A: Have you ever noticed that the labor time for bleeding brakes is 0.6 to as high as 1.1? It’s a money maker, sure, but the guys coming up with the labor time are not assuming that all you have is a guy stepping on the brake pedal and another guy with a 10mm wrench loosening the bleeder. However, when you do calipers (or bleed a clutch master cylinder), stepping on it just does not cut it sometimes.
This is when you need a powered brake flush machine. It cuts down on manpower to do a bleed/flush because it adds pressure to the master cylinder (through the use of an adapter), so that way you don’t have to step on anything. Again, this is not a sales pitch for a machine. It’s just that sometimes after a caliper job or brake lines, no amount of stepping on it will bleed the car right. These machines exist for a purpose, and aside from acting as a labor-saving device, this is one of them.
Also, watch out on certain vehicles where you will need to activate the ABS pump with a scan tool to get the job done.
Q: I have too many brake comebacks, what should I do?
A: Most of the time, unless workmanship is grossly deficient, comebacks are the result of parts defects. Brakes shake even with new rotors and squeak with new brake pads. Sound familiar?
There are a few ways you can correct this. You can try to compensate for the parts with quality workmanship (i.e., sanding down the hubs, cleaning and lubricating the shims, etc.), but you should be doing these things anyway. You can also employ the use of brake lathes.
Last but not least, try to upsell the customer on quality brake pads. For an extra $40, you can tell them, your brakes won’t squeak. OE brake pads from Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Ford all tend to sell to the customer for $60 to $80 a pair.