Drying brakes after going through water - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Drying brakes after going through water

Normally, after driving through a large puddle or water that splashes the brakes, you'd tap the brakes to dry them out before you relied on them to really stop. Even the Bolt's manual recommends this (pg 195). But it got me to thinking: would the instruction to "lightly apply the brake pedal" would actually trigger only regen braking? Or, does the Bolt apply the friction brakes "lightly" ever time the brake pedal is pressed, even if we think it's using 100% regen braking to slow us? If not, I don't see how to squeeze the water out, short of actual hard braking. Unless the Bolt periodically self-applies the brakes specifically for this purpose. I believe my old car did that, but I don't think I saw the Bolt manual mention this.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 02:43 PM
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Regenerative breaking works best when the Bolt EV is moving at high or moderate speeds. So try several low speed brakings and step hard on the pedal so the hydraulic system is active.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 03:44 PM
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 09:52 PM
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I wouldn't really worry too much about it.. at slower speeds you could just lightly place your foot on the brakes and that should be good.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 10:45 PM
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I didn't even know you had to dry brakes after getting them wet. I've never done that with any of my cars and they seemed to work fine.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 02:12 AM
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I didn't even know you had to dry brakes after getting them wet.
You're obviously not a cyclist.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 05:00 PM
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I didn't even know you had to dry brakes after getting them wet. I've never done that with any of my cars and they seemed to work fine.
Cold brakes that get wet will initially perform noticeably worse momentarily. The water is quickly scrubbed and steamed off. It can be a bit of an issue when your traveling fast, like on the freeway and suddenly have to stop. There will be a bit of a delay before your brakes become 100% effective, so in a critical emergency stop it will cost you some stopping distance. It's really not that big of a deal and I don't worry about it much myself, but I am aware of it.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 07:19 PM
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I got my drivers license in 1979- I was unlucky enough to have a few vehicles with drum breaks (at least on the rear axle).
With those abominations you had to "ride them" (by keeping them partially applied with your left foot while you maintained speed with your right foot on the gas pedal) through puddles otherwise you literally had no brakes coming out of puddles
With the open design of disc brakes, the water is slung off the rotors as soon as you get up to speed so loss of brake effectiveness much less noticeable vs, old style drum brakes.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:04 AM
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I personally have never had an issue with brakes getting wet..

When you first get in and make the first stop it could feel slightly less effective but that's pretty much about it. This shouldn't really be a concern at all.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:07 PM
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As someone who's been driving the Bolt in the Vancouver area for 2-1/2 months (which have mostly been record setting for rain) I can confidently say you don't need to worry about drying the brakes. Firstly the heavy regen will contribute a lot to a panic stop, so by the time you get into the friction brakes you're getting into them pretty hard which will quickly clear them. Secondly I'm pretty confident that they have a special soft compound in those pads knowing that they'll rarely get used and need to be effective when cold and wet, especially since premature wear is not an issue. Thirdly, with the reduced traction on these LRR tires having absolute stopping power from the brakes is kind of a moot point anyway. If there's anything in that printed manual saying to dab the brakes periodically I think it's most likely remnants from old manuals that someone was too lazy to proof-read and remove. As we've seen, GM is not exactly starting from a clean slate with their paper documentation around this car so copy and paste errors are numerous. IME driving in wet conditions with very long stretches between friction brake application I've never noticed any reduced stopping power due to wet / cold pads which I'm quite familiar with in my other cars. On the odd occasion that I've had to get on the binders the grab was always immediate. Besides even if you wanted to, you'd have to hit the brakes hard enough to get through the regenerative braking (which is pretty hard) and at sufficient speed to actually CLEAR the rotors, which a "light pedal application" will not do.

TLDR, don't worry about it. Just enjoy the regenerative braking saving you from turning costly energy into brake dust
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