How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide

How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide

You must regularly check brake pads for damage and wear. Brake pads that are worn out make it dangerous for your car to stop quickly. So, how to check brake pads? Below will tell you the lifespan of brake pads, the cost to replace brake pads, and how to make brake pads last longer.

We will show you to check your brake pads without removing the wheel, check brake pads by removing the wheel, and recognize the symptoms of worn brake pads. Keep reading.

What Are Your Brake Pads?

We don’t profess to be auto mechanics, but we have enough first-hand knowledge and Google image research prowess to describe brake pads to you and show you how they function within the larger braking system of a car.

There are a few key interconnected components in a typical brake system. A sizable round brake disc is located in the center. There are two brake pads on either side of the brake disc, and the brake caliper holds them firmly in place. When you apply pressure to the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid is whooshed through the caliper by pistons, causing the brake pads to closely contact the brake discs. Friction is produced as a result, slowing the car down until it stops.

It sounds pretty simple but it’s important that all the pieces are in good working order to work efficiently. You don’t want to be dealing with brake failure because it will result in an instant MOT failure at best and a serious car accident at worst.

How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide
How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide

How to Check Brake Pads?

Here are the details:

Check Your Brake Pads Without Removing the Wheel

The brake pad is visible through the wheel holes on a lot of cars. You must ascertain the brake pad’s thickness in order to check its life. For a clear view of the brake pad, you might need a flashlight. It’s time to get new pads if the old ones appear thin, are less than 4 millimeters thick, or only have 20% of their original life left. On some brake pads, you might see a metal wear indicator tab down the side of the pad. It’s time for new brake pads if the tab is broken, nearly touches the rotor, or both.

Recognize the Symptoms of Worn Brake Pads

If you notice any of these symptoms, get your brake pads replaced by a brake technician ASAP.

Squealing Noises

Most, but not all, brake pads are manufactured with built-in “wear indicators.” These objects exist solely to produce an unpleasant screech. Metal tabs near the top of standard brake pads serve as wear indicators. The indicator will rub against the rotor when the brake pad itself begins to wear down dangerously. Your current brake pads may soon completely erode away due to this, which will cause a recognizable squealing sound to alert you.

Clicking Noise

In some cars, the brake pads fit snugly into a special holding device. With the aid of pins, bolts, or clips, other vehicles support them. Keeping the brake pads from moving around is the common objective of these designs. They will start to rattle if they become loose. This causes the brake pedal to click whenever you press or release it.

Brake Light Turns On

Before going much further, you should get your brakes checked since they are the reason why your brake light is on.

Takes More Time to Stop Than Usual

Low brake pads are usually to blame for this delay in stopping. Your brake pads get progressively thinner as they wear down, which means your car has to work harder to dissipate the heat from braking. This gradually lessens the braking force. In addition to making it more difficult to stop the car, worn brake pads also significantly slow down your reaction time. When you apply pressure to the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid is actually being pushed down to the calipers, which squeezes the brake pads against the rotors. For this fluid to descend and press against your brake pads when they are thin, it takes longer. When your brake pads are changed from being worn out to new ones that are over 10 millimeters, you’ll notice a significant difference.

Brake Pedal Vibrates When It’s Pressed

As you may be aware, friction generates heat, which is then dissipated by your brake pads and rotors. The brake pads’ capacity to assist in removing heat from the rotors, however, may diminish over time. When you frequently sprint while driving or commute in stop-and-go traffic, your rotors heat up too quickly and start to warp. Your rotors develop high spots as a result of this warping. If your brakes are applied while your rotors are warped, the brake pads will clamp to the bumpy surface of the rotor rather than the smooth surface. This then causes your brake pedal and vehicle to vibrate.

Check Brake Pads by Removing the Wheel

If you can’t see the brake pad through the wheel, you’ll need to remove the wheel to get a better look. Place your jack under the vehicle frame next to the tire you want to remove with your car parked on a level surface. Remove the lug nuts, raise your car about six inches off the ground, and then remove the tire. In addition to the brake pad, the caliper, rotor, and brake lines will all be clearly visible once the tire has been removed. To check for excessive wear, carefully examine the brake pad. Schedule a brake appointment if the pad is less than 4 millimeters thick or if there is only 20% life left in the pad.

