Thomas Hall, Author at TechShop Magazine
The 3rd (or 4th) Pedal

When was the last time you used your park brake? During a training seminar recently filled with brake people I got a lot of blank stares. Ok, rule number one don’t ask open ended questions right after lunch. Rephrasing, how many of you used your park brake when you parked the car today, one hand

Shades of Grey

By Thomas Hall, Technical Contributor As we experience more and more life situations, we generally evolve from very black and white thinkers to accepting that most situations have two sides or competing priorities. One of the most common complaints about a vehicle’s brake system is the propensity to develop really ugly brake dust. Walk through

Performance Brakes

It’s been a long winter here in the upper Midwest. Snowfalls have been well above normal in the Detroit area. However one of the sure signs of spring in our part of the world is when people start to dust off their Rods and Mods and start prepping for show season. Here in Detroit we

Selling Services: Our 15 Minutes: Can A Truck Stop A Plane?

Engineering and servicing brake systems has likely never been considered a “glory job.” However, it is certainly a necessary, challenging and rewarding occupation. Our contribution to driver safety and confidence can be rivaled by few others outside the medical domain. When I first started in the brake industry, I quickly came to a point where

The Future of Steering

The Steering System on light vehicles is one of the most critical interfaces between the road, vehicle and driver. The nature of this interface has remained virtually the same for most of the life of the automobile. Somewhere early one it was decided to upgrade the old “tiller” steering system with the traditional wheel. With

Brake Pad Wear

Brake pads are one of the few remaining accepted wear items in a modern vehicle. As a result, it represents a significant revenue opportunity for the service community. Drivers would surely love to have brake pads last for life. Service shop owners may have a different opinion. I’m sure that shop owners must deal daily

Tech Update: Warped Rotor Syndrome

Putting The ‘Brakes’ on A Common Customer Complaint Warped rotors are probably one of the most common complaints made to shop owners and technicians who repair and service brake systems. The less confident or sophisticated driver may complain that when he hits the brakes, “my pedal pulses,” “the vehicle chucks during a stop” or “it

Bragging Rights

A major test of brake systems took place in 1902 on an unpaved road in New York City. Driver Ransom E. Olds had arranged to test a new brake system against the tire brake of a four horse team and the internal drum brake of a Victoria horseless carriage. His Oldsmobile sported a single flexible

‘My Rotors are Warped!’

Warped rotors are probably one of the most common complaints from a drive upon entering any shop that does brakes. The less confident or sophisticated driver may complain that when he hits the brakes, “my pedal pulses,” “the vehicle chucks during a stop” or “it shakes my teeth during braking.” Generally a quick turn of

Brake Myths: ABS/ESC & Replacement Brake Pads

At most shops, the person ordering brake pads is given the choice of a several levels of brake pads. The good, better and best marketing is sorted out by price and brand rather than solid engineering data. Sometimes the tech has no choice when the choice is dictated by a supply relationship for friction materials.

Engineering: What Goes Up, Must Come Down!

Validating that the vehicle brake system is capable of getting the vehicle down a mountain is one of the major tests that occurs during the development and “prove-out” of the vehicle. In most cases, the manufacturer or the brake system supplier will test the vehicle on the road. This is also where a lot of

Braking Horsepower: How Much Does Your Car Have?

We all know brakes get hot, sometimes very hot. If you watch closely on race day, it’s not uncommon to see the rotor on a race car glowing bright orange. Iron is in the range of 1,700º F when orange. At the most basic level, a brake is an energy conversion device. Normally people will