum thickness, it will tend to over heat and warp the rotor. This will lead to more brake noise, and pedal pulsation.
– If the rotor is not turned, the surface of the rotor will most likely not be smooth laterally and there may also be grooves on the surface. This will lead to more brake noise, and pedal pulsation.

Correct process when installing new brake pads:

When new rotors or turned/resurfaced old rotors above minimum thickness is used during a brake pad change, there will be better contact between the surface of brake pads and rotors . This will help reduce brake noise, pedal pulsation, and less comebacks.

Even when new rotors or turned rotors are installed, run-on can still happen early on. Few key things to help reduce run-on when installing rotors.
– Removing all rust on the hub surface, and on the inside contact areas of the rotor (if old rotors is used) with a metal brush. This will help to have a full contact surface between the brake pad and rotor, and help reduce lateral run-out.
– Put on your rotor with lug nuts to hold it in place, then measure for lateral run-out. General tolerance should be <0.003 in (for specifics, check manufacture handbook), if over you can buy correction plates to fix the issue. With these few simple steps, you are able to not worry about brakes until it is the next time to change it! [/toggle] [toggle title="What is Coefficient of Friction?"] Coefficient of Friction or µ is the ratio of the force of friction generated by pressing two bodies together. What does that mean for you? You will have more solid and consistent braking power with a higher consistent coefficient of friction.

What is Brake Fade?

Brake Fade is the reduction of the braking ability through sustained or heavy use of brakes. Brake fade can be caused by the increased heat or the heavy sustained pressure during braking. The result of this is friction fade, mechanical fade, or fluid fade. We strive to provide brake pads with a consistent Coefficient of Friction using SAE-J661A method of testing for each application, which translates to less brake fade under harsh brake conditions.

What causes Brake Noise?

Brake Noise is the number one issue that all leading manufacturers and automakers are trying to resolve. There are three main categories of brake noise frequencies caused by different materials and driving conditions, and a multitude of causes of brake noise. Any company that claims to have a noise FREE brake pad is flat out lying to you. What we try to do is find the best compromise between pad life, noise, and dust. We also use noise reducing shims. The shims is to reduce vibration and noise to make your driving experience more comfortable.

How to fix rotor Run-out/Warping?

Generally speaking, an uneven brake surface or warping of the rotor will cause vibration during braking which can translate to the shaking of the steering wheel, or in extreme cases may cause brake failure.  Warping is also referred to as Rotor Run-Out.  Vibration in your steering wheel can also be caused by many other factors besides the brake surface itself. Here are a few simple and inexpensive solutions for you to check and fix this issue.

WARNING: To perform automobile repairs requires professional training, tools, equipment, and a facility in automotive services. The following is meant for professionals. Please consult the nearest professional auto mechanic to help correct any warping issues. We will not be held responsible for any damages and financial cost incurred to you, your vehicle, and equipment if you attempt any steps giving here to fix rotor run-out.

• Installation
Issue: rotor, wheel, and lug nuts were never properly seated and/or tightened to manufacturer torque specifications, which causes the wheels to vibrate during braking showing signs of “warping”.
Correction: Seat your rotor flat to the hub, mount the tire and tighten the lug nuts using the STAR pattern (like drawing a star, where your pen starts will be the 1st lug to tie-down, then to the 2nd location of the star, etc). Make sure that the rotor disc, and wheel are seated properly, and the lug nuts are tightened to manufacture recommended torque specifications.

• Rust, dirt, and debris build up on hub
Issue: Rust, dirt, or debris can build up on the surface of the hub which may cause the contact surface to be uneven. This formation of bumps will cause newly installed rotors to show “warping” indicators.
Correction: Use a hub cleaning tool or metal brush; clean the surface of the hub thoroughly. Take the rotor, look inside the contact surface to the hub and clean off any dirt or debris.
The surface of the wheel hub are sometimes uneven, and no matter what brand of rotor you buy “warping” will continue. This can be solved by using a Dial Indicator for rotors. Test the surface of the rotor to check for lateral run-out that is out of manufacturer specs. Once the spot of unevenness is located a Hub Correction Plate will fix the issue.

• Wheel balance
Issue: An un-balanced tire can cause the car to have signs of “warping” during braking.
Correction: Take your wheel to a wheel balance machine and re-balance your rim/tires.

• Extreme tread unbalance
Issue: In extreme cases, wear and tear damages on your tire treads will give signs of “warping”
Correction: Visually inspect the tire tread on all your tires, and consult the manufacturer specification on tread levels. If treads are out of manufacture spec or shows extreme damages, replace the tire.

