6 Signs You Need New Brake Pads
If you’re a typical car owner, you probably don’t spend too much time thinking about your brake pads.
However, your brake pads are a part of your vehicle that should always be in top working condition. And, you don’t want to wait until something goes wrong to start thinking about them.
One of the biggest things to be aware of is knowing when your brake pads need to be replaced.
But, how can you tell when you need new brake pads?
Check out this guide to learn the top signs that it’s time to replace your brake pads.
What are Brake Pads?
First things first, what exactly are brake pads? And, how do they work?
The typical vehicle comes with a braking apparatus on the front two wheels. This braking apparatus depends on something that’s called a rotor. A rotor is a metallic disc that’s located behind the two wheels.
Above each rotor, there’s a device called caliper. The caliper is a clamp-like device, and when you hit your brakes, the calipers start to close and squeeze the rotors from both sides. This causes friction, which in turn makes the wheels spin more slowly until they completely stop.
So, how do brake pads fit into this equation?
Brake pads are removable surfaces that calipers use in order to make contact with the rotors.
Friction wears brake pads down over time, which means if they become too thin, your brakes won’t work as well as they should.
This is why it’s important that you get new brake pads installed when you start to spot trouble.
Now, let’s take a look at the top signs that you need new brake pads.
1. Squealing Noises
You’re out for a drive and everything is relatively quiet. That is, until, you hear a squealing, scraping, or buzzing sound that only seems to go away when you hit the brakes.
Then, the noise returns as soon as you take your foot off the brakes.
What’s happening here?
Most brake pads today come with wear indicators. Located near the top brake pads, wear indicators are metal tabs that push against the rotor when your brake pads have worn down too much.
In other words, your car is basically begging you to go in and get new brake pads, so don’t wait any longer.
2. Stopping Your Car Takes More Time
Have you noticed lately that it takes more time for your car to come to a complete stop?
This symptom actually has a name- brake fade- and it happens when you drive your car for a long-distance while applying the brakes but never coming to a full stop.
This move is necessary once in a while. Say, for example, you’re driving down a mountain or over a winding road.
However, if you live in an area that requires you to do this on a regular basis, then you’re likely wearing down your braking mechanism. By forcing your brake pads to make contact with your rotors for an extended period of time, both parts will heat up and will lose their ability to generate friction.
This will then lead to your car not being able to stop as quickly as it used to, which means you should take it to a mechanic.
3. Clicking Noise
Brake pads are always installed in such a way so that they don’t move around easily.
In some cars, brake pads are tucked into a special holding device. In other vehicles, brake pads are held in place by pins, bolts, or clips.
Either way, when they’re installed, they shouldn’t wobble around. However, they do sometimes become loose (usually due to damage in surrounding hardware) and then start to rattle.
This results in a clicking sound whenever you step on or release the brakes, and it’s a sign that your brake pads need to be changed immediately.
When you step on your brake pedal, does it start to shake like crazy?
If so, your brake pads could be the culprit. A binding adhesive usually holds brake pads together. However, as the pads wear down, the adhesive becomes hot and starts to smear across the rotor.
Ideally, the adhesive will spread itself out evenly; however, this doesn’t always happen. If the adhesive spreads out unevenly, the brake pads start to vibrate.
This could compromise your ability to brake safely, so you should get the issue checked out immediately.
5. The nose of Your Car is Pulling to One Side
Many people don’t realize this, but brake pads don’t always wear out at the same rate.
If one side wears out faster than the other, your car might pull out slightly to the right or left when you hit the brakes.
If you don’t do anything about this problem, you’ll end up putting a lot of unnecessary stress on your steering rack.
So, if you notice this problem, get your car into a mechanic immediately.
6. Low Brake Fluid
Last but not least, you want to keep a sign on your car’s brake fluid levels.
If the low brake fluid sign pops up, it could just be that there’s a leak somewhere else in your car (which is also a problem that needs to be checked out by a mechanic).
Or, it could mean that your brakes have worn down and need to be replaced. The only way to know for sure is to take your car to a mechanic to have a look.
Is it Time for New Brake Pads?
So, after reading this article, do you think your car needs new brake pads?
If the answer is yes, then don’t wait. Driving with faulty brake pads can be extremely dangerous, so you should get your car into a mechanic immediately.
Also, if your vehicle is beyond repair or you just want a new one, be sure to check out our selection of new vehicles.