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Discussion Starter #1
Off and on over the last year I've seen reports of very early brake wear such as having to replace the front pads as early as 9k miles, so it was with no small amount of trepidation
that I planned on checking mine next time I did a tire rotation.

Well, my van has just a little bit less than 16k on it and I pulled the wheels today, and much to my amazement the pads look virtually new! I didn't bother to look at the inside pads but the outer ones were just fine.

All of this leads to the question, "Why?". I don't drive at all conservatively. I'm always "pushing it" and with the extra weight of the Ody and the high gearing it seems like I'm always having to use more brakes than I'd like. So, I expected to see a fair amount of wear.

The only thing I can think of that may make the difference is that I use the parking brake virtually all of the time. This is an old habit recommended by our Toyota mechanics who told us that the self-adjusters on the rear drum brakes were just not efficient enough to keep up with the wear, but would adjust just fine if the parking brake was used.

So here's the question: Do you who've had early wear use your parking brake? Some? Never? Always? Do those of you who are getting longer life from your pads use it? It would be interesting to see if this has any correlation with the early wear.



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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes on FotoTime.
 

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Chuck,

I am not sure about the parking brake issue but driving style contributes to brake life.

Believe it or not in most cases a more aggressive driver will have longer pad life.
An aggressive driver normally late brakes, brakes hard and comes to a quicker stop.

More conservative drivers start braking early and stay on the brake and gradually come to a stop. This generates more heat in the pads/rotors, thus contributes to brake wear. Also they have a higher occurrence of brake noise. Now I am not saying this driving style is bad, it just affects parts differently.

I wouldn't use the parking brake to slow you down. The ABS will not work for the rear wheels if the parking brake has locked them up. In addition certain circumstances driving with the parking brake activated will actually cause the ABS light to come on and put a code in the computer.

My 0.02 cents!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by hondaf1:
Chuck,

I am not sure about the parking brake issue but driving style contributes to brake life.

Believe it or not in most cases a more aggressive driver will have longer pad life.
An aggressive driver normally late brakes, brakes hard and comes to a quicker stop.

More conservative drivers start braking early and stay on the brake and gradually come to a stop. This generates more heat in the pads/rotors, thus contributes to brake wear. Also they have a higher occurrence of brake noise. Now I am not saying this driving style is bad, it just affects parts differently.

I wouldn't use the parking brake to slow you down. The ABS will not work for the rear wheels if the parking brake has locked them up. In addition certain circumstances driving with the parking brake activated will actually cause the ABS light to come on and put a code in the computer.

My 0.02 cents!
</font>
I didn't mean that I use the parking brake to slow down. That's a no-no (except for doing donuts and controlled skids in the snow
). But I do religiously use it when parked.

Interesting point about the harder braking, though.



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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes on FotoTime.
 

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"More conservative drivers start braking early and stay on the brake and gradually come to a stop. This generates more heat in the pads/rotors, thus contributes to brake wear. "

Isn't this sort of like the question of "who gets more wet, a person running through rain or someone who walks through it?" I agree with the conservative driver dragging on the brakes, but doesn't slamming on the brakes also generate a lot of heat faster? On one hand you're trying to decrease your rotational velocity in a shorter amount of time and the other, the pads don't warm up as much. Heat does affect the coefficient of friction though...

Chuck,

Yeah, my dad also brakes with the hand brake (once in awhile) in our old Civic, not sure if it helped with pad life, but it does give the overall braking system a more positive feel.
 

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I do not buy the theory that hard, late brakers have longer pad life. It is a lot like the "running in the rain" story. You have a certain amount of energy to disappate, in order to slow down from a given speed, so a more gradual stop will generate the same amount of calories, so to speak, and the slower rise in temperature should be easier on the components, especially the rotors. I always brake early and easy, if I can, and I will put my brake wear up against anyone's. I am one of the few folks I know of whose front pads last longer than the rear shoes. I, too, wonder at the exceptionally short brake life some folks report and I have to think they are operating under some extreme circumstances, such as a lot of city traffic. Some places have 50 mph surface streets and that stuff uses much more brake material than the 25 mph streets in my area, especially if one is unlucky enough to hit red lights often. Of course, not using the engine braking on steep hills is very detrimental, too.

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'M NOT ADVOCATING USING THE PARKING BRAKE FOR STOPPING! Just for parking.

The point I was trying to make is that if it's true that the rear brakes stay better adjusted with the frequent actuatation of the parking brake (the rear self-adjusters work when the rear shoes are moved through their travel), then they will take all of their share of stopping the van.

If the rear brakes are allowed to wear without being properly adjusted to account for it, they will share less and less of the load and the job of stopping will be left totally up to the front brakes, causing much accelerated wear.

What I'm theorizing is that maybe these cases of very early wear are because of not using the parking brake when parked, therefore letting the rears get further and further out of adjustment.

