Powerful Stuff: Recent Teen Accident Shines Light on Teen Driving Class Column - Tire Review Magazine

Powerful Stuff: Recent Teen Accident Shines Light on Teen Driving Class Column

Recent Teen Accident Shines Light on Teen Driving Class Column

Your editorial (First Off, November 2007) was very powerful and struck a chord with me since a 17-year-old girl (without a drivers license) was killed in a horrific accident here the other day. She was speeding with a car full of kids and the rest were all seriously injured. How sad and how unnecessary. 

Although I didn’t know her family or any of the other families, I was deeply saddened and bothered about it. I hope any reader with teenaged kids at home takes the time to share your editorial with them. I plan on sharing it with my wife this evening.

Thanks for writing it. Too bad you had to.

Harvey Brodsky

Managing Director

Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau/TRIB

Pacific Grove, CA 

‘Math’ Doesn’t Add Up

I write very few letters to editors, but occasionally the mood strikes me, especially when the logic behind the article is not, in my humble opinion, based on the latest and best practices. 

I am the product manager of Pro-Cut International. With all the focus, technology and passion we put into that product, we believe that we can answer all of the above questions while addressing the statements of fact, as well. I’ve read your article “Brake Business Math” (IQ Service, December 2007) and I would like to discuss a few of the points.

 In the first paragraph, you mention that rotor replacement has become more cost-effective, which all of us can admit based on the influx of inexpensive off-shore rotors. Therefore, as your argument goes, replacement is a simple matter for the Subaru Forester test case you cited. 

Nowhere in the article do I see you mention confirming that lateral run-out is within specification for this brake job ROI example. Without addressing excessive lateral run-out upon installation of this inexpensive option, OEMs (both foreign and domestic) agree that within 5,000-7,000 miles, interference with the brake pad will cause thickness variation, which will, in turn, result in pedal pulsation. 

When taken into account, even an experienced technician could easily add another 15 minutes to dial indicate the rotors to confirm that they are within manufacturer spec. If, and this happens fairly often in my experience, the rotors are not within spec in their current phase on the studs, the nuts will have to be removed, the rotor position changed, and the process repeated until the run-out is reduced to at or below spec. 

The second issue is the time allowance for machining. Although I agree with your time for a bench lathe, I know that Forester rotors can be machined in less than 10 minutes per rotor, and they will be within all manufacturer specs for parallelism, thickness variation, lateral run-out and surface finish. 

Now onto the “Qualitative Differences” section. The assertion that “…a resurfaced rotor will likely end up at or near the discard specification and clearly won’t have the mirror-like finish of the new rotor” is one I think I can argue based on the actual manufacturer specifications again. 

First, on the usable life of brake rotors from new to discard: we have created a complete database of these specs, as well as other critical brake specifications, and when I compare new to discard from 1980 to present, I found that wear/machining material has actually increased over time when plotted on a graph. Now, clearly, we cannot put material back on a rotor, but given the quality of an OE rotor vs. that of an inexpensive off-shore rotor, I think we do the customer a disservice by not attempting to save the rotor that was not only specifically tested and passed the FMVSS, but was also engineered to provide safe, effective stopping right down to the discard limit. 

I agree that when compared to antiquated methods and when not considering lateral run-out as an important factor (as the OEMs do), the ROI case for rotor replacement is easy to make. However, when one uses the newest technology available, when stocking costs and availability issues are taken into account, when captured rotors are considered, when manufacturer’s stringent specifications are taken into account, a new equation emerges. 

In our ROI equation, we include something that many of our customers are now doing: charging for rotor matching as a separate and distinct, value-added service. Sound far-fetched? We don’t think so, given that folks now pay extra for things like road force balancing, transmission flush vs. drain/refill, and brake fluid flush vs. not doing it at all. Doing a better job for the customer, and adding profit to a professional shop’s bottom line is, after all, what we in the aftermarket should be striving to achieve.


Geoff Womer

Product Manager

Pro-Cut International

West Lebanon, NH

Gary Goms’ story cited here by Mr. Womer did not address the effectiveness or practicality of rotor resurfacing. Rather, the article focused on the decisions service writers have to face when helping consumers make the best possible choice with regard to brake service. – Ed.

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