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Brake Lathe Maintenance Tips  

A brake lathe machine is an essential piece of equipment for repair and tire shops. They not only resurface brake rotors, but they also machine vehicle brake drums. Like any shop equipment, especially those used most often, you need to ensure that it is appropriately maintained so it will function at its best. A properly maintained brake lathe will not only provide an accurate cut, but it will also correctly resurface brake rotors. Most well-maintained brake lathes will last years, if not decades.

Mechanic shops have either on-car lathes (which are reliable and efficient) or off-car lathes, which are also reliable but require removing the rotor from the car. Regardless of which type of brake lathe machine you have in your shop, it’s imperative to keep a consistent maintenance schedule.

Why You Need to Maintain Your Brake Lathe Machines Daily

Your brake lathe is often used for up to seven or eight hours daily. Unfortunately, this kind of daily use can cause an accumulation of metal chips, rust, brake dust, and dirt. So, frequent inspection and daily cleaning are imperative. Without daily cleaning, the metal chips, dirt, brake dust, and rust can build up and harden in your brake lathe machine. Once this happens, the machine can malfunction.

Also, it’s essential to inspect the protective boots covering the spindles and crossfeed mechanisms to avoid cracking or torn parts that allow highly abrasive particles into the lathe. If these particles get into your brake lathe, it can have disastrous consequences.

In addition, you also need to check and clean your brake lathe adapters daily, as dirty adapters can cause a rotor or drum to be improperly mounted. If you don’t clean the adapters, you may accidentally mount a drum or rotor crooked, causing it to be cut unevenly. This mistake will cost you money and time, and you may also have to throw away the miscut rotor or drum. A simple cleaning could prevent this from happening, as keeping the brake lathe parts clean is much easier than accidentally ruining the drum or rotors.

What To Look for During the Maintenance Process

Disconnect the power

Before cleaning or inspecting your brake lathe, it’s essential to disconnect the lathe from the power source and lock all moving parts. It’s also imperative to wear eye protection and protective clothing if you are doing repairs or making adjustments.

Check for missing, damaged, or worn parts

The first step during brake lathe maintenance is to check for missing, damaged, or worn parts, including protective covers or grips. In any of those cases, replacement parts are necessary before using the lathe again. Otherwise, you may risk injury, damage to the machine, or damage to the rotors or drums.

Examine the tool bit

The lathe’s tool bit dramatically impacts the finish of a drum or rotor. A dull tool bit can leave a rough finish, causing poor brake performance, quick brake pad wear, and brake noise. Conversely, a tool bit in good condition will produce a smooth finish on your rotors and drums. If your tool bit is worn down, it’s a good idea to replace it for maximum performance.

Inspect fasteners, covers, and guards

Another essential step is to ensure all fasteners are tightened securely and all covers and guards are in place. A loose fastener could cause significant problems.

Check the brake lathe’s oil level

With the proper amount of oil, your brake lathe will work correctly, avoiding a slowdown in your work day. Therefore, checking your oil level and refilling it as necessary is imperative.

Look at the condition of the silencing devices

Another thing that’s easy to forget is checking the rubber silencing bands on the silencing devices. These rubber bands need to be checked for tears or rips, as the last thing you want to happen during machining is a flying silencing band. Not only can it injure the operator, but it can also damage the lathe. So, replacing the bands is vital if they show any wear and tear.

Examine the safety decals

Ensure any damaged or missing safety decals on your brake lathe are placed. Then, you can order new ones as necessary from the manufacturer.

How to Clean A Brake Lathe Machine

Don’t use compressed air

Cleaning your brake lathe is just as important as inspecting the parts for wear and tear. But first, don’t use compressed air to clean debris or dirt from the brake lathe. While it may seem like an easy solution, you don’t want metal chips flying around the area and getting into machined parts or injuring the shop’s employees.

Clean the outside of the machine

Using a simple degreaser, thoroughly clean the outside of the lathe. Some mechanic shops use WD-40 or its equivalent to protect against rust.

Clean the adapters

It’s also essential to clean the adapters once you remove them from the arbors, especially the inboard adapter. This adapter sometimes has metal chips fall into its opening, causing uneven mounting for the next rotor or drum. Again, using a brush to clean the adapters is the best choice for a thorough cleaning.

Ensure the tool bit holder is clean

The tool bit holder is one thing that mechanics often miss when cleaning their brake lathe. Removing any chips or burrs from the bottom of the tool bit holder and the slot where it’s mounted is essential.

SVI International Has The Parts You Need!

Regardless of your brake lathe manufacturer, SVI International likely has the necessary repair parts to give your lathe a lifetime of machining. We offer nuts, adapters, silencer bands, tool holders, and brake lathe bits from numerous manufacturers. Plus, you’ll be able to receive the parts quickly with our three “Ready Ship” warehouses strategically located across the United States. In addition, we offer same-day shipping, so you can avoid extended downtime and keep your business going! Finally, our same-day shipping is a fraction of the cost of most other automotive equipment repair parts suppliers.

So, let SVI International be your equipment repair parts partner! Our forty years of experience can protect you from downtime, your employees from potential injury, and your customers from an extended return time. So, request a quote from us today – we look forward to hearing from you!

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