Why do brake pads need to be replaced?
Depending on your car’s brake system, it may use between 4 to 8 brake pads. When you step on the brake pedal, the master cylinder sends fluid under pressure to the brake calipers (which hold the brake pads). The caliper presses the brake pad against the brake rotor, causing friction that slows down the car. During normal usage of the brakes, brake pads wear out and become thinner. If the thickness of brake pads is less than 3mm, it is time to change the pads. Depending on where you drive (city driving tends to wear pads out quicker) brake pads usually last between 30,000 to 35,000 miles.
Some vehicles (e.g., BMWs) are equipped with a low-pad-warning system. In these vehicles, you will also need to replace the brake sensors as part of the brake pad service.
Keep in mind the cost for a pair of brake pads:
Brake pads are replaced in pairs during a brake service. This means if you choose front brake pads, both front wheels should get new brake pads. The same situation applies for rear wheels.
Steps to replace brake pads:
- Inspect brake pads.
- Install new pads if thickness is less than 3mm.
- Inspect: rotors, calipers, hoses, and brake fluid condition.
- Perform a basic safety inspection.
- Test drive the vehicle.
When are brake pad replacements needed?
Your mechanic should measure the thickness of brake pads every 12 to 15 months. Get your brake system inspected if the brake-warning light is on.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Brake Pads?
- Grinding, squealing or screeching noise when you apply brakes.
- Brake pedal is lower than normal.
- Brake or low-pad warning light is on.
- Vibration in the steering wheel.
How important is replacing your car's brake pads?
Regular maintenance and replacement of your brake pads is a very important safety measure. If you drive your vehicle with worn-down brake pads, braking distances increase, you risk damage to the brake rotors (which are more expensive than brake pads), and most importantly, you put yourself and others at risk. Brake repair should be completed if the brake pads are less than 3mm thick to ensure safe operation of your car.