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Grease Guide: What is Brake Grease Used For?

Posted by Grease Monkey on

what is brake grease used for

Brake grease application is essential for the safe and true operation of the braking system.  Brakes are made up of a lot of moving parts and these parts need to be lubricated with brake grease to make sure that everything operates as it should do.  Applied correctly - brake grease will prolong the life of the brakes by reducing everyday wear and tear.  

WHY PUT GREASE ON YOUR BRAKES?

It may sound counter-intuitive but brakes need grease.  I hear you asking - "But will that not stop the brakes from working?" - no, it won't.  There are a lot of moving parts and components within a braking system and like any other system with moving parts they need to be lubricated so that they can continue to move freely.  When we talk about applying grease to brakes we are not referring to lubricating the friction surfaces that contact the wheel drum.

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SO, WHAT IS BRAKE GREASE?

Brake grease is a specially formulated grease designed specifically to meet the precise lubrication demands found in a vehicles braking system.  Brakes get very hot very quickly and other lubricants would just melt and drip away at these temperatures.  Also, as the majority of modern vehicles operate hydraulic braking systems - traditional petroleum based greases would damage plastic and rubber sealing components.


WHAT DOES IT DO?

Brakes must be correctly lubricated for them to function properly.  Although grease should never be applied to the actual brake pads there are a large number of moving parts in the system that require lubrication.  Brake grease ensures these parts can move freely when called upon.  And therefore, the braking system can be relied upon to operate when it is applied.  Additionally, brake grease prolongs the life of brakes and eliminates squealing noises and reduces vibration when the brakes are applied.


WHERE IS THE GREASE APPLIED?

Firstly, there are two types of brakes out there - drum brakes and disc brakes.  A drum brake has a small round drum attached with a set of shoes and a disc brake consists of a disc shaped rotor that spins within the wheel.


DRUM BRAKE GREASE LUBRICATION:

  • Be careful not to place any grease on inside of the drum where the brake pads make contact with the drum.  This could result in brake failure.
  • Apply grease to the backing plate of the drum brakes.  You can prepare the area first by doing a light sanding followed by lubrication.
  • The adjustable star-wheel that separates the shoes should be lubricated.  It is important that it does not freeze-up.
  • Apply some grease to the 'separator'.  It is usually found about half way up the shoe.
  • Ensure all metal-on-metal moving parts are greased, (except where the pads will contact).
  • Also, you should apply grease to the parking brake cable and all moving parts in the linkage.  Parking brakes usually operate off of the rear brakes.


DISC BRAKE GREASE LUBRICATION:

Disk brakes have a different construction and operate in a different way to drum brakes.  Because of this the places that need to be greased are a little different.  Here's a quick guide:

  • Never put any lubricant on the rotors or on the inside of the brake pads where the contact occurs - this could cause brake failure!
  • Put some brake grease on the small screws that hold the caliper in position.
  • Also, make sure that the bushing that's responsible for moving the caliper back and forth is well greased.
  • The part of the caliper that rides on the frame along the rotor will need some attention here too.  The best approach is to first do a light sanding to remove any wear and tear and then add some grease.
  • As with drum brakes, you should pay special attention to make sure that any metal-on-metal contact is properly lubricated to make sure it does not seize up.
 

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  • It can be hard to find the star wheel in the brakes

    joey77 on

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