I know a lady who is a member of our...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I know a lady who is a member of our deaf support group. She was told she needed her brakes cleaned as a regular thing. The cost was $60. I have worked on cars for many years, and have never heard this. I think this is a con job. What do you think?

TOM: Gee, that's good, Gil! Regular brake cleanings! We'll have to add that to our list. This could be a whole new revenue stream for us. We could be "Brake Cleaning Specialists."

RAY: I think this guy was a wallet cleaning specialist, Gil. Brakes don't need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Once in a while, brake dust can build up on the shoes and cause the brakes to squeal. But since your friend is deaf, I doubt the noise will bother her very much. Her neighbors might complain, but benign squealing has no effect on the cars' braking ability.

TOM: The other occasional problem we see is "glazing." That's when the pads get sort of "polished" and "slippery" due to "riding the brake." This WOULD cause some loss in braking effectiveness, so it is worth correcting. But de-glazing doesn't need to be done regularly, either. You wait until you have a problem.

RAY: Regular brake inspections are a good idea, and they can be done when you take your car in for an oil change or service. But you shouldn't need to spend $60 cleaning your brakes on a regular basis.

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