After installing new pads, test the brake system at low speeds to determine if the vehicle is safe to operate. The following procedures should be conducted on a race track or other safe location where acceleration and rapid deceleration can be done safely. Make sure nobody is behind you before decelerating.
New pads must be deliberately brought up to temperature through a series of controlled cycles and then slowly cooled. If the pads are put into hard service right from the start, damage from fractures or accelerated deterioration can occur due to extreme temperature variations between the surface and the body of the pad.
- If your race car is equipped with brake cooling ducts, blocking them will allow the pads and rotors to warm up quicker and speed up the bedding process.
Temperature-indicating strips on the calipers can provide valuable data regarding observed temperatures during the bedding process and subsequent on-track sessions. This information can be highly beneficial when evaluating pad compounds and cooling efficiencies.
- Proceed with a series of 8-10 hard decelerations from 55-65 MPH down to 25 MPH while allowing a proportionate release and heat-sinking interval between each stop (20-30 seconds). The pads should now be providing positive and consistent response.
- If any amount of brake fade is observed during the bed-in cycle, immediately begin the cool down cycle.
- Cool Down: drive at a moderate cruising speed, with the least amount of brake contact possible, until most of the heat has dissipated from the brakes. Avoid sitting stopped with the brake pedal depressed and do not apply the parking brake. Every few minutes roll the car forward or backward enough to exchange the rotor area from behind the hot pads. Allow the brakes to cool to ambient air temperature.
POST-BEDDING INSPECTION After the bedding cycle, the rotors should exhibit a uniformly burnished finish across the entire contact face. Any surface irregularities that appear as smearing or splotching on the rotor faces can be an indication that the brakes were brought up to temperature too quickly during the bedding cycle. If the smear doesn’t blend away after the next run-in cycle, or if chatter under braking results, sanding or resurfacing the rotors will be required to restore a uniform surface for pad contact.
PRE-RACE WARM UP Always make every effort to get heat into the brakes prior to each event. Use an on-and-off the pedal practice to warm the brakes during the trip to the staging zone, during parade laps before the flag drops, and every other opportunity in an effort to build heat in the pads and rotors. This will help to ensure best consistency, performance, and durability from your brakes.
NOTE: NEVER allow the contact surfaces of the pads or rotors to be contaminated with brake fluid. Always use a
catch bottle with a hose to prevent fluid spill during all brake bleeding procedures.