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lou's garage

My dealership service centre told me that the brakes on my 2010 Mazda Tribute should be cleaned – the calipers should be adjusted, lubricated, and cleaned once a year. Is this a legitimate maintenance? – Jacob

There are a variety of opinions out there, but I believe strongly in regular preventative maintenance.

So what is a brake service and is it necessary?

As the brake lubrication gets washed away by messy, wet roads, corrosion sets in, causing the pads to bind – limiting their ability to return to their normal static position. Think of it as if you are driving with one foot on the gas pedal and one on the brake pedal.

When your vehicle is on the hoist, the technician will start by disassembling the brakes to facilitate pad and rotor deglazing. Moving on to the calipers, all the sliders and moving components will be cleaned and lubricated. Doesn't seem like a lot, does it? However, done properly, this procedure can significantly extend the life of your brakes.

Newer, fuel-efficient vehicles use lightweight brake components that tend to overheat easily. In addition, cheap, poor-quality replacement rotors suffer from premature corrosion, requiring frequent clean-ups.

The once-per-year interval regularly appears in many dealer service recommendations. Once every two years is what I consider an absolute minimum, more often if driving in extreme climate areas.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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