A 2016 study of brake clips and hardware reveals that reusing old clips can wear out your new brake pads prematurely, costing you extra $$ in auto repairs.
To understand the study results, and how they can save you money, it helps to compare brake clips to shoelaces.
New shoes come with new laces because they keep your shoes on your feet the way they’re designed to.
You probably don’t think about your shoelaces unless they’re untied. Or if they break and you have to tie them together.
In the photo above, you see how the structure of shoelaces wears out over time.
Now imagine if you bought new shoes but had to keep your old laces. If they looked like the old lace in the photo above, you’d be mad, right?
“Brake clips are the shoelaces of your brakes.”
Well that’s what happens to your brakes when you replace your brake pads but reuse old clips.
Brake clips are the shoelaces of your brakes. When you get new brake pads but don’t get new clips, you’ve just increased the chances that your new brakes won’t perform the way they should.
Although the cost of a complete brake job is usually hundreds of dollars, the cost of replacing old clips to extend the life of your new pads is only a fraction of the cost at $10 to $20.
Brake Clips & Brake Hardware
Brake pad clips typically come in a brake hardware kit that includes four clips and four pin boots that help hold your brake pads securely in place.
Clips and hardware are what holds the brake pads in the right place so your brakes work properly. Just like brake pads, hardware wears out over time given thousands of starts and stops.
The photo above shows an example of a worn brake clip. Would you use this with your new brake pads? Keep reading to see how replacing clips and accompanying hardware will save you money in the long run.
Old Versus New Brake Hardware
There are many reasons to get new brake clips and hardware but the main one is to protect your new pads and rotors. If you don’t get new hardware when you get a brake job, chances are you’re going to need new brake pads more often, which means you’ll be paying for new brake pads more frequently.
The photo above shows a QuietGlide brake clip, the newest technology in brake hardware. On one side a layer of low-friction PTFE coating reduces brake pad drag. And the other side is coated with vulcanized rubber to reduce noise.
Lab-Tested Brake Clips
In order to assess how new brake hardware affects vehicle performance, an independent testing lab in Sweden ran a series of tests. In the first, they wanted to see whether or not the old brake pad clips still met the manufacturer’s OEM specifications at the time of the first brake job – approx. 35,000 to 45,000 miles.
“The main reason to replace brake hardware is to protect your investment in your new brake pads.”
In the second, they wanted to find if replacing old brake clips and hardware reduced brake noise.
Brake Test Findings
The diagram above shows the 17 dimensions of a brake clip. The lab-tested clips were on vehicles with 35,000 to 45,000 miles.
After measuring and studying the dimensions of these used brake clips, the lab found that, on average, 16 of 17 dimensions were out of OEM specification on all the clips tested. 100% of the used clips were deformed.
As the lab director noted, “The majority of dimensions are no longer within specification and therefore the part will not perform to design intent.”
“100% of the used brake clips that were tested failed to meet OEM specifications.”
As hardware becomes deformed, pads no longer move within the brake as intended. The pads will drag on the rotors and you’ll get premature wear and reduced pad life. Out of spec hardware will diminish braking performance.
Brake Hardware and Noise
Not replacing brake hardware also means one more thing — NOISE!
To understand the correlation between reusing old brake clips and squeaky brakes, the lab simulated over 1,400 stops at every temperature/brake pressure combination.
The vehicles tested were:
- a 2014 sedan with 45,000 miles
- a 2014 pickup truck with 35,000 miles
Getting new brake pads and reusing old brake pad clips still meant noise. However, the study showed that new clips made a huge difference in reducing noise. And in some cases, like the 2014 sedan, replacing the clips eliminated all noise.
The Brake Take Away
When you get new pads, you need new brake hardware for like-new braking performance. For a few extra dollars, you’ll extend the life of your new brake pads and reduce or eliminate noise at the same time. You’ll also save money down the road, so you can spend it on other things.
“To achieve like-new braking performance and save money, replace brake clips and hardware with every brake job.”