Why Do My New Brakes Smell Like Burning Rubber? (Fix Now)

The brake system is the ground reality of every automobile and your safety. However, despite taking safety measures, these brake systems can malfunction. Regarding that, when you deploy a new brake system into your vehicle, it sometimes smells odd.

There can be a lot of reasons for new brakes to smell, and they can take a toll on your vehicle. In this article, we will explore all the reasons behind the new brake smell so that you can identify underlying problems. So, let’s get to it:

Why Do My New Brakes Smell Like Burning Rubber

Causes of Burning Rubber Smell of New Brakes  

Why do new brakes smell like burning rubber? The burning rubber smell of the new brake system can be due to the following reasons. 

  • Curation of coating in the pads and rotors
  • Bad bedding process
  • Stuck brake caliper
  • Particles in the brake pads and rotors

Here, I will be discussing the reasons for the smell, like burning rubber of new brakes, and will give their potential solutions. 

Coat on the New Brake Pads and Rotors:

When the brakes are new, the coating material of the pads gets transferred to the brake rotors. Like the pads, the new rotors also hold rust-inhibitor coating. When you press the brake, the friction between the rotor and the pads creates heat. 

The heat on the pads and rotors burns the coats on both pads and the rotors and causes the new brake to settle. As a result, it’s pretty normal that you will get a burning rubber-like smell from your new brakes. 

Read Also: Brake Pad Rubbing On Rotor While Driving – How To Fix?

Bad Bedding Process

When you install new brakes, they will go through a break-in period. At this time, the bedding or break-in process must be even. 

If the brake pads or the rotors aren’t installed evenly, the rotors and the pads will friction unevenly. As a result, your brakes will be overheating. This will create the smell of burning rubber. 

The uneven bedding can cause other issues like vehicle shaking, varying the level of pulsing in the brake pedal, and steering vibration. 

Stuck Brake Caliper

Sometimes, inefficient installation of new brakes can impact the brake calipers. As a result, the brake calipers can get stuck, and they can’t release clamping force on the pads. 

The stuck caliper can then keep the pads on the rotor constantly and create uneven friction. This will create a burning smell in your new brake pads.

The main issue with stuck calipers is a jammed piston, which can’t be released during the pressing and depressing of the brake pedal. 

Read Also: How To Free a Stuck Brake Caliper Piston?(11 Steps Guide)

Particles in Brake Pads and Rotors

Due to the inefficient installation of new brakes, dirt and debris can stick to the brake pads and rotors. While running and you press the brake, those particles can create additional heat particularly. 

As a result, the heat created in the pads and rotors can smell like burning rubber. 

Read Also: When or How Often to Replace Brake Rotors?(Common Signs)

How to Address the New Brakes Smell Issue?

As with any other problem with your vehicle, this one also needs to identify the specific cause. If you find the root cause of the burning rubber smell from the brakes, you can determine the appropriate action to address this problem. Here is how to do it:

Allow Time for the Curation of Coating

Curing the coating from the brake pads and rotors is a normal process. So, this is actually not an issue at all. 

Allow some time, and your brakes will stop smelling after the coat on the brake pads and rotors cure entirely. 

Check the Brakes Bedding Process:

Brake bedding or brakes’ initial break-in is essential for optimal brake functioning. Since it ensures proper friction material transfer to rotors, you should check if it’s done right.

The brake bedding process involves specific steps that, if not executed properly, can result in problems like a burning rubber smell. The brake bedding process involves:

  1. Break-In: When you use your brake system, initially, you should start by gently applying the brakes at low speeds and gradually increasing the pressure. Why? Because this creates an even layer of friction material on the rotor surface.
  2. Moderate Stops: You should not overspeed your vehicle and suddenly pull the brakes. Instead, doing a series of moderate stops from medium speeds would be best. With this, your vehicle will generate a fair amount of heat and evenly transfer the friction material.
  3. Cool Down: Whenever you stop your vehicle, let it cool down so it doesn’t overheat and warp the rotors.
  4. Avoid Heavy Braking: When your vehicle is in its running phase or the bedding process, avoid sudden or heavy braking. Why? Because it can unevenly transfer the pad material.
  5. Avoid Excessive Speed: During the break-in period of the new brake, don’t overspend your car. By the way, avoid excessive speed at times. 
  6. Don’t Overload the Vehicle: Your vehicle must have a maximum loading capacity. So, don’t exceed the loading capacity of your car. It will create more pressure in the braking system, which can create overheating. 

You should review those steps and check if you followed them correctly. You should repeat the process if you notice that your vehicle’s brakes are not appropriately bedded.

You should keep the load less than the maximum load capacity of your vehicle. Consult the user manual of the car, or consult the dealership to learn the maximum load capacity of your car. 

Moreover, here is a video showing proper brake system bedding.

Fix the Stuck Brake Caliper

If the brake caliper piston is stuck, you have to unstuck them. The best method to unstick the pistons in the caliper is to use high air pressure. Here, you have to use a minimum of 2,500 to 3,000 psi air pressure. 

To unstick the calipers, follow the steps below. 

  • Step 1: Jack up your car.
  • Step 2: Remove the caliper from the car using a ratchet.
  • Step 3: Now, put the caliper on a surface and attach an air-pressure hose to the caliper hose.
  • Step 4: Apply air pressure to the caliper. Keep applying the pressure. The piston will come out gradually. 

You can see how air pressure is used to unstick the brake caliper piston in the following video. 

Clean the Rotors and Pads for Particles on Them

If there are particles on the rotors and pads, you have to clean the rotors and the pads to remove the particles. To do so, remove the calipers, then remove the pads from the calipers. 

You can wash the pads with mild detergent or soap and then rinse the pads thoroughly. You also can use brake cleaners (Our Pick) as well. 

Also, do the same for the rotors. Use a clean rag to wipe off the water from the rotor. After washing them thoroughly, re-install the calipers on the rotors. 

Seek Professional Assistance If Necessary:

As I mentioned before, some reasons for the burning rubber smell are natural. So, you don’t need to do anything for them but allow time. On the other hand, if the issue is continuously happening and not fixed automatically, you should seek professional help.

What are Some Preventive Measures for New Brakes Smell Problems?

Although new brakes are prone to emanating smell, if you follow the below preventive measures, you get the best brake performance. Here are some of the preventive measures.

  • Regardless of your vehicle condition (new or old), it would help if you implemented a routine brake maintenance schedule. You should inspect, clean, and do necessary replacements during this inspection. 
  • You should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations regarding brake pad selection, bedding process, and maintenance intervals. 
  • If you encounter any changes in brake performance, such as reduced responsiveness, unusual noises, or persistent burning rubber smells, you should check it. Seeking professional help is recommended. 


Whenever you encounter a burning rubber-like smell from your new brake system, you should understand the reasons behind it first. New brakes sometimes smell if they don’t correctly break in or excessive heat generation. Most of the reasons are normal for new brakes. 

You should adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations and monitor brake performance. You also need to seek professional assistance to get a reliable and safe braking system if you suspect the reason is severe. 

Remember, proper brake maintenance and prompt attention to concerns are essential for optimal performance and a smooth driving experience.

Similar Posts