Skip To Content Skip To Menu

safe r brakes x

Building on a known brand

There's a wealth of history revealed in a tour of Safe R Brakes in central Christchurch.

MTA Member Profile: Safe R Brakes

Protecting the name

Safe R Brakes celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and its 12 staff lay claim to a total of 200 years' of experience.

The business was set up shortly after the end of World War II by ex-RNZAF friends Ian Hamilton and Alan Shepherd. They saw an opportunity for a brake and clutch specialist in the city and kitted the first premises out with specialist equipment imported from the USA.

The company has had just four owners over the years and was moved to its current site on the corner of Fitzgerald Avenue and Tuam Street in 1968.

The latest owners are John and Annette Begg, who say the company appealed because it was so well known and respected. They’re keen to continue its tradition as a specialist brake repairer and parts supplier and also to grow the business.

safe r brakes 9

BROADENING OUT

John says, “Specialisation is the way of the future, not just the past. We have a fantastic customer base but we can build that up by focusing on specific groups.” For example he’s particularly targeting enthusiasts' cars, motorhomes and small commercial vehicles.

John and Annette are also looking for ways to add value to the business.

They have invested in a new lathe that will be delivered soon. “Our current lathes are good, but the new lathe is bigger and will handle disc rotors up to 550 mm diameter and drums up to 700 mm says John. "Rotors are getting bigger and we’ve had to turn away jobs because we didn’t have a lathe this size, so we’re very excited that one will be here shortly.”

Last year, they added a tyre service, Safe R Tyres. “We noticed that there were a number of cars coming into the workshop which had failed their brake warrants but had also failed on tyres. So it made sense to be able to offer to fit new tyres while we were doing the brakes.” John says it’s working for them, despite their being several other tyre outlets within close proximity.

“We have also just launched a service to powder-coat brake callipers for customers who want to make a bit of a fashion statement with their wheels.” He’s done a deal with a nearby specialist coating company who’ll apply the coating once Safe R Brakes has done the prep work.

After 70 years in Christchurch, Safe R Brakes has a well known and trusted name. Many of Canterbury’s general repairers send work through for specialist attention and some have been customers for over 50 years.

“We are not a franchise, although at one time there were four branches of the business in Christchurch. We’re known for our highly skilled and knowledgeable staff who’re able to diagnose and fix just about anything brake-related. If it’s machining drums and rotors, relining shoes, rebuilding cables, reconditioning brake hydraulics, custom manufacture of brake pipes and hoses, it all comes through here.”

safe r brakes morrie bones

Diagnostic expert

Maurie Bone has 34 years behind him at the company and specialises in reconditioning hydraulic components. He has a wealth of experience and uses online sources and manfacturers’ information to keep up with the changes in technology. “Brake parts these days have a lot more components to them that they used to, along with the electronic sensors and so on.”



Well known to the locals

After 70 years in Christchurch, Safe R Brakeshas a well known and trusted name. Many of Canterbury’s general repairers send work through for specialist attention and some have been customers for over 50 years. “We are not a franchise, although at one time there were four branches of the business in Christchurch. We’re known for our highly skilled and knowledgeable staff who’re able to diagnose and fix just about anything brake-related. If it’s machining drums and rotors, relining shoes, rebuilding cables, reconditioning brake hydraulics, custom manufacture of brake pipes and hoses, it all comes through here.”

safe r brakes Neil Grant

Daily challenges

Neil ‘Ginge’ Grant is into his 35th year with Safe R Brakes and reckons there’s always something different to challenge him each day. “We get the interesting jobs and I enjoy the work.” He’s a specialist brake engineer and is seen here mounting a disc on a lathe to be machined.