"Underdesigned" Brakes Likely Causing Problem (Newspaper Column)

I love to read Car Talk in my local newspaper on Saturday. Today’s article was titled “Underdesigned” Brakes Likely Causing Problem.

In it Ray explains many reasons why the rear brake pads are wearing thin way too fast (25,000). He described reasons why brakes might “stay on”, even when you’re not using them. I can add one more reason. I’m a little surprised he didn’t mention it.

Sometimes the rubber brake hoses to your wheels will deteriorate inside and collapse. You can not see this from the outside. They will then act like a check valve and not allow fluid to move slightly back towards the master cylinder. I used to drive a 1988 Olds Ceira. The car started pulling to the left. When I parked it and put my hand right up to the left, front hub it was very hot. The brake was not releasing. A new hose corrected the problem.

Just recently my brother had the same thing happen to his 2008 Mustang. New brake hoses fixed it.

By the way all: Even though the radio show’s are repeats, the paper column is done by Ray and is new material!


You’re absolutely right about the brake hoses. It’s not super common, but it does happen from time to time

This has nothing to do with “undersdesigned” though. this could happen to the most expensive and high tech brake system

Ray probably didn’t mention it, because it’s not the most common and/or typical reasons why brakes don’t last long

It’s good to know that the paper column is still new material

Something to mention too is that this can happen when the car gets a brake job and an inexperienced mechanic lets the caliper ‘hang’ from the brake hose instead of supporting it, which can damage the inside of the hose.

This is also the case on some new cars with ABS. Some systems are designed to use the rear brakes a bit more until just before skidding occurs where the ABS comes in an stops skidding on the rear wheels only. Many cars (especially FWD cars) used to wear out the front brakes much sooner than the rears since the rears didn’t do very much work and by regulation cannot lock before the fronts, ever. Cars without ABS had to design for worst case condition so the rear brakes did little to nothing. Now that ABS is here, that can be used to prevent rear skidding so the rear bakes share more of the load. For some drivers light on the brake pedal, that means the rears now wear out before the fronts.

On a couple of Nissan Maxima I owned, the hand brake operated by rotating the threaded head of the rear disk brake pistons, so they screwed out and pressed on the rotors. When you released the hand brake the piston rotated back a bit, but over time it screwed out quite a bit and had to be screwed back in when replacing the pads. As a result, the rear pads wore out faster than the fronts.

One other possibility not mentioned could be the driver rests his foot on the break pedal while driving. Early break failure has always been attributed to this poor driving habit which by the way is not illegal here in California even if it renders ones break lights technically inoperable by being on all the time.

But here’s a question I’ve had for years…after 40 years as a parts man…I’ve never sold so many REAR brakes …REARS…till after the change to rear disc .
Rear disc brakes…on anything…just seem to wear faster.
Don’t know why…vehicle after vehicle…no problems found.
Why do rear disc brakes wear so much faster in comparison to Drums ?

Driving style ?
Same drivers over the years as they buy new vehicles…the rear discs wear out faster. ( Mine included )

Same happened to my '96 ES300. Rear discs wore out much faster. Go figger.

Y’all remember the Honda/Acura class action suit?: