How-To TM3, LR RWD, once a year DIY brake caliper lubrication/inspection

Mike

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
2,261
Location
Batawa Ontario
Country
Country
#1
Hi all,

I'm approaching my first anniversary of ownership and wish to remove the calipers for an annual inspection/lubrication (of the sliders).

Taking a look at the information out there so far:

Thanks to @MountainPass for the excellent rear brake caliper/parking brake details here: https://teslaownersonline.com/threa...y-rear-brake-pad-replacement.9049/post-158415

Thanks to @chiapet15 for the caliper bolt torque specs as detailed here: https://teslaownersonline.com/threads/brake-caliper-bolt-torque.9611/post-192998

I'm looking for any other information that I could collect here for a solid procedure for doing a brake caliper lubrication/inspection.

Thanks

Cheers.
 

Dale Gardner

Active Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2017
Messages
123
Location
Detroit, Michigan
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#4
curious @Mike, is this something that is typically done in salty places? I've never considered such a thing in annual maintenance - but don't deal with corrosion where I am either.
I live in a heavily salted area and never heard of this (removing calipers, lubricating sliders annually). Certainly never done it on my vehicles. Of course the brakes should be visually inspected (no need to remove any parts) when rotating the tires to make sure everything looks good. :)
 

DanSz

Active Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
58
Location
BFE
Tesla Owner
No
Country
Country
#6
Cleaning sliders and re-lubricating pins, etc. is something that can be done on EVs to prevent issues due to the fact that their brakes don't get used as thoroughly as gasmobiles due to regen.

The more rain and snow ones drives through, the more likely those calipers are going to seize on the slider pins. It's not typically in any manufacturer recommendations.

You know what else isn't recommended? When to actually service or replace the pads or rotors! It's always "Inspect and Service as necessary".
 

android04

Active Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
94
Location
Crete, NE
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#7
I bookmarked this video on lubricating the brake parts for a Tesla Model S for when I have to do it on my Model 3. The brake parts won't be exactly the same, but the method will be the same.
Actually just realized that that video is newer and I haven't seen it yet. But this is the video that I saw a while back from the same account.
 
Last edited:

Ed Woodrick

Top-Contributor
Joined
May 25, 2018
Messages
624
Location
Atlanta, GA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#9
Cleaning sliders and re-lubricating pins, etc. is something that can be done on EVs to prevent issues due to the fact that their brakes don't get used as thoroughly as gasmobiles due to regen.

The more rain and snow ones drives through, the more likely those calipers are going to seize on the slider pins. It's not typically in any manufacturer recommendations.

You know what else isn't recommended? When to actually service or replace the pads or rotors! It's always "Inspect and Service as necessary".
I would have thought that the Tesla implementation of brakes would cause a full travel action for every stop, therefore moving the lubricants around and cleaning the shafts.
 

garsh

Dis Member
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
10,816
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#10
curious @Mike, is this something that is typically done in salty places? I've never considered such a thing in annual maintenance - but don't deal with corrosion where I am either.
I never considered doing any sort of preventative maintenance like this on my brakes (unless they became squeaky, then I tried to lube them to remove the squeaking).

But then I tried to replace the pads & rotors on my Nissan Leaf after 5 years. I was able to get the fronts apart and completely replaced. But I found it impossible to remove the rear caliper bracket. Too much corrosion had built up. I broke a wrench and a socket before giving up and just replacing the brake pads. So I think I'm going to start removing calipers annually, knocking off any rust, and adding a little bit of anti-seize to the bolts before putting them back.
 

mswlogo

Top-Contributor
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
697
Location
MA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#11
I never considered doing any sort of preventative maintenance like this on my brakes (unless they became squeaky, then I tried to lube them to remove the squeaking).

But then I tried to replace the pads & rotors on my Nissan Leaf after 5 years. I was able to get the fronts apart and completely replaced. But I found it impossible to remove the rear caliper bracket. Too much corrosion had built up. I broke a wrench and a socket before giving up and just replacing the brake pads. So I think I'm going to start removing calipers annually, knocking off any rust, and adding a little bit of anti-seize to the bolts before putting them back.
Squeaky brakes isn’t prevented by annual “lube”. It’s a special plate (I don’t know the material, teflon or something) that comes on the back of the pads that sits between the back of the pad and the piston. At least that’s how it’s been on conventional brakes I’ve done for eons.

The pieces that are actually lubed should be weather tight.

