Shop Parts keyboard_double_arrow_right
Need car parts? Select your vehicle
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Summary
  • “Bedding in” or “burnishing” new disc brakes improves the compatibility of your vehicle’s brake pads and rotor, and it’s wise to do this with new brake pads and new or freshly machined rotors.
  • It might help prevent early life brake fade and can improve brake performance. It also helps increase brake friction and may improve brake longevity.
  • Bedding in the brakes is simple and best done on empty roads. Drivers typically bed in their brakes after they install new brake pads or brake rotors by simply driving the vehicle, but there is a specific procedure that works best for this.

What is a Brake Bed-in?

A brake bed-in is a process that helps prepare the brake pads and the rotor to work well together by establishing a protective film on the surface of the rotor with friction. This film is created with material from the brake pad and helps your brake pads last longer.

Drivers typically bed in their brakes after they install new brake pads or brake rotors by simply driving the vehicle normally, but there is a specific procedure that works best for this.

bedding in brakes
Drivers typically bed in their brakes after they install new brake pads or brake rotors.

What Are the Advantages of Bedding in Brakes?

Bedding in the brake pads can help prevent early life brake fade. It works toward ensuring consistent brake performance and helps increase brake friction. It may also improve brake longevity.

Prevents Early Life Brake Fade

Bedding in your brakes revolves around the friction between the rotor and the brake pads, which burns away gunk and moisture on the brake pad. This prevents what’s known as early life brake fade, or “green fade,” which is characterized by poor braking performance.

, Bedding in Brakes: What is a Brake Bed-In and How Does It Help?

Pro Tips are nuggets of information direct from ASE-certified automobile technicians working with CarParts.com, which may include unique, personal insights based on their years of experience working in the automotive industry. These can help you make more informed decisions about your car.

Pro Tip: It’s not that this won’t happen automatically, but any good mechanic will burnish/bed new brake pads before returning the vehicle to the customer. If you’ve replaced your own pads and rotors, it’s a good practice.

In addition, bedding in new pads and rotors can help prevent thermal shock in new rotors.

Makes Brake Performance More Consistent

Freshly installed brake pads and rotors that haven’t been bedded in yet might not work consistently. Brake performance could often be unresponsive until the pads and the rotor become accustomed to one another.

While the two will eventually work well together after a certain amount of time, bedding in the brakes helps speed up the process. This is because bedding in the brakes increases friction and brake responsiveness.

The most common thing you might notice with new brake pads (depending on the type of pad) is that the pedal may be a little softer than it was with the old pads. This isn’t a big problem and will usually straighten itself out as you drive. Cheaper pads may stink and smoke after the first few stops, but higher grade pads won’t.

The most common thing you might notice with new brake pads (depending on the type of pad) is that the pedal may be a little softer than it was with the old pads. This isn’t a big problem and will usually straighten itself out as you drive. Cheaper pads may stink and smoke after the first few stops, but higher grade pads won’t.

Richard McCuistian, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

Increases Brake Friction

Friction is generated when this new brake pad film is sheared and the rotor machine marks are worn smooth as the pads are applied, effectively matching the pads to the surfaces where they’ll live until they’re worn out.

Improves Longevity of Your Brakes

Because bedding in your brakes establishes a stable transfer film, the brake system can last longer. The film lets the rotor and the brake pads make a lot more contact with one another, making the brakes more responsive. The initial contact of a new pad and its rotor surface isn’t a complete match until the two surfaces have worked together for a while.

How to Bed In or Burnish Brakes

Fortunately, bedding in your brake pads is a relatively simple process that doesn’t require a mechanic. You won’t need special tools or equipment to get the job done – just your vehicle and the open road. It’s important to mention that bedding in your brakes should always be done on empty roads with as few people on the road as possible. Doing it early in the morning is ideal. You’ll need to maintain a steady speed without stopping, so avoiding other drivers is a must.

There are actually a couple of decent methods of burnishing or bedding new brakes.

First, let’s look at the Bendix 30/30/30 Method:

  1. Execute 30 stops from 30 miles per hour with a 30-second cooling interval between stops. These should be gentle stops to bed the pads and shoes into the rotor and drums.
  2. Cool Down: After the burnishing procedure, drive around for a few miles without heavy braking to allow the brakes to cool down completely.

This is another method that might be harder to follow because there are more steps:

  1. Drive and maintain a speed of 60 mph and gently step on the brakes to increase the temperature of your brake pads.
  2. Step on the brakes firmly and decrease your speed from 60 mph to 10 mph. Don’t engage the anti-lock braking system.
  3. After your vehicle reaches a speed of 10 mph, accelerate again to a speed of 60 mph. Don’t stop your vehicle at any point during this process.
  4. Repeat these steps 8-10 times.
  5. Drive to a place where you can park your vehicle for 30 minutes. Give your brake pads enough time to cool down after being bedded in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding brake bed-ins.

How long does it take for brakes to bed in?

Many factors affect how long it takes for a vehicle’s brake pads to bed in. For example, the brake pads you use and the specifications of your vehicle can speed up the process or make it take longer.

Typically, you’ll need to drive 100-300 miles before the bedding-in process is complete. Deliberately bedding in your vehicle’s brakes with the guide listed above speeds this up even further.

Do all brake pads need bedding in?

While it’s not necessary to bed in your brake pads, it’s strongly recommended to do so because the process allows your brakes to perform more optimally.

What happens if you don’t bed in new brakes?

If you don’t bed in your vehicle’s brakes, gunk might build up in the rotors, causing vibrations in the steering wheel and suspension. Bedding in the brakes allows friction material to be distributed evenly, making the brake system more effective and responsive.

Why can’t you stop your vehicle when bedding the brakes?

Stopping your vehicle in the middle of bedding in the brakes will leave excessive pad material on the rotors, negatively affecting braking performance. When bedding the brakes, brake only to slow down.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : Braking System , DIY Tagged With : ,
headlights and components
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

View all Questions & Answers

expand_more
CarParts.com Answers BE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY: Share your knowledge & help fellow drivers Join Now