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Brake Repair Terminology

Jargon is only irritating when you don’t know what it means. It’s dropped into conversations so causally that we’re sucked into the fog. Well, this page is dedicated to explaining in plain English common brake repair terminology – you know, the type of words a mechanic might use when describing brake repairs.

There aren’t a ton of them, and here they are:


What’s Brake Bleeding?

Brake bleeding refers to the process of purging or removing trapped air inside the hydraulic brake system.

The bleeding process entails opening the hydraulic lines at each of the four brakes in turn and allowing the fluid to bleed out until the trapped air is removed.

The brake fluid system must be topped up during the bleed process with the correct brake fluid type. You can check out the whole brake bleed process right here.


What’s Burnishing Pads?

Burnishing brake pads, also known as bedding in the brakes, refers to the process of mating the friction surface of the pads with the friction surface of the brake rotors.

While both pad and rotor friction surfaces are relatively flat, they aren’t perfectly flat, and new brake pads won’t perform well until they conform to the brake rotors’ contours.

The burnishing process requires several low-speed brake applications; you can check out the process here – Bed in brakes.


What’s Brake Pad Glazing?

Brake pad glazing refers to the hardening of the brake pad’s friction surface, which causes the surface to shine hence the term glazing.

Glazed pads are associated with excessive hard braking, heavy braking causes the brake pad friction material to overheat, and as it cools, it hardens and takes on a shiny or glazed look. Usual root causes of pad glazing include; aggressive driving style, dragging brake caliper, and excessive trailer weight. The best fix for glazing is brake pad replacement, and you can check out that process right here – Brake pad replacement.


What’s Perished Brake Hoses?

Perished brake hoses refer to the cracking caused by aging of the rubber flexi brake hoses. The flexi hoses are an important component of a vehicle’s hydraulic brake system.

Brake hoses should be changed every seven years. You can check out the process of changing flexi hoses right here //.


What’s Brake Pedal Pulsing?

Brake pulsing refers to the pulsing movement or sensation felt in the brake pedal when applying the brakes.

The pulsing is caused by a warping or buckling of the brake rotor, which commonly occurs when the rotors themselves become worn.

The only fix is to replace the brake rotors, and you can check out here – How to replace brake rotors.


What are Warped Rotors?

Warped rotors refer to the buckling of the brake rotors. Rotors turn with the road wheel, and when the fixed brake pads make contact with the rotor, it slows the wheel but also causes heat.

Although rotors are made from steel and designed to handle the heat, they do wear out and become thin, which means they are much less capable of handling heat and commonly buckle. You can check out the brake rotor replacement process here.


What’s Brake Fluid Flush?

Brake flush refers to the changing of the vehicle’s hydraulic brake fluid. Unlike changing other fluids, the brake fluid system isn’t drained. Instead, new fluid is pushed through the system, forcing or flushing the old fluid out.

A brake fluid flush is recommended every three years; old brake fluid hurts brake system performance and may also cause internal brake system corrosion. You can check out what the brake flush process looks like here.


What’s Brake Dust?

Brake dust refers to the black dust that sticks primarily to the front wheels. The dust consists of metal and resin particles.

The brake dust is created when the friction portion of the brake pads makes contact with the spinning rotors.

While organic and ceramic brake pads are available, most pads consist of hard-wearing compounds of steel, copper, and graphite, and if these dust particles aren’t removed, they can corrode and cause wheel staining.

A special brake dust cleaner is available for stubborn brake-stained wheels, and you can check it out here on the Car cleaning materials page.

Useful links:

Brake repair resources page