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Old 17th May 2010, 19:31   #1
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Default How to say if my front brakes are binding?

I did the first tyre rotation/WA/WB at MSM,Chennai yesterday. After the wheels had been refitted and before the car was taken off the ramp, I casually rotated all the four wheels. The rear wheels rotated easily, but there was resistance in the front wheels. Especially the left front wheel had more resistance than the right one. I wondered if the brake was binding, but the SA told me it will be so as the front wheels are connected to the drive, and the left /right difference was due to the differential.

But the doubt was at the back of my mind and I touched the front wheels after coming home. They were quite hot! I had driven about 15 KM in the blistering afternoon heat, and thought that could be the reason. So checked them again today morning after reaching office, and also in the evening after reaching home. They were again distinctly very very warm. The distance driven was about 12 KM each way.

I used to check all four wheels occasionally, and the front wheels will sure enough be warmer than the rear ones, but now I feel they are very warm, I would even say hot. And the left one seems a bit warmer than the right.

There is no pulling after the alignment as well. If I take my hands off the steering, the car goes straight for some distance before moving gradually to the left or right, as usual. And I don't think they would have adjusted the brakes during the alignment and am confused! The next plan of action is to touch the wheels of a couple of other cars at the office tomorrow morning and compare!

I would be most grateful for any comments/suggestions as we are planning a highway trip next week.

Last edited by Gansan : 17th May 2010 at 19:34.
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Old 18th May 2010, 21:42   #2
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BUMP!

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Old 18th May 2010, 22:13   #3
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It is quite possible for the front wheels to have some resistance as they are driven. It is the same on my Ford Ikon. The wheels on my Ford get extremely hot to the point that I can't even think of touching them after a 20km drive but there is no binding.

The only way to check is push the car. It should move easily. If the brakes are binding you will obviously notice the extra effort needed to push the car.

Also, try a rolling stop.
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Old 18th May 2010, 22:33   #4
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Another way of checking them for binding is to simply jack up the respective front side and see if the wheel rotates freely !
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Old 18th May 2010, 23:18   #5
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Drums do binds, that is common but i have not seen disc binding.

BTW you have to jack up both the wheels.

Wheel heating is normal. It heats even more if its a tube type.
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Old 18th May 2010, 23:22   #6
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Some resistance will be there from the front wheels. Jack up with the tyre and give it a good tug to rotate, if the wheels turns relatively free its fine. But if they stop abrupt you might want to do a clean up and greasing of caliper pins.
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Old 18th May 2010, 23:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
They were quite hot!
They were again distinctly very very warm.
If you can touch the wheel without a burn on your fingertip / palm, the brakes are not binding. And if you don't smell anything (like burnt oil/grease or burnt brake pad), your brakes are doing fine. Also, a binding front brake pad will leave a lot of brake dust as a coating on your rims. Some heat is acceptable when driving in the city, due to constant use of brakes (but not enough to burn you).

Drive the car to @20-30 km/h and coast to a stop on neutral. If the car stops with a little jerk, you've got brake binding - otherwise not.

In the extremely rare instance that a disc brake caliper will bind, the likely causes are (1) jammed /rusted caliper pin; (2) jammed / rusted wheel cylinder. You haven't had occasion to drive the car in deep water upto the hubs, have you?
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Old 19th May 2010, 06:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmohan View Post
The only way to check is push the car.
Thanks. I normally can push the car backwards a little by sitting in the driver's seat and extending my right leg out if it is level ground. Will try that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
Another way of checking them for binding is to simply jack up the respective front side and see if the wheel rotates freely !
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Some resistance will be there from the front wheels. Jack up with the tyre and give it a good tug to rotate, if the wheels turns relatively free its fine. But if they stop abrupt you might want to do a clean up and greasing of caliper pins.
I had already tried that when the car was still on the lift at the workshop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
Wheel heating is normal. It heats even more if its a tube type.
My tyres are tube type only (MRF ZVTS).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
If you can touch the wheel without a burn on your fingertip / palm, the brakes are not binding. And if you don't smell anything (like burnt oil/grease or burnt brake pad), your brakes are doing fine. Also, a binding front brake pad will leave a lot of brake dust as a coating on your rims. Some heat is acceptable when driving in the city, due to constant use of brakes (but not enough to burn you).