I was hoping for confirmation or refutation from folks who've gone through their pads very quickly because I find it very hard to believe that variations in driving style alone can account for the difference between having a set of pads last 40+k (on an automatic) and wearing them out in 7-9k miles.

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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes on FotoTime.

[This message has been edited by ckonarske (edited 10-17-2001).]
 

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For me, my pad life is usually very good, and I use my parking brake religiously. Driving is mixed hwy and cty. I tend to replace pads around every 30K miles, which is early enough for me to have plenty of pad left so as not to endanger having the indicators scrape at all. I hardly ever turn rotors either, thus maximizing rotor life....

There may be something to your point Chuck, let's see what others have to say...
-SJ

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ckonarske:
I was hoping for confirmation or refutation from folks who've gone through their pads very quickly because I find it very hard to believe that variations in driving style alone can account for the difference between having a set of pads last 40+k (on an automatic) and wearing them out in 7-9k miles.

</font>
I know what you mean, Chuck! I am always amazed when people say they have replaced their front pads in 10k miles or so. I put on a set of Axxis MetalMaster pads on my Accord at 45k miles and still had miles on my stock pads! I definitely don't "baby" the car, but I don't abuse it either. I know some cars tend to use up front pads quicker than others but still...


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Discussion Starter #9
Let me rephrase the statements and questions a bit:

I think we're all aware of the difference driving conditions and style can make in the life of a set of brakes on a car, but the variation between the longest lasting and shortest lasting sets of brakes seems to be something that transcends variations in driving style.

I also know that parking brake usage isn't as universal with modern cars (and drivers) as it used to be. I've been told that consistent use of the parking brake (for its intended purpose
) will keep the rear drum brakes adjusted better than if you didn't use it.

It's only common sense that if you're trying to stop a 4500# vehicle on only the two front brakes, you are probably gonna wear out those brakes pretty quick.

So, I'm trying to find out from folks who've had early wear and replacements of their pads if they do or don't use their parking brakes. If you've had early wear, do you think this is a contributing factor?

I'm just trying to determine if the early wear is preventable by using the parking brake regularly. Thanx.

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Chuck
Click here for Ody pics, mods and fixes on FotoTime.

[This message has been edited by ckonarske (edited 10-18-2001).]
 

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Front brake pads tend to last us about 40k-50k on our two Volvos. Rears even longer.

My wife brakes later and harder than I do and I consider myself to be on the brakes earlier and longer. The wife's front pads don't last as long as mine.

We both use the emergency brake all the time when parked. Can't say that has an effect on anything.

I replaced the rear rotors on the 82 Volvo middle of last year because they were warping. That has been the ONLY rotor service for either car.

hondaf1...nice to see another HB resident in the club!
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02 RP EX-L on the way
82 Volvo w/300k - current ride
86 Volvo Wgn w/153k - wife's current ride
 

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Discussion Starter #11
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jarcher:
Front brake pads tend to last us about 40k-50k on our two Volvos. Rears even longer.

My wife brakes later and harder than I do and I consider myself to be on the brakes earlier and longer. The wife's front pads don't last as long as mine.

We both use the emergency brake all the time when parked. Can't say that has an effect on anything.


</font>
Thanx for the reply.

I probably should have pointed out that my question most likely applies only to disc/drum systems, not to disk/disk systems, since rear disks are always self adjusting if they're working properly. We're only up talking about three or four cars so far, but your response at least points to the same conclusion, that when the rear brakes are adjusted properly and share the load with the fronts, the wear is within normal limits, no matter what the driving style.




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Chuck
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So Chuck,

Can I assume that for your first set of brake pads that the parking brakes weren't used every time (when parked)?
As a general rule we always use the parking brake (even on flat grounds) for safety reasons, and yes the pulling/ pushing on the brake lever adjusts the drum brakes.
Brakes on our cars last between 35K to 50K for the fronts.

P.S. It's amazing what you can do with that hand brake while moving!

[This message has been edited by DTKWOK (edited 10-18-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #13
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DTKWOK:
So Chuck,

Can I assume that for your first set of brake pads that the parking brakes weren't used every time (when parked)?
As a general rule we always use the parking brake (even on flat grounds) for safety reasons, and yes the pulling/ pushing on the brake lever adjusts the drum brakes.
Brakes on our cars last between 35K to 50K for the fronts.

P.S. It's amazing what you can do with that hand brake while moving!

[This message has been edited by DTKWOK (edited 10-18-2001).]
</font>
My pads are original, and they still look like new. As I stated in my first post, I checked them at 16k and expected a lot of wear because of others' reports of early replacement, but there was very little wear. This disparity is why I'm asking the question.

I've never had a set of brakes wear out as early as have been reported. I was theorizing that adjustment of the rear drums by the frequent use of the parking brake was the deciding factor.