• Replacing only brake pads or brake disc rotor
Issue: By replacing one but not the other, the old part might have uneven wear on the surface of the contact areas, which can cause warping.
Correction: If you are able to indicate that the old rotor is wrapped and you do not plan to replace it with a new one you may take the rotor to your local auto store to have them resurface the rotor.  If it is the brake pad, we recommend you to replace the brake pad all together.

What is the Thermal Scorched process?

Thermal Scorched is referring to the manufacturing process which cures the brake pad material in a high temperature oven.  This manufacturing process reduces the break in process recommended by most aftermarket companies. All KFE Brake Pads go through this process which burns off manyof the uncured agents. this then stabilizes the friction of coefficient and reduces noise causing agents. 

How does Positive Molding Process work?

Positive Molding is a manufacturing process used by most automakers, and OEM manufacturers.  This process uses heat and pressure to press the premixed brake formula (friction surface or brake pad) onto the back plate.  Imagine in Luke from Star Wars being trapped inside the trash bin, and the two walls are closing in.  Now the two walls will be heated, one side will have the back plate and the other side pushes down the premixed brake formula onto the back plate.  One of the key reasons this process is used because of the increased consistency you will get during braking and decreased brake fade.

Do I need to break-in or bed-in my new brake pad?

Breaking-ins or Bedding-in  does two things. The first is to burn off chemicals and resin left on the pad, and secondly to lay down a transfer layer or transfer film between the pad and rotor.  As you may have already read that EACH and EVERY one of our brake pads goes through the Thermo Scorched process, which helps burn off chemicals and resin left behind on the brake pad after its manufactured.  We still want that transfer layer to go on the rotor.  We recommend you to-break-in or bed-in your new brake pads, but your brakes will still work should you choose not to go through this process.
Remember if you have old rotors, we highly recommend you to get them resurfaced, and to also clean the surface the rotor with warm soap water both FRONT and BACK after the rotor has been resurfaced.
a. Recommended to be performed on a closed or empty roadway to avoid endangering pedestrians and properties. Do not break any traffic safety laws while attempting the break-in session.

b. Accelerate the vehicle to 30mph, and then firmly depress the brake pedal to 5mph. If anti-lock braking system (ABS) is activated, lift pressure to the brake pedal until ABS is deactivated. Do not at any time during this process completely depress and hold the brake pedal down during a stop – this will cook the brakes and may create hot spots on the new rotor.

c. Repeat step (b), above, 5 to 10 times. At this time you may smell an odor and see smoke coming from the wheels – this is normal. If you experience a loss of brake pedal pressure, it is recommended to continue to (d).

d. Drive several minutes while minimizing the use of your brakes to cool down your rotors to near ambient temperature.

How long will my brake pads last?

Brake pad life depends on many factors such as brake pad formula, rotor type, if a rotor is drilled or slotted, how hard you brake, how frequent you brake, amoung other things.
Imagine a truck driver starting from New York City drives to Los Angeles.  The driver might drive one to two thousand miles using their brakes minimally.  Now imagine you live in Los Angeles, and you have to drive on the 405 Freeway for 15 miles every day to and from work.  You may have to use using your brakes for 30 minutes out of the 45 minutes you are traveling.   To ensure your the longevity of your brake pad’s life, we recommend you to follow safe driving practices promoted by the DMV.

Are the holes or slots in my rotor functional?

Yes.  The basic function for Slotted Rotors  is to help clean off dirt and help gas escape between the braking contact areas to improve the efficiency of your braking.  Drilled Rotors help cool down your rotors and improve stopping power. 
Companies such as Brembo, spends millions of dollars on research to understand how many holes there should be, where the holes should be drilled, diameter, how much of angle of chamfer, what type of materials used on the rotor, among other things to decrease the chance that drilled-rotor will not crack under extreme pressure and heat.  On the other hand, a vast majority of drilled rotors on the market today are manufactured without much research.  In the short run, they may help you reduce heat in the rotor, but may cause catastrophic failure of the rotor in the long run.
Keep in mind, by gaining a cleaner contact surface and a cooler rotor, you are actually losing contact surface between the brake pad and the brake disc. 

Besides Drilled Rotors, are there other types rotors that can cool down the rotor without the drilled holes?

Yes, most rotors has straight vanes between the inner and outer brake disc. The vanes lets cool air in and hot air out, which cools down your rotors. There are also two other general types of vanes: curved vane, and pillar vaned rotors.  Directional curved vane and pillar vanes help air travel through the rotor much faster compared to the traditional straight vane design. Some manufactures also uses specially designed slots to help air travel through the surface of the rotor to cool it down.

How to test for Rotor strength?

There are three main types of strength tests for rotors: tension, compression and shear.  Tension tests when the material is being pulled, Compression tests when the material is being crushed. Shear tests are for rotors being ripped apart sideways.