In conjunction with their diagnostic capabilities, our technicians will use their GM-specific training and knowledge to help you keep your brakes stopping on a dime. Not everyone can do that. But the Certified Service experts can.
Braking systems are designed specifically for the vehicle on which they are installed. Even for the same model year, pads for various makes and models can vary. For instance, each trim level may have a different brake pad. When it comes to having your brakes serviced, nobody understands your vehicle better than our expert Certified Service technicians.
With something as important as your brakes, the GM Original Equipment (OE) solution is your best bet. The GM OE solution means replacing parts with the same parts used when your vehicle was built. These repairs are overseen by a GM technician trained to specifically know your GM vehicle.
Sometimes, your vehicle’s brakes will alert you when there’s trouble. Whistling noises, chirping sounds, and grinding are indications that brake repair is required.
Brakes often come equipped with a small, thin piece of metal attached to the brake pad to act as a warning indicator when the pad material is getting low and the brake pads should be replaced. This device makes a chirping noise on brake application, letting you know it is time for brake service.
The major components of a braking system, listed below, will need to be repaired or replaced as part of regular brake service and maintenance during the normal lifespan of a vehicle. Get to know the signs today to help avoid a headache tomorrow.
The brake caliper is a hydraulic clamp that pinches the brake pad onto the brake rotor.
Signs of wear:
These flat pads composed of frictional material make contact with the rotor, bringing your vehicle to a stop.
Signs of wear:
Your brake rotors are rotating discs that help slow or stop the vehicle when brake pads make contact.
Signs of wear:
Used mostly in rear braking systems, brake shoes press against the inside of your brake drum to cause friction, slowing or stopping your vehicle.
Signs of wear:
The brake hose carries brake fluid from the solid-steel brake lines on your vehicle’s frame to the caliper or wheel cylinder. Flexible brake hoses are necessary to allow the caliper or wheel cylinder to move freely with your vehicle’s suspension.
Signs of wear:
A: No. If there are no conditions such as pedal pulsation or steering-wheel vibration during braking, and the brake rotor is at least 1 mm thicker than the discard thickness, then it does not need to be turned or replaced.
A: Both cross-drilled and slotted rotors have a similar effect on brake friction. Comparative testing by General Motors shows that friction levels of cross-drilled rotors are 5 percent to 10 percent lower at cold temperatures (relative to non-drilled or slotted rotors), but remain more stable with increasing temperatures (less fade) and end up with 5 percent to 10 percent higher friction at high temperatures (752 to 1112 degrees F). This is true for both slotted and drilled rotors.
In order to maximize the service life of a rotor, General Motors uses predominantly slotted rotors on all applications. Cross-drilled rotors have been used in the past, mainly on lighter vehicles where there is less risk of cracking.
A: Brake squeal is caused by the high-frequency vibration of brake components (rotor, calipers, and/or pads) in response to excitation from the brake-friction process. A significant amount of time and engineering goes into eliminating brake squeal from Original Equipment brake components.
Brake components are engineered as a complete system — factory-original performance can only be assured when using Original Equipment brake pads and rotors. When brake squeal occurs, there may be damage or excessive wear on one or more components affecting noise, including the brake pads, the noise-damping shim that is bonded to the brake pad, or the rotor friction surface.
In addition, it should be recognized that high-performance and track-capable brake systems using high-performance pad materials will always be at higher risk for producing brake squeal noise, even when there is no damage to the components.
A: Pad life depends on driving habits, vehicle usage, and the operating environment. Brake systems are designed to provide 20,000 to 25,000 miles of pad life in very severe use (such as heavy-traffic urban areas) and will provide 40,000 to 60,000 miles of pad life in average use. Factors that will reduce pad life include frequent heavy braking, elevated temperatures (caused by high-speed braking or driving in mountainous areas), driving with the vehicle heavily loaded, and severe environments such as high-corrosion areas and areas with a lot of road debris and dust.
A: Yes. Pads with higher metal content will tend to operate with more abrasive friction, where hard metal particles in the pad interact directly with the brake rotor surface. Use of metallic pads will create more brake dust and will shorten the rotor life. Non-asbestos organic pads (also known as ceramic pads) used on most GM vehicles in North America develop a transfer film, a layer of material on the pad and rotor surface that acts as a cushion (at a microscopic scale) between the pad and rotor, protecting both from abrasive interaction that causes wear.
A: Brake dust can occur to some extent on most brake systems, but it is significantly more noticeable with metallic pads and on high-performance brake systems. Brake dust is a mix of debris from the brake rotor, which is the most significant component, and debris from the brake pads. Pad materials that wear the rotor more aggressively will cause more dust.
A: There are often significant differences between Original Equipment and aftermarket brake rotors. While brake rotors designed to fit the same vehicle will often be similar in appearance and dimensions, there can be differences in the internal cooling vane design, thickness of the brake plates (against which the brake pad rubs), and the grade and material specification of the cast iron. For Original Equipment brake rotors, significant analysis and testing go into determining the right geometry to minimize thermal distortion and squeal noise and to maximize cooling. Similar rigor is put into the material selection, which also affects the risk of squeal noise, as well as friction and wear properties.