Brake questions. Noob here!

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Thread: Brake questions. Noob here!

  1. #1
    Member IamSteve330's Avatar
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    Brake questions. Noob here!

    I have a 2014 Crosstrek. My inspection is coming up soon and think I may be due for some brakes. I figured I would take the car to my friends and do the brakes b4 the inspection.
    I am a total noob when it comes to brakes and will be the first time I have done brakes myself/with a friend.
    What are good / decent replacement brakes? So far I think I have decided on :
    Front: Akebono Proactive Ultra - Premium ceramic disc brake pads $72
    Rear: Akebono Proactive Ultra - Premium ceramic disc brake pads $43
    ........ Question?...... Should I replace the rotors as well???
    I saw a kit for the fronts: Power Stop Evolution Sport 1-Click Brake Kit $142(only found for front)
    Or Front Rotor: ProStop brake rotor $27
    Rear Rotor: Wagner E-Shield Brake Rotor $33

    I drive probably 50/50 city/highway.... The car has about 42,000 miles on it now.... I do drive on some mountainy roads, so downhill stopping power is sorta important.
    Like I said I'm a total newb..... Should you replace rotors when you replace the pads??? Can u mix and match this stuff? Can I get PowerStop on fronts and Wagner on rears?
    Any tips or advice or opinions will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

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  3. #2
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    You replace the rotors when they need to, independently from the pads.
    Rotors can end warping, or being scored, falling apart for rust etc besides the usual wearing down. Something that can be done to the rotors (used ones not new ones) is to machine them to basically redo the surface where the pads clamp them. In theory it would be a good thing to do every time, at least to take off the glaze left from the old pads, some just scuff them though. Rotor specs would tell you the minimum thickness for discarding and the minimum for "machine to" (supposedly machining to that "machine to" wont bring them below "discard" before new pads are needed) service manuals should also indicate that.
    Some rotors dont last that long, however, and in some places the rust is a killer, edge corners can rust away and if the pads bind the rotors will wear badly so what remains is worthless (often rear disks are bad for that).
    Sometimes you could save a rotor with a bit of attention but since you are doing the work already its just more convenient to replace the pair and call it done, its a matter of convenience. Obviously they go in pairs so if one is bad you replace both sides anyways. I have on occasion saved only one rotor while the other was a goner but then I put it aside to reuse when the same situation presented itself and both old rotors were machined to same, but its not that kosher, for the price its best to replace them and use the old stuff for other fun purposes..
    You could order the whole thing and if you dont need the rotors changed you keep them for the next time or could check first and order what you need.

    For the pads some people have their preference on brand and type, just evaluate the ceramic vs semimetallic deal for yourself

    PS: use the engine on mountain roads.


  4. #3
    Member IamSteve330's Avatar
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    OK thank you for all of that info. Any opinions on the brake and rotor options I had listed above?

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  6. #4
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    Why not have the brakes inspected first before having your friend replace them? Then you can see what you actually need to buy before buying them.

    Are you finding issues with your brakes now? ie squeaking, a scraping sound, the brakes pulsate when applied?

  7. #5
    Member IamSteve330's Avatar
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    I don't really trust most shops. Almost a full year ago I took my car in to get my new tires and they told me that my rear brakes were Severely in need of replacing. They said the rotors and pads. I almost believed them but took it to my friends and he said the rotors were fine and the pads had plenty of life left. I was thinking of doing what you are suggesting but figured I would need them at some point soonish

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by IamSteve330 View Post
    I don't really trust most shops. Almost a full year ago I took my car in to get my new tires and they told me that my rear brakes were Severely in need of replacing. They said the rotors and pads. I almost believed them but took it to my friends and he said the rotors were fine and the pads had plenty of life left. I was thinking of doing what you are suggesting but figured I would need them at some point soonish
    Not trusting them is fine but I've found that most shops will be most likely suggest more work than you need and not less work. So, if the shop states that you don't need your brakes done, then you probably don't. However, if they suggest that you do, then get a second opinion.

  9. #7
    Senior Member AWDfreak's Avatar
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    I would advise replacing the rotors. If you drive the mountains, and especially if you do not implement engine braking (which is another topic for another thread, you SHOULD be using engine braking downhill), every bit of thermal capacity will help and new rotors will have more thermal capacity than used rotors which have been cut/machined.

    I have used the Akebono ProACT brake pads before, and they will suffice for an overwhelming majority of users. In fact, I truly believe them to be the best "consumer" grade brake pad on the market today.

    As for mixing compounds, I would advise against this. Different brake compounds have different friction properties, and although the EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution) can compensate for this, it would be best to have matching front and rear brake pad compounds to optimize the performance of your brakes, especially under emergency situations such as hasty lane-change (VDC uses the brakes to help steer the car) and/or a panic stop situation.


    If you don't consider yourself a spirited, fast driver, keep the Akebono brake pads in mind. If you consider yourself a spirited driver, or a leadfoot driver, you may want to look at high performance street brake pads.




    ALSO! Since you are going to change the brake pads, you SHOULD get the brake fluid changed. Brake fluid is hydroscopic and as a result, the boiling point of the fluid lowers as time goes by with the moisture it absorbs. With mountainous and other servere use, it will deteriorate even quicker. This is a safety maintenance aspect that is almost always overlooked and as someone who has personally experienced brake fluid failure, your life depends on that brake fluid not boiling. Please consider this as well.
    Last edited by AWDfreak; 05-18-2017 at 10:49 PM.
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    ok, so here you see a worn brake pad and a new one, the part that is the same on both is support for the material that actually grabs the rotor, that material that went away in one and still on the other is what you count to see how much is worn.

    you can visually see how much material there is peeking at the brakes inside the caliper, but dont look only at one and call it done, a tire has an inner and an outer pad, theoretically they wear out at the same rate more or less but in practice, if things arent working properly for rust or worse, one could be done for while the other looks ok. Since you change them on both tires (left and right) you end looking at 4 pads, one is gone means change all 4.

    Some rotor may be rusty and look like this and still be viable, the rust is just surface


    but you will find a raised edge if you run the finger and the shiny surface shows glaze etc, all that stuff should be cleaned off... warping, measure thickness etc probably its easier if your friend shows you with the brake in hand. Of course rusty rotors might be difficult to remove and in that case be careful to not ruin a good rotor taking it off in the wrong way. And its not a ton of money, its brakes after all so, when in doubt...
    If they are similar I dont have much of a problem using different pads in front than in the back, but on the other hand sometimes I have no choice in some cars.

    I wouldnt call all the mechanics crooks just because they would suggest new rotors when the old ones could be resurfaced, some do it because they actually care, you can always ask why they actually feel you need new rotors (and tell them to put the old ones in the trunk). Honestly with the prices they have if its a shop doing a brake job is almost more convenient to have them put new rotors in

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