Drive the car to @20-30 km/h and coast to a stop on neutral. If the car stops with a little jerk, you've got brake binding - otherwise not.

In the extremely rare instance that a disc brake caliper will bind, the likely causes are (1) jammed /rusted caliper pin; (2) jammed / rusted wheel cylinder. You haven't had occasion to drive the car in deep water upto the hubs, have you?
No, it is not hot enough to burn my palm, and I don't smell anything either. And I have not driven through deep water, but wash the wheels by pouring water on them once a week. But I did notice rust on the front hubs-the back ones were clean. The SA told me it was common as the rear ones were painted and front ones were not.

Thanks everyone. I will first perform a push test from the driver's seat and a coasting stop. Then feel the wheels of a couple of friend's cars at the office as soon as they come in, and then decide.

BTW there is no chance of the brakes being disturbed during wheel alignment/balancing, is there?

Last edited by Gansan : 19th May 2010 at 07:03.
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Old 19th May 2010, 09:12   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
I did notice rust on the front hubs...

BTW there is no chance of the brakes being disturbed during wheel alignment/balancing, is there?
Rust on the front discs is fine. If you've driven through water, you'll get rust in invisible places.

WA/WB has no effect at all on brakes or braking.
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Old 19th May 2010, 10:34   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
I had already tried that when the car was still on the lift at the workshop.
And what? Your reply is as incomplete as it can be
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Old 19th May 2010, 12:22   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
And what? Your reply is as incomplete as it can be
When I gave a push to the front wheels the same way I did with the back ones, there was resistance unlike the back wheels. But I don't think they stopped abruptly. Then I grabbed them individually and rotated back and forth, this time I felt more resistance in the left wheel than the right and called the SA, who explained as mentioned in the first post!

Last edited by Gansan : 19th May 2010 at 12:23.
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Old 21st May 2010, 17:51   #12
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Gansan,

I don't think you have anything to worry about.

If the front wheel spun a little after you left it (ie did not come to a sudden dead stop) you should be fine. Usually the pads are making minor contact with the disc at all times (thread regarding this (Disc brakes - A small query.))

The front wheels get hotter than the rear after a drive because the front wheels always do more of the braking. More braking = more friction = more heat.

Cheers,
R
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Old 21st May 2010, 18:45   #13
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Brake drag can occur on wheel, two wheel, front/rear wheel only, or in any possible combination. Prime reason for this is "improper release". This effects FE directly, sometimes faulty diagnosis may lead to an engine complaint. In some cases, brake drag may also result in a slipping clutch. Minor drag causes slight charring of the surface lining and can generate hard spots in the rotor/drum. Wheel ends may feel very hot when touched in stopped condition.Some common causes are:-

1. No free play
2. Sticky caliper or wheel cylinder piston
3. Improper LSPV setting leading to early locking
4. Broken return spring of master cylinder
5. Loose caliper and mountings
6. Loose or damaged wheel bearing
7. Clogged master cylinder return port
8. Improper release of parking brake
9. Damaged back plates
10. Mis-assembled components.

If the brake drag occurs on all wheels this may be related to a faulty compensation port in master cylinder or a faulty vacum booster. An improperly mounted brake light switch can also be a cause for brake drag.

Spike
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Old 21st May 2010, 21:15   #14
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Thanks everyone. I felt the wheels of a couple of other cars (Santro and Alto) at the office just after they came in, and the Alto's wheel felt almost as hot as my own. The Santro felt slightly cooler, but then it had covered a shorter distance as well.

I had completed a 500 KM highway drive just a week before the alignment job, and clocked a best mileage of 21.25 KMPL with full AC on the Pondy - Chennai leg through the ECR. So if there is no chance of the brakes accidentally getting affected during the alignment job, everything should be fine. I will be passing through the MASS on Sunday and will get them to check it once again, just to be sure.
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