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#580015 - 05/10/06 04:28 AM Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
zimmerDN Offline


Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 175
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I just installed new brakes and rotors. I test drove the car for a mile or so and did a dozen quick stops. Afterwards one side of the brake was smoking.


The rotor also has signs of uneven wear. More in the middle, less on the outside.

Is this normal break in? Should I take everything out and reseat all the components?

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#580016 - 05/10/06 04:47 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
mechtech Offline


Registered: 08/11/04
Posts: 2387
Loc: Chicago area
Like new shoes for your feet, they have to wear in before they wear out.
There are substances that need to be heated and burned off in the composition of new shoes. I don't normally see smoke, however.
There is a possibility that the calipers are sticking, but everything is probably normal.
See if the smoking behaviour continues.

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#580017 - 05/10/06 05:34 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
Brett Miller Offline


Registered: 09/09/03
Posts: 2636
Loc: Arizona
Your calipers are probably sticking......

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#580018 - 05/10/06 06:27 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
zimmerDN Offline


Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 175
Loc: Ontario, Canada
How do you check to see if the calipers are sticking? What do you do if they are sticking?

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#580019 - 05/10/06 06:43 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
Papa Bear Offline


Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 6049
Loc: Leamington, ON, Canada ..... r...
Zim, my man....perhaps it's time to ask a friend or neighbor for a little help (maybe a mechanic wouldn't hurt either) before this gets out of hand. It may end up costing you a grand to save a hundred !!
Good luck...where are you in ON ??
P.B.

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#580020 - 05/10/06 07:08 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
Dark Jedi Offline


Registered: 09/20/05
Posts: 871
Loc: virginia
when I did my wifes brakes and rotors on her malibu. they smoked a lil. so maybe you had a lil oil still on the rotor and was burning off. if your caliper was sticking then the car would pull to that side.

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#580021 - 05/10/06 07:43 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
Chris Meutsch Offline


Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 1957
Loc: Cincinnati
All brakes smoke after initial hot break in. Watch it and if it continues to smoke after about 20 miles of normal driving on the STREET, have it checked out. But my money's on one side having a bit more oil on the rotors and the other one is already burned off.

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#580022 - 05/10/06 08:04 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
LT4 Vette Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12254
Loc: USA
There is no need to do panic stops after you install new brake pads or rotors.

The first 200 miles take it easy, you want to break in the pads nice and easy.

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#580023 - 05/10/06 04:32 PM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
cousincletus Offline


Registered: 09/25/02
Posts: 2513
Loc: Richmond, VA
Maybe I just never noticed, but I never had new brakes smoke at all. You may need new rubber flexible hoses that run from the caliper to the hard line. Did you turn or replace the rotors? What year/model is the car? FWIW I've had better luck with the cheapie semi-metallic pads than the expensive ones, but they will wear a little faster and will make more brake dust. I never had any problems with the cheap pads cutting into the rotors. Agree w/LT4 on the break-in procedure.

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#580024 - 05/10/06 04:33 PM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
BlownF150 Offline


Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 147
Loc: Louisiana
Yeah, take it easy on the new brakes for a little while. Few short, easy stops first to set the pads in the calipers then a few longer stops (or slows) from a higher speed to help the pads set to the rotors. Also makes it so the rotors heat cycle evenly and not warp. I put a set of Cobra brakes on my bother's 1995 GT and I made it perfectly clear to him that he not go try an emergency stop to test them... [No no] Should only smoke from oil, brake cleaner, or brake fluid residue and it should last more than a few good stops.

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#580025 - 05/10/06 11:15 PM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
acewiza Offline


Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 490
Loc: Colorado
I honestly cannot think of one single reason why smoke coming from a vehicle is ever a good thing, except for the diesel exhaust from a turned up truck, or maybe a quadruple-dose ATF-MMO fogging a-la Gary.

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#580026 - 05/11/06 03:37 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
wantin150 Offline


Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 1899
Loc: Columbia, SC
If your caliper(s) are stuck, you will severely overheat the pad which may turn a blue color. You will need to have someone apply the brake while you have the wheel off(appropriate safety procedures in place of course). If the pad fails to retract from the rotor, the caliper is sticking.

DO NOT completely stop the car when bedding in pads. Each brand has a bed in procedure which is usually a series of, say, 30-5 mph slows repeated 5-10 times. Then, a couple of 60-30 mph slows. If you stop with really hot pads on the rotors, you can damage the rotor. A little smoke or smell is normal. If your smoking like a steam engine going up a mountain, then, no, that's not normal.

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#580027 - 05/11/06 06:37 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
zimmerDN Offline


Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 175
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Well I drove the car today around the block twice without using the brake at all (maybe twice to slow down enough to turn). After stopping I put my hand on the rotor and it felt just very slightly warm.


So I would think the pads are not sticking because otherwise the rotors would be very hot. However relatively speaking the front rotors were warmer than the back ones (the back ones were still cold after the drive).


I haven't spotted any further smoking so maybe the pads have finally set in and all the initial oil/residue has burned off.

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#580028 - 05/17/06 06:40 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
turbochem Offline


Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 436
Loc: PHX
Rotors come with a coat of oil on them. Did you clean it off with brake cleaner?

If not, the smoke could just be from burning the oil off.....

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#580029 - 05/17/06 07:15 AM Re: Is it normal for new brakes to smoke?
zimmerDN Offline


Registered: 02/10/06
Posts: 175
Loc: Ontario, Canada
No I didn't clean the oil off so yes the smoke could be from the oil itself.

Thank you for all the replies, I think my problem has been solved.

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