There are guides that pads slide on that often rusts up that should normally be cleaned up when replacing pads. But like someone said. If they are “worked” they should be ok.
 

garsh

Dis Member
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
10,816
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#12
Squeaky brakes isn’t prevented by annual “lube”. It’s a special plate (I don’t know the material, teflon or something) that comes on the back of the pads that sits between the back of the pad and the piston. At least that’s how it’s been on conventional brakes I’ve done for eons.
Squeaking is just caused by metal vibrating. So when it starts happening, I remove the pads and clips, clean them off, and put a little grease on them (just back of the brake pads) just to stop the vibrations.
 

Dale Gardner

Active Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2017
Messages
123
Location
Detroit, Michigan
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#13
Cleaning sliders and re-lubricating pins, etc. is something that can be done on EVs to prevent issues due to the fact that their brakes don't get used as thoroughly as gasmobiles due to regen.

The more rain and snow ones drives through, the more likely those calipers are going to seize on the slider pins. It's not typically in any manufacturer recommendations.
Disagree, there shouldn't be any issue here. I drive through plenty of rain and snow, never had calipers seize up on me. And the less wear on the brakes due to regen is a very good thing (not a detriment as you seem to be stating). Look at Prius forums for example. Maybe just use the brakes every so often if you're worried about them sitting too long. That seems easier to me than taking the brakes apart. :rolleyes:

You know what else isn't recommended? When to actually service or replace the pads or rotors! It's always "Inspect and Service as necessary".
That's because there is way too much variance to state "replace at xxxxx miles, or xx months". Same reason tire replacement isn't specified.

Somebody driving really hard can wear through the brakes fairly quickly, compared to someone doing highway driving and using mostly regen. Pads simply need to be replaced when they wear down to a certain level. All brake pads have built-in wear indicators as well. They will start squealing (by design) when they need to be replaced. :)

Rotors can last a very long time. Especially on a Tesla with regen braking, they should pretty much be a lifetime part. Sometimes they may wear a bit unevenly or get some pitting. If this is the case: when doing brake maintenance such as changing pads/fluid, you can also have the rotors resurfaced to restore them to a nice, smooth finish. :cool:
 
3

32967

Guest
#15
Great input from folks, and as always YMMV.

By coincidence, came across this yesterday (from https://electrek.co/2019/03/22/tesl...ram-focuses-of-ev-requiring-less-maintenance/)

View attachment 23811
Thank you for posting this. My car is in service right now and they offered me a $500 credit towards maintenance instead of correcting the paint issues. I asked them what I'm really looking to do within the next 2 years as my car only has 1k miles on it.

The rep was really nice and listed off most of this info and so I asked him would you take the credit if it was your car? he said no. But he stressed in salty areas annual brake service is recommended.

My buddy is a Honda master tech and has beaten caliper service into my head for years. We do it every spring on all my family's cars. With as easy as the M3 pads are to remove I'm all in for regular lube after salt season is over
 

ADK46

Top-Contributor
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
529
Location
Adirondacks, NY
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
#16
When one of my old cars has developed a brake problem, I always wish I'd paid them more attention. It's always a corrosion issue, and often because I don't brake hard enough to scrape rust off the rotors. At least once, most recently on a 15-year-old pickup, it was because the bits that need to slide stopped sliding. In theory, nothing should corrode on the pins - they run within boots, in grease. I'm vaguely aware of different brake caliper designs that slide in different ways....

I plan to do some serious cleaning underneath once the salt and sand season is over (looking promising today). I'm not sure I'll go so far as to remove the calipers, not this year anyway.
 
3

32967

Guest
#17
I plan to do some serious cleaning underneath once the salt and sand season is over (looking promising today). I'm not sure I'll go so far as to remove the calipers, not this year anyway.
You won't need to remove them. There are pins that hold the pads in place. These Brembo brakes work different than a standard brake caliper setup. Pop the pins, drop the pads out, lube the slides, replace. Should take just a few minutes
 

DanSz

Active Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
58
Location
BFE
Tesla Owner
No
Country
Country
#18
Well, that answers that. It would be nice if Tesla actually published their service instructions so people could do the work themselves or have third party shops do it. JFC, they are just brakes!
 

Mike

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
2,261
Location
Batawa Ontario
Country
Country
#20
Well, that answers that. It would be nice if Tesla actually published their service instructions so people could do the work themselves or have third party shops do it. JFC, they are just brakes!
I emailed the closest Tesla facility asking for the brake caliper lub procedure last week........no reply.