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Chuck
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OK, Chuck. I'm going to throw a wrench in your theory. The front pads on my 2000 LX were down to 15% in 19K miles. I use the parking brake religiously. However, there are two big hills I go down coming into work where I have to ride the brakes. I think this has a lot to do with the excessive wear.

BTW, why the heck do you slow down the car with your parking brake?
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by carln:
OK, Chuck. I'm going to throw a wrench in your theory. The front pads on my 2000 LX were down to 15% in 19K miles. I use the parking brake religiously. However, there are two big hills I go down coming into work where I have to ride the brakes. I think this has a lot to do with the excessive wear.

BTW, why the heck do you slow down the car with your parking brake?
</font>
There are two answers to the above question: First, my dad got the idea from a mechanic friend that a moving car helps with the drum re-energizing (more so) than one not moving (haven't figured that one out). Second, when you want to send your car into a drift (i.e. racing), you use your hand brake to lock your rear tires so that your car spins about the front tires and you get yaw motion. (tried it in my friend's Miata, kind of fun, but hard on the tires!)
 

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Jerry O has it right. It's going to take the same amount of energy to stop the vehicle no matter which method you use. If you apply the brakes hard, you will be dissipating the energy in a shorter time period, resulting in higher temps during that period. In addition, slower braking will let rolling resistance and wind resistance help slow the vehicle. The one place I can think of where heavy on-off application will help is in descending steep grades, as energy is being continually added by the grade. This allows the brakes to cool between applications to prevent fade. All Commercial drivers manuals I have seen tell you when descending a grade to apply the brakes firmly until the vehicle decreases to about 5 mph less than your "safe" speed, then release the brakes and repeat the process when the safe speed is reached. Of course, you should also use the engine and tranny to assist the brakes.

The problem with the Ody is that it doen't seem to have much engine braking, even if you drop the gears a couple of notches.

Regards
AL
 

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...The problem with the Ody is that it doen't seem to have much engine braking, even if you drop the gears a couple of notches...

In fact, most of the passenger torque converter type automatic transmissions do not lock torque converter during deceleration.

Downshifting will definitely put more pressure on the torque converter (more heat) and more revs for the engine (more fuel).

..Believe it or not in most cases a more aggressive driver will have longer pad life.
An aggressive driver normally late brakes, brakes hard and comes to a quicker stop..

I don't have definite result on brake wear in agressive vs. conservative driving. However, agressive style does warp/glaze rotor/drum and boil brake fluid quicker. Not to mention more wear on the master/slave cylinders and tires.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DTKWOK:
There are two answers to the above question: First, my dad got the idea from a mechanic friend that a moving car helps with the drum re-energizing (more so) than one not moving (haven't figured that one out). Second, when you want to send your car into a drift (i.e. racing), you use your hand brake to lock your rear tires so that your car spins about the front tires and you get yaw motion. (tried it in my friend's Miata, kind of fun, but hard on the tires!)</font>
Agreed. I've done this too. I was really ribbing Chuck and just trying to get a rise out of him since some thought he actually slowed down the van with the parking brake. Sarcasm can be difficult to detect in email.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lelandstanford:
...The problem with the Ody is that it doen't seem to have much engine braking, even if you drop the gears a couple of notches...

In fact, most of the passenger torque converter type automatic transmissions do not lock torque converter during deceleration.

From Al- I agree, but not much braking increase is felt with engine rev increase in the Ody.

Downshifting will definitely put more pressure on the torque converter (more heat) and more revs for the engine (more fuel).

From Al: How more fuel? Your foot should be off the gas pedal and the computer should stop fuel flow when the engine exceeds idle speed, unlike a carbureted engine with only a throttle position stop.

..Believe it or not in most cases a more aggressive driver will have longer pad life.
An aggressive driver normally late brakes, brakes hard and comes to a quicker stop..

From Al: I don't believe it. My personal experience has proved otherwise (to me). The same amount of energy still has to be dissipated thru thr brakes to stop the vehicle.

I don't have definite result on brake wear in agressive vs. conservative driving. However, agressive style does warp/glaze rotor/drum and boil brake fluid quicker. Not to mention more wear on the master/slave cylinders and tires.
</font>
Al:I agree, but that in itself oughta tell you that the expending the same amount of energy in a short period is hard on the brakes.

Al

[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 10-19-2001).]

[This message has been edited by albaby (edited 10-19-2001).]
 

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The comment re descending hills is well taken. Hills, in general, are very hard on brakes and using the gears as much as possible is really the answer, since, once the brakes overheat and fade, it is almost impossible for them to again become functional on that hill. The Odyssey will do pretty well, if you reach down far enough in the "gearbag".....

Jerry O.

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2001 Odyssey GG LX
 
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