Let’s see how and when it is best to change the brake pads, to get the right “braking” Report: Maurizio Voltini - pictures: Domenico Paolicelli
When is it time for the “brake lining”
As usual, out of all the material that wears out on karts, we have these too: brake pads, also known as friction washers or “brake lining” depending on the case. Obviously, as frequency and costs they come second compared to tyres and fuel, but we certainly aren’t questioning their importance: if brakes don’t work properly because the pads are no longer efficient it affects performance and the chances of overtaking, not to mention the consequences if the brakes suddenly don’t work properly….
We think, however that we should insist more on the importance of an efficient braking system, and it is very useful to give some advice – especially to newcomers to karting, this article has been written mainly for them – the best way to change brake pads and when this should be done. Yes, when? Obviously, when the brake pedal “goes down” this is already an unmistakeably indication that maybe you have already waited too long, however, we can already tell when the pads have become too thin, or worse still when the surface of the pads is not straight, that is, it’s “wedge-shaped” and no longer parallel to the with the surface of the disc. This is a situation that gives uneven braking especially at the beginning, when you have to “press”: if braking is not even and we often alternate weak braking or we brake hard at the breaking point, this might be the reason.
Also if you find that there is a lot of difference in wear between front pads and rear pads, this too is a sign that the system isn’t working properly, it’s not balanced, or the subdivision isn’t ideal compared to the tests carried out by the manufacturer. In any case, CRG suggests changing the pads when overall thickness is less than 4 mm for front and 5.5 mm for rear ones. Usually the rear pads wear out quicker, but when you change them it’s better to change both front and rear pads to maintain balanced braking. We have mentioned the Brescian manufacturer because for our column, we used a CRG chassis that Franco Galiffa kindly lent us. Now, let’s see how to change the pads, let’s go in order, first of all remember never to be hasty: never do it when the brakes are still warm, because even if you have come off the track, some elements are very hot and take time to cool down. There’s no need to tell you the risks you run here…