Brake Removal Tools
- Special tools are needed for precise brake job repair.Car Brake image by Joelyn Pullano from Fotolia.com
A number of brake tools, some specialized, have to be used to cover most brake repair applications. Ordinary basic tools can take the repairman just so far until he runs into problems, leading to brake jobs that could last a full day or two instead of a few hours. Brake tools have special, unique designs that allow them to enter tight areas, to unscrew difficult bolts and line fittings and remove tight, hard-to-reach retaining springs. Knowing which tools to have on hand can save the owner a lot of grief and time.
Lifting Devices and Stands
- Floor jacks have the optimum stability and safety features necessary to hoist heavy vehicles into the air. Standard bumper and small hydraulic jacks can be useful, but their use should be applied with safety in mind. The floor jack, rated at 1/2 to 2 tons serves well for lifting any vehicle one axle at a time.
Jack stands should be used to keep the vehicle elevated and stable. They come with adjustable settings for different height allowances.
Wheel Removal Tools
- The tires must be removed, so lug wrenches like the dog-leg or star pattern designs serve well when removing the wheels for brake repair. The star pattern lug wrench provides extra leverage and has multiple lug nut sockets on each end.
Socket Set and Socket Wrenches
- Some calipers require hex or star-head type sockets to remove them.brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from Fotolia.com
Socket sets and wrenches provide an adequate selection of sizes when different bolts or nuts need to be removed. The 3/8-drive variety has enough versatility for most brake jobs, but for larger trucks and RVs, the 1/2-inch set and wrench comes in handy for the larger components. Sometimes special sockets must be used that have hex- or star-pattern type heads, when working on calipers.
Brake Spring Tools
- Brake shoe retaining spring tools have circular ends with inside gripping edges designed for removing the round retaining springs. Easy to operate, turning and twisting the tool releases the slotted lock washer. Some brake shoe retaining spring tools come in double-head designs, allowing for different size spring removals.
The Pliers type spring tool has a curved head on one side and a leverage hook on the other. They can be used to remove the long brake shoe springs that hold the shoes together or the emergency brake cable spring.
Brake Line Wrenches
- Brake line wrenches have special head designs that provide sure-grip when removing brake lines from the back of wheel cylinders and disc brake calipers. They come in a variety of off-angle sizes to permit easy access and extra leverage. Small brake line wrenches will also fit the bleeder valve fitting on rear drum and front disk brakes. They eliminate nut stripping by providing a full six-head grip design for extra torque and safety.
Drill Motors and Hones
- The hand-held drill motor provides rotational speed, and with a sanding head affixed, can clean the bores of wheel cylinders with accuracy and safety. Variable speed drills insure the proper rotational speed with a high-speed or low-speed selector switch. Hones come in flexible, one-piece sanding balls or can be found with a flexible three-head configuration. Simply moving them in and out of a wheel cylinder bore cleans up the inside surface.
Brake Adjusting Tools
- Brake adjusters or "spoons" come in many off-angle and length sizes. Their design permits them to fit through adjusting slots either from the backing plate side or from the front through a notch in the drum. They have slim, sometimes sharp blades that allow them to grip and turn the adjusting stars on most brakes.
- Needle-nose pliers have a special use when it comes to removing some of the smaller end springs found on brake shoes. They can also be used to remove the horseshoe clip on the emergency brake lever arm adjuster. Lacking a spring retainer removal tool, they can also twist the end caps off of the main brake shoe springs.
- The inside micrometer measures the inside diameter of brake drums in thousandths of an inch. They detect how much metal material has remained on the brake drum during inspection. The outside micrometer measures in the same fashion, only it determines the thickness of the front brake disc rotor. Both precision instruments can determine if a drum or disc has lost too much surface area. Each manufacturer sets the specifications for its brake drum and disc products and recommends the use of precision micrometers.