Even the most expensive and reliable car at least occasionally, but still needs to be repaired.

It is very important to pay great attention to the condition of the car’s brake system and the condition of the brake pads, in particular.

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

The time to change the brake pads is specific to each car. The front brake pads are usually the first to wear out.

On average, they are enough for about 20-50 thousand km. The rear brake pads wear twice as slowly. But these are conditional figures.

The frequency of brake pads replacement is influenced by

  • Weight of the car
  • Its normal load 
  • The material from which they are made
  • Wet weather
  • Dusty/dirty roads.

Also, a lot depends on the style of driving: if the driver likes dynamic driving, he will brake more often, causing the pads to wear out faster.

How To Tell If Your Brakes Pads Need Replacing

You can determine the remaining life of the brake pads by their condition visually.

Usually, there are special “linings” in the thickness of the protective pads on each unit.

If the pads are worn down to the base of these “linings”, it means that the time has come to replace them.

It is also considered the minimum allowable thickness of overlays in 2-3 mm.

(At the same time, you should not forget to take into account the recommendations of manufacturers, both the cars themselves and the brake pads).

If those weren’t enough, here’s more:

  • Metallic grinding when you press the pedal (indicates that the pads are completely worn out)
  • Reduced braking efficiency (which is particularly noticeable in emergency braking)
  • Increased stroke of the brake pedal, its vibration when pressed
  • When braking, it feels as if the front or rear of the car is moving to the side
  • Over-braking
  • The handbrake is not functioning properly
  • To stop, you have to put more force on the pedal
  • Thumping during sudden braking
  • A noticeable decrease in the level of the brake fluid tank
  • Dark plaque on the wheel (which means that the friction lining is still there, but the metallic embedding indicates an erased lining, as the pad body is already scratching the disc)
  • If there is a brake pad sensor, the indicator will light up on the control panel when the minimum pad thickness is reached

If you can not determine the degree of wear yourself, but there are suspicions that the pads are not all right, you need to contact the repair shop for a preventive inspection.

What Happens If Brake Pads Are Worn Out

  • Brake discs and cylinders wear out intensively;
  • If there are very few linings left, the brake cylinders may leak;
  • The brakes stop working completely and cause an emergency.

If the thickness of the brake disc is too low (after 50% wear on the brake pads), the brake cylinder pistons will protrude very hard, resulting in distortion, corrosion and jamming.

A thin disc can crack, especially if the loads from the pads are asymmetrical.

In addition, it will overheat more quickly during emergency braking and “fried” pads will no longer be able to stop the vehicle.

Important Tips

  1. If you are not 100% sure that you can replace the brake pads yourself, it is better to contact a professional car dealer/car mechanic. There you will get quick and quality brake pads replacement. After all, the quality of their installation and condition depends on the quality of braking, and the quality of braking depends on your safety on the road.
  2. Never bring the brakes to a state of complete wear, otherwise, along with the pads, you will have to replace the discs, which is much more expensive.
  3. You must not change the front or rear brake pads one by one. It is necessary to put a set of new elements on a front or back axle, otherwise, during braking, the car can be strongly pulled sideways. Even when one pad is worn, all four must be replaced. As a temporary option, 2 new parts can be fitted on one rear wheel.

Recommendations For Operation And Replacement

In order to protect the brake pads from premature wear and to ensure that they are in good condition, these recommendations should be followed:

  1. No frequent sharp braking will significantly increase the service life of the pads
  2. Be careful when driving with new pads (the brakes will work worse because they need time to get used to)
  3. Inspect the pads during seasonal replacements
  4. Check the condition of the vehicle at the automobile repair shop regularly.

Guidance On Choosing The Right Brake Pads

When choosing new pads in the store, use such recommendations

  1. The products must match the car model and be sold in a quality package with the attached instructions.
  2. The friction material should be of the same color, without foreign inclusions.
  3. The surface pressed against the disk surface must be flat. Small chips at the edges and indents are allowed if they occupy no more than 1% of the total area of the surface.
  4. Cracks on the boundary between metal and friction material are unacceptable.

It is best to buy original products in the factory packaging. This will save you from unpleasant surprises, unscheduled replacements and emergency situations in the operation of your car.

Squeaking When Breaking

If the brakes are squeaky immediately after the brake pads have been replaced or some time afterwards, then perhaps the reason for this could’ve been the pads themselves, especially if you put on non-original brake pads.

If the squeaking of the brakes appeared immediately after the replacement, try to drive around and see if the squeaking will disappear.

Since all the pads need some time to “adjust” to the brake disc, which may be accompanied not only by a squeak of brakes but also braking inefficiency.

Besides, the squeaking can be caused by a jammed brake calliper or its “rails”. This can be caused by uneven wear or overheating