A “pad slap” brake job is one where new brake pads are installed, but the rotors or discs are not replaced or resurfaced. NOT acceptable. It’s a hot topic on repair threads online, and a much debated topic between techs and DIY gearheads. You will hear heated debates arguing for and against “pad slaps.” The “pro” side touting the money saved, the “against” side valuing safety over expense.
At Bavarian Motors, we are against “pad slap” brake jobs. When we replace front or rear brakes for one of our customers, we replace the pads, rotors and the sensor. Yes it is more expensive than simply changing out the pads, but doing so provides the highest level of safety, and that is more important. Replacing the rotors will give the pads a fresh surface to seat. Doing a complete brake job can also greatly reduce brake noise, and the risk of a part or system failure.
Some people argue for a compromise between a “pad slap” and a complete brake service. It used to be that you could stretch the life of your brakes and save some money by re-surfacing the rotors, and installing new pads, and this would be considered an acceptable brake job. In some cases, depending on the quality and specs of the rotor, and with the right equipment and experience to cut the discs, it still is.
On European cars though, the metal used now is softer than before, which translates to better stopping power, but also faster wear. As a result, the rotors wear down almost as fast as the brake pads and they get glazed very quickly.
In pairing new brake pads with old rotors, you run the risk of those rotors (re-surfaced or not) dropping below spec, while the new pads are still “meaty.” The potential for warping increases, and the ability for those discs to dissipate heat drops. You could end up with hot spots on your rotors, which translates to brake failure. The strain of driving up and down steep grades, like through the foothills and Rocky Mountains, is a prime situation for the latter to happen.
If you question the necessity of replacing the rotors, as well as the pads, we are more than happy to send you photos of the discs or show them to you when you come back to pick up your car.
Incidently, asking to see the old parts is one way to ensure that a complete brake job was done at say, one of those shops that offers a rock-bottom price on brake jobs. Is itreally a bargain?
Brake jobs are a safety service, first and foremost. As a Bavarian Motors’ customer, you can rest assured that you will get a complete brake job every time – never just a “pad slap.”