[A4] Brakes

Robert King gt40mkii at gmail.com
Fri Feb 8 08:03:04 PST 2008

Having the right tool for the rear calipers makes all the difference.
Because of the parking brake mechanism, you can't simply compress the
caliper's piston like you can in the front.  Instead, it has to be pressed
in and rotated at the same time.  Harbor Freight has an inexpensive tool to
do this and comes with a variety of adaptors for different calipers.  I use
it on my '01 A4, along with my race car (which uses calipers form a 1995
Mustang Cobra.)

The way I figure it is, if a mechanic charges me X to work on my car, I have
to earn 1.3X (before taxes,) to pay for it.  So by doing my own work, I'm
paying myself 1.3X for the same job.  Plus, I learn more about the car and
how it works, its idiosyncracies, and if something goes wrong, I know
exactly who to blame.  Also, I don't have to put up with any "well, you need
A, B, and C too)" BS.

You take a car into a brake shop for worn pads, and I guarantee they're
either going to want to replace the rotors, or at least turn them, depending
on which job has a higher profit margin.  One of my racing buddies was a
store manager for a national brake service chain, and their standard
operating procedure was that if the job wasn't at least $500, you had to
find something else wrong with the brakes.  Usually it was rotors, but
they'd also unnecessarily replace hoses, flush the brake fluid (if you had
ABS, they'd charge an extra $25, just because,) and anything else they could
think of.  My buddy ended up leaving for fear of getting involved in a

-- Robert

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