Do New Brakes Smell And Smoke?

Do New Brakes Smell And Smoke?

When it comes to maintaining automobiles, routine maintenance is required, and one component of that upkeep is the replacement of brakes on occasion. If you have just completed the installation of new brakes, you may have detected an unpleasant odor and maybe even caught a glimpse of smoke.

Are new brakes odorous and do they smoke? The stench and smoke that come from brand-new brakes are very natural. There is a word for the stench and smoke that is so prevalent that it has a name: polymerization. Breaking in your new brakes is essentially a curing procedure that goes through this process. During the curing process, gases are produced, which are responsible for the smoke and smell that are produced.

Because it is not a major concern if your new brakes emit a smell and smoke, let’s take a more in-depth look at the specific factors that are responsible for the smell and smoke that brakes emit.

After changing the brakes, is it normal to smell like something is burning?

When you change your brakes, if you aren’t aware that the burning smell is a common part of the process of breaking in new brakes, it might be a little bit concerning. It is quite probable that you will smell some burning and/or see some smoke, regardless of whether you put the brakes on yourself or had a professional do it. Polymerization is the term that describes this process.

What exactly is the process of polymerization?

The term “polymerization” is rather extensive, yet its meaning is not particularly complicated. In the first few times that you use the brakes, there is a process that takes place that curing occurs. The brake pads come into contact with the rotors, which causes this phenomenon. This results in friction, which in turn creates a significant amount of heat. The curing process begins when the brake pads come into contact with the rotors.

The curing process results in the formation of gasses, which are responsible for the odor and smoke that you are most likely seeing via your rearview mirror. There is a possibility that you are questioning why the makers do not just cure the brakes before installation to eliminate the smell and smoke involved.

Certain technicians undertake the procedure of curing brake pads before their sale. The brake pads are “scorched” by the manufacturer in these particular instances.

While the brake pads are being subjected to intense heat and pressure for a short period, a layer of friction is being forced onto the first one to two millimeters of the brake. If manufacturers do this, you will have to spend less time breaking in your new pads than you would otherwise.

The reason why some manufacturers do not cure the brakes first is that the brake pads should be broken in by the rotors that will be installed on the vehicle that is first intended to be used. It is possible to achieve the following by doing this:

  • A better pedal feel, less screeching from the brakes,
  • Less dust from the brakes, and
  • A longer lifespan for your brake pads
  • Rotors are all benefits of this product.

The act of bedding in or burnishing your brakes makes it possible to achieve this level of curing. Essentially, this involves applying the brakes on your vehicle. Permit me to walk you through this procedure.

Brakes that are a Bed-in

As was already noted, certain manufacturers treat brake pads before installation. Bedding in is not necessary in these particular circumstances. However, in the majority of situations, you will be required to bed in or break in your brakes.

When you bed in your brakes, you accomplish the following:

  • It heals the material that causes friction on the brakes.
  • It does this by spreading an even layer of material from the brake pad onto the rotor, which is known as the transfer layer.
  • It makes the surface of the rotor more smooth.

There is a wide variety of brake pads available, and the majority of them call for a bedding-in procedure that is unique to the brake pad maker. You will always be able to locate this information in the documents provided by the manufacturer.

Because doing so guarantees that the transfer layer is uniform, it is of the utmost importance to adhere to the instructions with as much precision as possible. If the layer is not even, you can have the following issues:

  • The brake pedal and the steering wheel are both causing vibrations.
  • Reduced effectiveness of the brakes
  • Discomfort regarding driving

Instructions on How to Bed In Brakes Step-by-Step

There is a significant amount of acceleration and rapid deceleration that is required to bed in your brakes. To ensure that you can carry out the procedures in the manner that is specified, it is recommended that you carry out this activity early in the morning at a location that does not see a great deal of traffic. Keep in mind that you should always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, but here is an example of how the bedding-in procedure may look:

