Are Your Brake Pads Wearing Out?

Car owners know brake pads must be in great shape. You expect your car will come to a full halt when you hit the brakes, otherwise, this could be a frightening situation.

If you are not a mechanic or know very little about cars, your brake pads are located between the brake calipers and the brake rotor. When the pads come in contact with the brake disc’s metal surface, it causes friction and your car comes to a halt.

Because the brake pads are constantly rubbing against the brake discs, the pads wear down. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it is to stop the car.

Probably the most common sign of worn brake pads is the grinding or squealing sounds when you hit the brakes. With newer cars, you will get a notice from the wear indicator on your dashboard when the pads are worn down. If you don’t have an indicator, you might notice your brake pedal seems spongy.

Because the brake pads are critical to the operation of your car, there are things you should know about the brakes and the signs for which to keep an eye out. Here is a list of common occurrences when your brake pads are wearing down.

Grinding Or Squealing Sounds

Worn And New Brake Pads

If you hit the brake pedal and you hear a grinding or squealing sound, your brake pads are completely worn down. You will hear the brake pad pushing against the metal brake rotor. You can’t miss the sound as it’s quite loud. If you are not able to change the brake pads it’s important you get to a mechanic as quickly as possible.

The Wear Indicator

Newer cars have a wear indicator for the brakes. If the brake pad material is only 2-3 mm or 0.04” to 0.1” you will see a wear indicator on the dashboard. It’s time to check the brake pads or ask your mechanic to check them. Even though the wires and connectors for the wear indicator can cause the indicator to give a false alarm on the dashboard, it’s definitely worth checking out.

A lot of care might only have a front wear indicator but some have one on both axles.

Experience Spongy Brakes

When you press down on the brakes and the pedal seems spongy, your brake pad might be bad. This can also happen when parts come loose from the brake or pad, causing the brake petal plate to bend when you apply the brakes. To see if there is damage, you will have to remove the brake pads and inspect the pads and parts.

Longer Brake Distance

Worn Car Brake Pads

If you apply the brakes and it’s taking a long distance for the car to stop, the metal against metal is not creating the same level of friction to stop the car. This can also happen if parts of the brake pad have come loose and are not creating the proper friction against the brake rotor.

Scratches On The Brake Rotor Surface

If you notice scratches or markings on the surface of the brake rotor, it might be due to the brake pad being seriously worn out and hitting the metal plate.

To check the surface, compare it to the other brake rotors in your car.

The Function Of The Brake Pads

The brake pads consist of metal and hard rubber. They are made to withstand many elements including heat, dust, and particles. The pads are installed between the brake caliper and the brake rotor. When you press on the brake pad the brake rotor causes friction. The friction makes your car slow down and come to a complete halt.

As far as the material used for the brake pads, there are many different options depending on the manufacturer. Some are better quality than others determining the time frame of wear and braking distance.

How To Check The Brake Pads

Checking the brake pads is not complicated at all. You will need a flashlight to look inside the rim against the brake rotor. There should be at least 0,15″ – 0.2″ or 4-5mm remaining on the brake pad. If not, replace it.

Some rims are designed in a way making it difficult to inspect the brake pad. If that’s the case, you will have to remove the wheel to inspect the pad.

It’s actually quite common for the inner brake pad to be worn out before the outer brake pad. Therefore, it’s recommended to remove the rim to inspect or check it with a small mirror.

Replacing Brake Pads

Keep in mind, the front brake pads are normally more expensive than the rear pads. You might be in a situation where you will have to replace the brake rotors because they are in bad condition.

If you have an electric parking brake, you will need diagnostic tools to replace the rear brake pads.

Brake pad replacement is not difficult if you have some knowledge about replacements, you do it yourself, and do not have an electric parking brake! If you do, you will need diagnostic tools to push back the pistons. If you are not mechanically inclined, take your car to your mechanic and have the pads replaced.

Keep in mind, your brakes are critical to safely operate your vehicle and keep you and your passengers safe. Do Not put off brake pad replacement.

If you believe your vehicle brake pads may be wearing out and you are not sure why you can get your brakes checked by booking online today and receive a free vehicle service check. For further information on our services you can browse the site or get in touch with us by calling 019253 30468 or alternatively, you can email us directly at

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