Braking News: Bedding Brakes

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Your high performance buddies will always recommend bedding in brake pads and rotors when you replace them. However, you’ve also seen dealership and independent shops not do it.

So, what is brake bedding and how can doing it be important? In this brake tech brief, we’ll show you why it can and sometimes isn’t important to do a brake bedding. It all depends on your use.

Brake bedding is the process in which you transfer some of the brake pad material to your rotors to ensure even rotor engagement from your pads. You know when you add a new set of pads to your calipers and you get some brake “judder”, that’s usually the sign that the pads have not been bedded in properly.

If you don’t know what that is, if you’ve had a brake rotor that has “warped”, then you’ve felt something like brake judder. Brake bedding will help reduce brake glazing on the pads and rotors, which will increase your stopping distance.

However, in cases where you’re not maximizing your stopping distances, track driving, autocrossing, or driving “spirited-ly,” bedding isn’t extremely crucial. Over time with OEM pads and a set of new or machined rotors, the pads will bed themselves in and work fine.

Typically, you bed-in your brakes in the conditions you expect to use them in. If you’re a track-day or high speed driver, you want to be sure that you bed-in your brakes as the pad manufacturer recommends. If you’re just driving your Ford from point a-to-b on your pads, a few light stops will bed-in the brakes and you’ll usually not feel judder afterward.

The most important thing when replacing your pads is to make sure that your rotors have been machined to remove the old layer of brake pad material that is on the rotor or replace them with new rotors.

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Justin Banner is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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