Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

New brakes burning smell

New brakes burning smell — what causes it?

The new brakes burning smell is due to two things: heat causes the friction material to cure and the first 20-30 brake applications causes a film of friction material to transfer to the rotor.

Brake pad components

Brake pads are made with a combination of binders, fillers powders, abrasives, synthetic fibers, metallic particles/fibers, friction modifiers and lubricants (graphite). It’s all held together with a binder resin. The raw materials are poured into a mold and compressed at high pressures and temperatures. The block of friction material is then bonded to the backing plate.

The fibers perform double duty; holding the mixture together like rebar in concrete and helping to draw heat away from the rotor.

Brake pad curing

When you first apply the brakes after installing the new brake pads, the resins heat up and go through a polymerization process. That’s what’s responsible for the brake pad burning smell and sometimes even smoke.

How long does the new brake pad smell last?

The smell and smoke should stop within the first two days of driving.

©, 2022 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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