Brake Pad Problems

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
Our 18 year old son has a 1995 Nissan pickup truck. He's been having some problems regarding the brakes, and we would like to see if you could help.

Back in May, we took his truck down to the local garage where the front rotors were turned and new brake pads were installed. Within about a week, a billow of black brake dust came out from the front tires with the smell of burned brakes. (This was during a regular stop.) After that, the brake dust kept the rims blackened. (He would wash it off, and within two to three days, they were black again.)

If the truck was driven and the brakes applied about four to five times, the rotors and rims would get extremely hot. (You could also smell the brake pads burning. It'd smell like people burning up brakes going down the mountains.) It got to the point, when he'd apply the brakes, the brake pedal would go to the floor and hardly stop.

By July, we returned the truck to the mechanic and told them the problems and asked for them to be checked out. Another set of brake pads was installed and the calipers were cleaned. The problems are still continuing and we checked out the lines and found no air in them. The problem is within the front brakes only. The back ones work just fine.

Could you help us figure this problem out? Could it be the calipers? Any help you can give us would be much appreciated.

If the truck has ABS, I would have the ABS pump checked for proper operation/pressure. Other than that, I would switch to a different brand brake pad. Not all pads are created equal. Some pads work better than others do in certain applications. You will generally get a lot of dust build up with the less expensive brand of pads. The set I use costs around $35 and lasts me 15,000 miles in a 6000 pound truck in heavy stop and go traffic. If it was more normal driving, they would last double that. Additionally, they don't start dusting until it is close to the time to change them.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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