They make your car slow down and stop by making it move against each other. In a drum brake or disk brake, the brake pads push against the rotor or drum in the wheel. It might seem like a bad idea to use lubrication on a system that needs friction, but the right lubricants are very important to make sure the brakes work properly.
Of course, you don’t want to put any kind of lubricant on the part of the brakes that touch. Soluble oil would make your brakes not work at all, which is why you don’t want it in your car. It is true that brakes have a lot of moving parts, and they all need to be well-lubricated to make sure that everything works well. Brake lubricants also keep your brakes from making squealing or screeching noises because of vibrations. They also cut down on wear and tear so your brakes last longer.
It’s not enough to just put some oil or grease on the brakes. Because of the way brakes work, they need special lubricants. Among other things, the brakes get very hot even with light use. An ordinary lubricant would actually melt in these conditions, and it could then run or splatter on other parts of the brake system, like the rotor or the pads. This could damage them. People who drive cars that have slippery brake rotors won’t have any brakes at all. Almost all of today’s brake systems are hydraulic, too. Oil-based lubricants would make rubber and plastic seals break down.
Don’t forget to buy the right oil and grease when you buy new brake pads and rotors. Look for dry film lubricants that have either molybdenum disulfide or graphite in them if you want metal-on-metal lubrication. Silicone-based or synthetic non-petroleum lubricants should be used to lubricate areas with rubber or plastic parts.
This is where we start to talk about where to put the lubricants and how to put them on.
Drum Brake Lubrication Points
- When your car has drum brakes, whether it’s old or new, it needs to be lubricated. If your car is small, like an ATV, there are a few places that need to be lubricated. Here are a few tips that will help you lubricate your drum brakes the right way, like:
- Lubricant should never be put on the inside of the drum where the shoes or pads touch the drum. Because the brakes will not work, it could be very dangerous.
- Use some lubricant on the back plate. A grinding wheel can be used to lightly sand the small ridges where the shoe rests. Then, the area should be lubricated to keep the shoe from moving.
The adjustable star-wheel that separates the shoes can get frozen, so it should be lubricated to keep it from getting stuck in the middle.
- The parking brake usually works with your car’s rear drum brakes, so lubricate the parking brake cable and any other parts that move or link together.
- Make sure you lubricate the part of the shoe that separates the toes about halfway up.
- Use lubricant where there is metal-to-metal contact between moving parts, such as where the shoes slide on the ground.
- There are places where you shouldn’t use dry film lubricant. Rubber and plastic seals could get lubricated by the lubricant.
- Make sure you don’t overlubricate. You don’t want extra lubricant dripping into places it shouldn’t be.
Before we know where to lubricate disk brakes, we’ll find out where to do it.
Disk Brake Lubrication Points
- To make sure you don’t forget about this important rule, here it is again: Don’t put lubricant on the inside of your pads where they touch your rotors. The brakes won’t work, and you’ll have a lot of trouble on the road.
- The screws that hold the caliper in place should be lubricated. Do this on both the top and the bottom.
- There should be enough lubrication in the part that moves the caliper itself back and forth. In case it doesn’t, it could freeze up and not be able to get the brakes off the right way. This will hurt your gas mileage and wear out your brakes more quickly.
- Where the caliper goes on the frame next to the rotor, you might see some marks from that. Some of them need to be cleaned with a grinder and lubricated.
- Any place where metal meets metal, like where the pads slide inside the caliper housing, should be lubricated to keep them from getting stuck.
- Again, always use dry film lubricant, except in places where the lubricant could get into rubber or plastic seals and make them leak or get stuck.
Applying Brake Lubricant
There is always road spray and salt on your brake system (if you live in a wintery climate). Brake wear makes dust because the rotors and pads wear down. As a result, the brake parts can become rusty and dirty. As soon as possible, you need to clean up your brakes.
You can use a die grinder to get rid of any rust on parts where you want to put lubricant. Grind until you get to the bare metal. Then, put a bucket or pan under the brake assembly and spray the whole thing with brake cleaner. This will carry away the brake dust and let it fall into the pan. This way, the dust won’t get into the air. People who work on old asbestos brakes should pay attention to this. Once the brake cleaner has evaporated, collect it and store it for recycling or disposal in a safe place, like a recycling bin.
If you want to use brake lubricant, it usually comes in the form of a tube or a small canister. You can use a wooden tongue depressor if you want to be more precise. It’s important to only apply a small amount where it’s needed. Overlubrication of the brakes causes lubricant to drip or spray into places where it’s not wanted, which could make the brakes less effective.