Thanks to a 2016 study, engineers at Carlson don’t just believe new brake hardware saves money and reduces noise. They know it does.
The study, in an independent automotive testing lab in Sweden, found that reusing old clips wears out new pads prematurely and leads to more noise, costing customers extra money and causing a lot of potential comebacks.
Before we talk about the study’s test results, let’s talk about shoelaces.
New shoes come with new laces because they keep the shoes on your feet the way they’re designed to. You probably don’t think about your laces unless they snap and you have to tie them together.
In the photo below, you can see new versus old shoelaces and how the old shoelace, on the right, has frayed and worn out over time.
Now, imagine buying brand-new shoes and putting old, worn laces in them. It makes no sense. Looks aside, the old laces could snap prematurely or they might not keep your new shoes on tight enough.
Well that’s what happens to your brakes when you replace your brake pads but reuse old clips.
Brake clips are the shoelaces of your brakes. When you get new brake pads but don’t get new brake hardware, you’ve just increased the chances that the new brakes won’t work the way they should.
Below is a shot of two brake pads, the one on the left obviously worn, the one on the right being new. When you get a brake job, you’re replacing old pads, like the one on the left, with new ones, like the one on the right.
And although the cost of replacing brake pads is usually hundreds of dollars, the cost of replacing old hardware to extend the life of the pads is only around $10 to $20.
Brake Clips and Brake Hardware
The study found that as brake pads wear out, so does the hardware holding them in place.
The photo above shows an example of a worn brake clip. Would you use this in your car? No. You wouldn’t.
The photo below shows a QuietGlide™ brake clip — the newest technology in brake hardware — engineered by Carlson. On one side a layer of low-friction PTFE coating reduces brake pad drag and the other side is coated with vulcanized rubber to reduce noise.
Carlson has a wide variety of brake hardware kits that can replace the OE clips in everything from passenger vehicles to commercial fleets. Each kit includes four new clips and pin boots in order to keep the new brake pads securely in place.
Lab-Tested Brake Clips
Now, let’s get back to those test results from Sweden. In order to assess how new brake hardware affects vehicle performance, the lab ran several tests. First, they wanted to see if old brake pad clips still met the manufacturer’s OEM specifications at the time of the first brake job—35,000 to 45,000 miles.
To do this, the lab looked at the 17 dimensions of a brake clip specified for a new OEM brake clip, which you can see in the illustration below.
The lab then measured brake clips on vehicles at the time of their first brake job, vehicles with between 35,000 miles and 45,000 miles of wear.
What the study found, after measuring the dimensions of the used brake clips, is that on average 16 of 17 dimensions were out of OEM specifications on all the clips tested.
In fact, 100 percent of the used clips failed to meet OEM specifications. That means that the pads no longer moved within the brake as intended, causing a drag on the rotors, premature wear, and reduced pad life. Plus, out of spec hardware can also diminish braking performance.
As the lab director noted, “The majority of dimensions are no longer within specification and, therefore, the part will not perform to design intent.”
Brake Hardware and Noise
Not replacing brake hardware also causes something customers can’t stand—squeaky brakes.
To understand the correlation between reusing old brake clips and noise, the lab study simulated more than 1,400 stops at every temperature/brake pressure combination in a 2014 sedan with 45,000 miles and a 2014 pickup truck with 35,000 miles.
Getting new brake pads and reusing old brake clips still caused the brakes to squeak.
However, using new clips virtually eliminated all noise in the sedan and lowered it 45% in the truck.
The Study’s Key Take-Away
A few extra dollars spent on new hardware extends the life of the pads and reduces or eliminates noise at the same time. Plus, replacing brake hardware along with the pads gives customers like-new braking performance and helps stop comebacks.