2010 BMW X3; Front Brakes- Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2010 BMW X3; Front Brakes

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Serving Vancouver for over 38 years. Repairing all makes and models of vehicles, 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2010 BMW X3, there was a front brake problem. What was going on with this car?

Bernie: Our client front the vehicle in for a scheduled maintenance service, a B service which is essentially an oil change and full vehicle inspection and service. And as we were doing our services, we look at the brakes, measure the brakes and the front brakes, pads were down to 3 millimetres, which is pretty near worn out. So that’s what was going on with this vehicle.

Mark: So can someone still safely drive with a vehicle that’s got 3 millimetres on the brake pads?

Bernie: Absolutely, you can still continue to drive. I mean 3 millimetres means there’s still 3 millimetres of brake pad left. However, once you’re down around 2 to 3 that’s considered worn out by most manufacturers. I mean you can drive it down to, right down to metal on metal if you want but of course at that point things start getting hot, rotors get damaged immediately, callipers can be damaged, so its best not to do it. Plus you start to loose on your stopping ability. So brakes stop a lot better, when these vehicles are new the brake pads are in around 10 to 12 millimetres, so 3 mills is about, I mean less than a quarter of the brake pad left. So I’ll just, the other thing too of course is time management.  BMW’s don’t need service all that often, so you think the car’s in for service, you’ve taken time out of your schedule to bring your car in to have it fixed, why book another appointment, you know, a couple months down the road to have the brakes done when they’re pretty much worn out, why not just get it all handled now. You’re free to choose what you want to do but if you’re managing your time wisely, it’s better to have everything done at one time and then just drive the car for a while. So let’s just have a look at a couple of photos here. Here’s out 2010 BMW X3. Nice little sport utility vehicle and our front brakes, oh where’s our brakes? I’ll stop the sharing, if you look at the video we’ll include the front brake pads and rotors. I’ll explain the photo, there’s a brand new, nice fresh brake rotor, you can see the pads, orange lubricant painted in in certain spots around the callipers which we can talk about.

Mark: So do you always replace rotors with the pads?

Bernie: Well on European cars, absolutely. What happens is, for some reason the pads are very hard on European cars, the rotors are made of a softer material and as the pads wear out, the rotors develop very deep grooves so you actually measure the rotor they’re usually right down to the minimum wear spec. But even on any other make and model of cars, rotors are usually replaced at the same time. They last a long time these days and by the time they get to the pads worn out, there’s usually some grooves in the rotors or rusted edges. Can they be machined? Yes. Is it worth it? Usually not because once you machine a layer off then the rotor becomes thinner and it tends to warp easier. So unless it in extreme circumstances, the odd time we’ll machine rotor but 99% of the time they get done new, the jobs done properly and it works fine.

Mark: So you’ve mentioned a few different pieces in the car, like the callipers, what are the callipers and did you replace those on this vehicle?

Bernie: They don’t need to be replaced all that often. In this case the callipers were fine. What we’d normally do is inspect the brake calliper. So we retract the piston. Does it move back in smoothly, are the dust seals ripped? If they’re not, then generally if it moves in freely, the dust seals are ok and then the slider pins are not enormously, you know hideously seized because sometimes they can get so badly rusted and seized they’re not reusable. But assuming all those things are good, in the case of this BMW it was, we reused the calliper.

Mark: I’m assuming that this can be, if you took a certain amount of miles, say 10,000 miles or a 100,000 miles or whatever the number is, and compared different vehicles, they’re all going to have different states of rust, of seizing, of, all kinds of issues depending on the manufacturer? Is that right?

Bernie: Absolutely and I mean brakes wear at a different rate and it depends on where you drive too. If you’re only driving in the desert of Arizona, rusting isn’t going to be that big of an issue. But if you’re anywhere where there’s moisture, especially where there’s road salt, that really accelerates the pace of rust damage on brakes enormously. But again, if you live like close to the ocean too, where there’s like sea spray, that kind of thing can also effect the life of brakes. Like a brake rotor is a bare piece of metal, so it’s very prone to rusting and of course, if it gets rusty, it wears the pads out too. The regular service on calliper sliders is actually a good thing to do, like every say 24,000 kilometres, which is what in miles, I don’t know, 16, 18 thousand miles, somewhere in that range. It’s a good idea to every couple of years to do a service on your brakes. Some brakes do last a long time, some vehicles you get over a 100,000 kilometres, maybe a 150,000 kilometres on a set of pads and rotors. So doing a regular service is a good idea because if the callipers seize up, the pads wear a lot quicker and you’ll end up having to do, it’s a little more work to do the services, but you end up not having to replace the parts as often, so it’s cheaper in the long run.

Mark: Any further comments on the BMW X3?

Bernie: It’s a nice little sport utility vehicle, say compared to a Lexus RX model you know which is kind of equivalent, it’s a little less reliable, there’s a few more things that are going to go wrong with it but things like oil leaks, you know those kind of things but other than that it’s a great vehicle. 

Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your BMW in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out our website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks Bernie


Bernie: Thanks Mark

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