  1. Start the vehicle at a speed of sixty miles per hour (MPH), then use the brakes a couple of times. This not only gets your brakes up to their usual working temperature but also prepares the pads and rotors for the considerable heat that you will create in the subsequent procedures.
    To slow down from sixty miles per hour to ten miles per hour, use the brakes effectively. It is important to keep in mind that you are not entirely stopping, but you should apply the brakes reasonably strongly, but not so much that you activate the anti-lock braking system or the wheel lock mechanism.
  • Immediately after reaching 10 miles per hour, you should press the brakes once again and then speed up to 60 miles per hour.
  • It is important to repeat this cycle eight to ten times without ever stopping fully. Your brakes will not function properly if you come to a full stop since this will cause an excessive amount of brake pad material to accumulate on the rotors.
  • After you have completed your last cycle, you should speed up and drive about for a while, being sure to use your brakes as little as possible so that they can cool down.
  • If you have effectively bedded in your brakes, you should observe a film that is light gray and has a faint blue tinge on your rotor. The film is the substance that is put onto the rotor that does the braking. If the rotor has achieved the proper break-in temperature, then the blue tinge indicates that it has attained that temperature.

You may need to do a second bed-in cycle if you have replaced your brake pads but your rotors are still in poor condition. When beginning a second cycle, it is essential to wait until the brakes have cooled down before continuing.

Other Factors That Contribute to the Smell and Smoke When Using New Brakes

There are a few more factors that might be contributing to the smell or smoke coming from your brand-new brakes. Additionally, the following are some additional possibilities:

  • Rust inhibitors used for newly manufactured rotors
  • Unmovable caliper
  • Making use of the brakes

First, let’s take a look at each of these problems to see which one could be the reason for the stench and smoke that you are experiencing.

Rust inhibitors apply to newly manufactured rotors.

It is common practice to apply a rust inhibitor coating to newly fitted rotors; thus, if you have installed new pads and rotors, this might be the cause of it. In the first few times that you apply the brakes, the rust inhibitor will disappear. This can result in smoke, which may also smell.

Before you install your new rotors, take the time to remove the coating by washing them with soap and water. This is the most straightforward method for avoiding this problem. There is also the option of removing the coating by simply using brake cleaner.

Not Moving Caliper

There is a possibility that your brakes are smoking because of a jammed caliper. However, it is important to investigate this possibility in the very unlikely event that it is the source of the problem. In general, this only occurs with older brakes.

Please allow me to begin by describing the function of a caliper. If your vehicle is equipped with disc brakes, the rotors are connected to the wheels of your vehicle. When a caliper presses on the rotor, it generates friction, which in turn causes the wheel to move more slowly.

A caliper may get stuck due to the presence of dirt or rust. If your brake caliper is blocked, your brake pad will overheat to a significant degree, which can result in smoke.

For example, if one side of your brakes is worn much more than the other side, this is a solid indication that you have a jammed caliper. Smoke is another indication. Additionally, you have the option of removing the wheel and having someone else use the brakes while you observe the brake pad. You most likely have a jammed caliper if the pad does not retract from the rotor when you try to retract it.

Making Use of the Brakes

When you ride the brakes, you may notice a smell of burned rubber, regardless of how old or fresh your brakes are. It is possible that you were driving down a slope that was steep and that you maintained your foot on the brake for most of the time. In the course of this operation, the friction that is building up will produce a stench of burning.

Because you run the risk of causing damage to your brakes if they continue to heat up in the same location on the rotor, you will want to make sure that you cool down your brakes as fast as possible if this occurs.

While you are driving or coasting, you should aim to avoid using your brakes for at least five minutes. This will let your brakes cool down. If there is traffic in the area, this is not always feasible; thus, you will have to try your best to go through it. It should come as no surprise that the brakes are among the most essential components of your car. You would not want to be without them, therefore if none of the options listed above seem to be the reason for the smell and smoke that are coming from your new brakes, you need to get them checked thoroughly. It is unquestionably preferable to spend a little bit of money and securely go along the road.

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