How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide
How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

How long your set of pads will last isn’t something that can be predicted with certainty. It will depend on:

  • how far you’ve traveled. Between 25,000 and 60,000 miles is the typical lifespan.
  • how much weight the car is transporting. Are you pulling a boat or a camper? Who is in the car with who? Does your boot hold a lot of stuff?
  • Whether you’re driving in a rural or urban setting. Driving in the city is much more stop-and-start than in the country, which puts more strain on your brakes.

A nice rule to keep in mind is the “12/12” rule. Have you had your brakes inspected by a professional in the past 12 months or longer? Alternatively, do you have 12,000 miles on them since the last inspection? If this is the case and you are having braking issues, it would be wise to visit your neighborhood mechanic.

Due to the fact that the front wheels bear the majority of the braking load, your front brakes are more likely to need replacement than your rear brakes.

How Much Does a Brake Pad Replacement Cost?

Again, we are unable to provide you with an exact cost for replacing brake pads. We can assure you, however, that the brake pads are the least expensive part of the braking system to replace. In fact, labor rates are frequently more expensive than the component themselves.

Depending on how popular your car’s model is, the cost of new brake pads will vary from car to car.

Even if you’re trying to save a little money on your car maintenance bill, we advise against trying to install your new set of brake pads yourself unless you have experience working on cars. Since you’re reading this blog, we’ll assume you don’t. It is less likely that they will be installed improperly, resulting in additional (expensive) damage, if you take it to a professional repair shop.

How to Make Brake Pads Last Longer?

You can maintain the condition of your brake pads and reduce how often you need to change brake pads by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Anticipate braking situations by applying your brakes gently and gradually
  • Keep an eye on your speed – suddenly slamming on your brakes puts undue pressure on them
  • Likewise, your acceleration should be steady and gradual
  • Don’t transport a large load while driving. Remove anything from your car that you won’t need for the trip, and if you won’t be using the roof rack, make sure to take it off.

Why does my car shake when I brake? There are a few reasons why your vehicle might experience shaking, and it’s important to address this issue before it becomes a bigger deal.

How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide
How to Check Brake Pads? Follow the Guide


How Often Should Brake Pads Be Replaced?

As a general rule, you should get your brake pads replaced every 10,000 to 20,000 miles to keep wear to a minimum. You have slightly more time when it comes to your rotors. Your rotors should be replaced between 50,000 and 70,000 miles to keep your brakes in peak health. Read more: how often should brake pads be replaced?

What Happens If You Don’t Replace Brake Pads?

Brake calipers and rotors are susceptible to damage.

The brake pads squeeze the rotor as you apply the brakes to stop your car. But when the brake pads are overly worn, exposed metal on the pads rubs against the rotors each time you brake, creating a grinding sound and possibly harming the rotors.

Should You Replace All 4 Brake Pads at Once?

Should you, however, replace all four brake pads at once? Well, first, you absolutely should replace both front or both rear brake pads at the same time. One should be degrading roughly at the same rate as the other, unless something is seriously wrong.

Can Brake Pads Wear Out in 3 Months?

Brake pads should be inspected every six months or 15,000 miles. Most brake pads will wear out in about 25,000 to 65,000 miles, however, the wear and tear on your brake pads depends on a wide variety of factors including your driving style, what surfaces you’re driving on, and the weight of your vehicle.

Summary: How to Check Brake Pads?

You may be able to visually inspect your pads to determine their condition depending on the type of vehicle you have. The outer pad should be pressed up against the brake disc if you look between the wheel’s spokes. You should have your brake pads inspected if you can see anything that is less than 3mm of the pad.

Some brake pads have a slot down the middle that serves as a wear indicator. Replace your brake pads if you can’t see the slot or if it’s barely discernible.

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