How to Keep the Dodge Ram 1500 Brake Disc and Pad Kit in Good Condition
The brake discs and brake pads should be a top priority in the maintenance checklist of any Dodge Ram 1500 owner. In this guide, we've listed down some important tips to follow in maintaining the Dodge Ram 1500 brake disc and pad kit.
Arguably the easiest and most effective way for you to prolong the life of your brakes is by braking only when it counts. Excessive and aggressive brake can put unnecessary strain on the brake discs and pads, resulting in overheat that could in turn lead to warping of the disc or excessive vibrations on the steering wheel.
- Refill or replace brake fluid on a regular basis.
Another way to keep the brake discs and pads in running condition is to keep the brake fluid levels at full capacity. Brake fluid tends to evaporate over time, although this can be aggravated by leaks. And once it runs out, it could lead to the brakes losing power when you most need it. So keep an eye out for the brake fluid gauge and replenish it once it's low. However, if you notice the fluid levels dip frequently, check the brake lines for leaks.
Aside from keeping the brake fluid levels full, it is also important that they are clean and free of contaminants. Ideally, brake fluid should have a clear, near-yellowish appearance. But if the fluid appears cloudy or contains particles, it is already contaminated and needs to be replaced.
- Switch to ceramic or NAO brake pads.
Although they may be the more expensive types on the market, ceramic or non-asbestos organic (NAO) brake pads have several benefits. First, ceramic and NAO pads are "gentler" on the surface of the brake disc, resulting in less wear and brake dust residue. These pads also tend to generate less noise compared with semi-metallic brake pads, resulting in a quieter drive.
Brake shields are accessories fitted inside the wheel that can deflect the brake dust produced by the brake pads when braking. Although it does not protect the brake pads or disc against wear, it does help in keeping the rims of your wheels cleaner.
Troubleshooting Common Problems in the Dodge Ram 1500 Brake Disc and Pad Kit
The brake discs and brake pads of your Dodge Ram 1500 basically rely on heat and friction to slow down your vehicle's spinning wheels, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they succumb to the stress. However, failure the Dodge Ram 1500 brake disc and pad kit exhibits itself in a number of ways, and determining what these types of breakdowns are and how to address them is crucial in minimizing the damage to your vehicle. In this guide, we've listed down some common problems with brake discs and brake pads and how you can troubleshoot them.
Pulsating brake pedal
A brake pedal that's moving up in down is caused by excessive lateral run-out, which in turn is caused by the brake rotors overheating. Stepping less on the brake pedal often solves the problem, but if it occurs frequently it may indicate one of the discs has worn out and needs replacement.
Shaking steering wheel
If stepping on the brakes leads to significant vibrations on the steering wheel, the brake discs are likely to have pits or scores. Uneven surfaces on the brake rotors will cause vibrations to reverberate through the steering system once the brake pad passes through it. In some cases, this problem can be fixed by resurfacing the rotors, although severe cases will necessitate replacement.
Too much brake dust
Having a fair amount of brake dust — that sooty substance that sticks on the edges of the wheel rims — is a normal byproduct of the brake pads, but if you notice more dust than usual it's a likely that you're braking harder than usual. Aggressive braking can cause the brake pads to heat up easily, resulting in faster abrasion of the pad material and thus resulting in excess brake dust. Pads made of semi-metallic materials are also known to produce a lot of dust, so try switching to ceramic brake pads.
Wheels pull to one side
Does the vehicle pull to either the left or the right when you brake? It could either be due to a stuck caliper or low brake fluid levels. Check the brake caliper first and see if it is engaging the rotors properly. If the brake discs are in good condition, check the brake fluid gauge as well as for signs of leaks on the caliper and the brake lines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Dodge Ram 1500 brake disc and pad kits with non-metallic pads better than ones with metallic brake pads?
It is a common misconception that metallic pads are harmful to a Dodge Ram 1500's brake discs, harmful enough that they can cause disc scoring and produce brake squeal. However, the health of a vehicle's brake discs does not always depend on the kind of brake pads installed on the assembly. There are many reasons why a brake disc will fail, one of which is a pad that contains hard impurities in its compound. A metallic pad, contrary to popular belief, is not made of such hard impurities and therefore won't cause scoring or other alarming brake noises. A metallic pad's metal content is fine steel wire and powdered sponge iron. These metal components are often softer than the rotor surface, making it just as safe as any other type of brake pads in different brake disc and pad kits.
What is best kind of brake disc on a brake disc and pad kit for a Dodge Ram 1500?
The best kind of brake disc for a Dodge Ram 1500 brake disc and pad kit will depend entirely on the car owner's driving lifestyle. If the pickup truck is used mostly for stop-start city driving, then it is recommended to get a kit that comes with slotted brake discs. They are definitely an upgrade from the Dodge Ram 1500's stock OE discs and can help improve brake performance. However, if the pickup truck is used for more severe applications, then it is best to get cross-drilled brake discs with the kit. These discs feature faster cooling within the vehicle's brakes, more responsive wet weather performance, and better initial bite, which makes it the perfect choice for an off-roading or working Dodge Ram 1500.
Once a new brake disc and pad kit is installed, how else can brake performance be improved?
Aside from upgrading a Dodge Ram 1500's brakes with a new brake disc and pad kit, there are other things that can help supplement your brake's improved performance. If budget permits, it would be a good idea to get really good tires to accompany the newly installed brake disc and pad kit. Tires that offer an ample grip of the road allow the brakes to translate its response more efficiently. Remember that a Dodge Ram 1500's brake discs and pads are nothing without a compatible and high-quality set of tires and suspension system. So instead of spending more on specialized individual discs and pads, invest more on quality tires and durable shocks together with a brake disc and pad kit.