When was the last time you changed your brake pads let alone inspected them?
One of the most overlooked parts of a car is its brake pads. Ensuring that your brake pads are in proper working condition won't just save you money in the long run but will also be crucial in protecting your vehicle as well as your life.
Brake pads work in tandem with brake discs or shoes to slow down your vehicle. Specially engineered pieces of friction material made of either organic, metallic, or ceramic substances press against discs or shoes when the brakes are applied.
If brake pads are neglected, they will wind all the way down to the backplate, which in turn will score your brake disc or shoes, which means you will have to replace them too. It's best to keep on top of your brake pad's condition to avoid replacing other brake system components such as discs and shoes.
But how do you know when is the right time to replace your brake pads? Is it something that only a trained mechanic would know? The answer is no because there are some clear telltale signs to when you will need to change your brake pads.
Without further ado, here are the top five signs that it's time to replace your brake pads.
1. Brake Pad Indicator Light Comes On
Most modern vehicles are now equipped with brake wear indicators which will inform you that it is time to inspect your brake systems. However, through experience, we have come to realise that the indicator is a very rudimental way of knowing when to replace your brake pads because in some cases, the indicator won't even prompt the system to give you a warning till it's too late. By the time they do give you a warning, it'll most probably be a case of too little too late.
2. Visual Inspection
Sometimes there's just no beating the good old take a look approach. If the brake pad's friction material seems to be thin around a one-quarter inch thick, it's probably a good idea to inspect them further with a professional. This might be difficult for cars with wheels that cover your brake assembly, so you might have to remove your wheels to get a clearer view.
3. Vibration When Braking
Another indication that can help determine it's time to change your brake pads is vibration through the steering wheel when you apply the brakes. This vibration is caused by warped discs, which creates uneven brake pad wear. If this does happen, you'll probably have to change discs and pads.
4. Taking Longer To Stop
The loss in braking performance is a clear indicator that your brake pads need to be changed. If you are experiencing more breaking time to stop your vehicle, it's probably best to get your brake pads looked at. We say looked at because it could either be that your brake pads are worn down or that brake fluid is low, probably caused by a leak somewhere in the braking system. No matter which one it is, it's still best to get a mechanic to look at it.
5. Noise When Applying Brakes
If your brake pads are near the end of their useful life, they will start to squeal, creak and moan. This signifies that your brake pads are worn away, and you should have them looked at quickly before the noise turns into a metallic grinding noise. If it turns into grinding noises, there is probably metal on metal contact, which may damage your other brake system components.
So there you have it, 5 signs that it's time to get your brake pads replaced. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so periodically visually examine your brake pads. Also, make it a point to have your mechanic check your pads every time you send your car in for service.
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