Replacing brake pads before they become completely worn is not only important for your safety, but it will also save you money in the long run. Brake pads need to be changed on average at every 35,000 miles, but this can extend as far as 50,000 to 70,000 depending on the driving conditions, how you drive the car and the vehicle. Different brake pads will also be made from different materials, so this can influence how well they wear.
Brake pads are a key part of your vehicle’s braking system that sit between your brake shoe and your brake drum. Brake pads prevent other parts of your braking system such as discs, rotors, and calipers from wearing away. It’s important to look out for signs that your brake pads may be wearing down, so that you can get them changed and extend the life of other parts.
Signs that could be an indication of worn brake pads
- Squealing or screeching noises
A high-pitched noise when applying the brakes will often be the first thing a driver will notice when brake pads start to become worn. The sound is usually caused by a small indicator that has been embedded in to the brake pad on purpose to let drivers know when they need changing.
Sometimes when brakes are exposed to wet or damp conditions a thin layer of dust can form on the brake pads and cause a very similar screeching sound while braking, so if the noise only happens after your car has been a bit damp, then it’s not likely that your brake pads will need to be replaced.
- Visual checking
You can usually visually inspect your brake pads to know if it’s time to have them replaced. If you look through your tire spokes, you should be able to see your brake pad compressed against your brake rotor. If the pad is less than ¼ inch thick you should consider having your brakes looked at.
- Deep metallic grinding and growling
If you begin to hear a deeper noise that sounds like grinding metal, then this could be a sign that your brake pads have completely worn away and your discs and calipers are now making contact.
If you hear this noise, you should get new brake pads as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your braking system.
- Dashboard lights
Some modern vehicles will have a light on the dashboard that will signal when it’s time to replace the brake pads. Remember that if the light does come on, you’ll need to have your mechanic reset the sensors as well as changing the brake pads.