Brake pads are flat metal plates with a thick friction layer on one side. They are used with the disc brake systems that come with most newer cars. When the brakes are applied, hydraulic pressure is applied to the pads, causing them to squeeze the brake rotors, which stops the vehicle.
These pads can endure heat, making them long-lasting plus they generate less brake dust and noise.
Why change your brake pads?
- If your car won’t stop as fast as it used to, or if it’s been driven 40,000 miles since your last brake job, it’s likely time to change your pads.
- Changing brake pads is a crucial part of routine maintenance for your vehicle.
- Each pad presses against a rotor, and the friction generated by your pads and rotors brings your car to a stop.
- This friction also wears on the surface of your pads, reducing your brake pad thickness.
- Worn brake pads struggle to stop your car, and they can even damage your rotors.
- The side of the pad is covered with what is called the friction surface.
- The friction surface is made from materials like ceramic and carbon fiber which can absorb high amounts of heat and have a high friction coefficient.
- This allows the pads to convert rotational energy from the rotor into heat energy, which is absorbed by the pads and wears them out over time.
Signs You Need New Brake Pads
There are several indicators that can let you know to check your brake pads to see if they need replacement:
- Squealing noise when you drive that goes away temporarily when you press the brakes: This can be a warning sign from your pad’s wear indicator that your pads are getting thin.
- Screeching sound when braking: This can indicate your pads’ metal shim is rubbing your rotors.
- Grinding sound when braking: This can indicate that your pad is completely worn down and your disc and caliper are rubbing together. If this is the case, more than just your pad will need replacement.
- Clicking noise when the brake pedal is pressed or released: This can be a sign your pads are wobbling.
- Delayed stopping time (brake fade): This can be caused by long-term driving patterns that habitually overheat your brakes, such as frequently braking for a long period when traveling downhill.
- Car nose pulls to one side when braking: This can be a sign your brake pads have worn unevenly.
- Pedal vibrates when braking: This can indicate the binding resin on your brake pads has gotten hot and smeared unevenly over your discs (glazing).
- Brake pads look too thin: If the visible outside of your pads look less than a quarter- inch thick, they are getting too thin.
- Rotors show deep grooves: This is a sign your pads need to be replaced, and your rotors may also need to be replaced or turned.