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Burnt smell - new brakes

Hello again fellow cartalkers,

4 days ago I had a complete front brake job done
on a 02 Dodge Dakota pickup. 80 miles on the new brakes I stuck in a traffic jam for over an hour. Once I stopped at the store I smelled burning brake odor on the passenger side right front wheel. Is there anything that should burn off of a new part of shall be concerned about this?
New brakeshoes, rotors, calipers + brakefluid.
thanks for any insight.

Take the truck for a drive using the brakes normally. Once you get home, take the back of your hand and place NEAR the wheels. If you find one wheel hotter than the other then that brake is hanging up.

If you had all these brake components replaced and still have a hanging brake, then the next thing to check is a brake hoses going to a calipers that have deteriorated internally where they act like a check valve. That is, you step on the brake pedal and pressure is applied, but when the brake pedal is released the pressure is still applied.

If you find a hot wheel, see if that tire turns as easily as the other. If not, remove the tire and while turning the hub by hand. Open the bleeder screw on the that caliper, if brake fluid squirts out and all of sudden the hub free’s up, look at the brake hose to that caliper.


How hot is the hot wheel has to be? With moderate driving both rotors are too hot to touch.

You’ll know the difference between hot and HOT!


I was about to post the same suggestion as @Tester on your other thread.

I think I’ve seen more hoses fail than calipers - recently fixed a Camry behaving just like Tester suggested. The brakes seemed to work fine during normal use, functioning without pull. However, if I slammed on them hard enough to engage the ABS, it pulled to one side pretty hard - the hose was constricted enough that the fluid didn’t pull back with the ABS, so on one side the brake was pulsing properly, but the other side it was pretty much on full-bore.

If I checked the brakes after the vehicle had been sitting for a few minutes, the wheel turned freely, as the fluid slowly drew back and the piston retracted. However, after a run around town, if I stopped, I could not only feel a bit more heat on that side, but I could tell quickly by touching the lugnuts on each wheel. The wheels where the brakes worked fine were hot - but I could hold my finger to the lugnut for 10 seconds or so before it got uncomfortable. On the dragging side, I couldn’t touch the thing for more than 2 seconds, the lugnut was so hot.

The caliper moved fine, but the hose was slightly constricted. Replacing the hose fixed everything just fine.

Because of stuff like this, if I ever have a brake hanging up, I tend to replace the caliper and the hose at the same time, without even bothering to diagnose the exact source. The parts really aren’t that expensive, so spending $70 to do both and guarantee its fixed is easier than spending $40 to find out you have to do the job again - particularly since you’ll end up bleeding brakes all over again, and that’s just a serious waste of time to do it over and over… :slight_smile:

4 days ago? Take it back to the shop that did the work and have them look at it. I’m sure they’ll look at it under their workmanship warranty. They’ll be able to see things on the lift that you cannot, like glaze or heat discoloration. If it turns out to be a slide hanging up, it may just need to be cleaned and lubed.

A little funky smell is normal with new brakes. But probably not 4 days later. Does the car pull to the left or right when driving or when you hit the brakes? If you sniff near the wheels, is the smell stronger on one side than on the other?

Thanks for the reply. I have noticed the smell 4 days later because that was the first time I had to use the brakes a lot. I stuck in a stop and go for over an hour. I will keep checking the temperature and glazing, stiffness etc and report back soon. The truck is not my daily driver- hello fuel prices- but I will keep an eye on it. Somebody also suggested that the new breaks has to wear in a little for proper seating etc. Oh and there is no pull to either side.

Hey guys finally posting again. Thank you for all your suggestions, Tester got right, the right front brake hose restricted the backflow just a little bit. To be on the safe side now both left and right are replaced. Thanks again!

As ususal…Tester hits it on the head again… Damnit he’s good. I agree with Tester…many x when doing a new brake job…The calipers can be an issue…the caliper sliders…may not be sliding…OR and very often the new brake pads are actually too tight… They stamp the brake pad backings out of thick steel…sometimes you may find a pad that needs a little filing with a metal file to allow the pad to fit properly in the caliper… I have found MANY a pad that was too large…or wide rather and I had to take a metal file to the sides in order for it to fit properly.

So it can be the Brake pad…the caliper…or the caliper sliders. In any case it doesnt sound like you will be fixing it anyway…so take it back and say that the front right seems to be hanging up a bit for some reason…they should be able to ID the culprit easily.