By E.S. MacLean — April, 2018

One night at a family dinner when I was young, my dad told me I was a kid who looked at both sides of a nickel before spending it. I didn’t respond. He was right: I was frugal then and I still am today. But if I could rewind the clock and go back to that dinner, I’d tell him what I’ve learned since then — that being really frugal is largely about not being foolish.

Skipping doctor’s visits to save on co-pays and winding up in the ER? Foolish. Skipping oil changes to save a few bucks and ending up with engine trouble? Foolish. Driving twenty miles to save five cents per gallon on gas? Just silly.

In the video below, Andrew Markel talks about another foolish thing: getting a brake job without replacing all the worn out parts.

What happens when you get a partial brake job, a so-called pad slap? I’ll let Markel describe it to you…

In the video, Markel cites statistics from the Global Brake Safety Council, which examined 3,200 used pads. Researchers found that in 67% of cases, more than 50% of friction life remained in the pads.

How did this happen? Chances are only one of the two calipers or pads in the pair seized up but because one pad wore out before the other, both pads had to be replaced. Markel says some leading automotive experts attribute the cause for this problem to using old hardware with new pads.

“If the hardware isn’t replaced when the new brake pad is installed,” Markell says, “you’re compromising the entire brake job.”

Michelin Drive Belt Ad

The spring tension in the hardware itself (that holds the brake pad in the caliper bracket) is no longer properly set to the OEM specifications, Markell says. This means the new brake pad can become seized in the caliper bracket — or unnecessarily move — causing noise.

For consumers, this means the entire brake job has to be redone before it should be, and they aren’t getting their money’s worth. This can lead to frustration on the consumer’s part because he or she has got to make an extra, unwelcome trip to the shop and a bad day for the installer since he’s dealing with an upset customer.

The lesson? Being frugal is fine. Just don’t be foolish and end up paying more down the road. Pun intended.

Be wise: replace the hardware with every brake job.