Brakes are the most important components of a vehicle. You may think it's the engine that is important to drive a vehicle. Yes, it is one of the important components of your vehicle, but what if your car had no brakes? How would you stop it? Stopping a car whenever you need is indeed more important than accelerating it. If your brakes are worn out, your car may not be able to stop effectively. Hence, maintenance of the braking system plays a crucial role in the performance of your vehicle. But how to know when to replace brake pads? Your brakes will tell you themselves. You just need to pay attention to their working.
Replacement of Brake Pads
The main function of the braking system is to produce friction between the brake pads and brake rotors. Brake pads are steel-backing plates and have friction material bound to the surface, whereas brake rotors are thick metallic discs that are connected to the vehicle's driving axles. When you press the brake pedal, the force is transmitted to the brake pads which are forced against the brake rotors, producing friction. The friction is responsible for reducing the speed of the brake rotors, eventually stopping the vehicle. The constant high friction on the brake pads causes the surface to wear out, thus affecting the braking performance of the car. You should regularly check the brake pads of your car if you want to avoid mishaps caused by brake failures.
Signs to Watch Out for
- The most important and obvious sign is when you hear your car squealing or screeching, every time you apply brakes. Most brake pads have soft metal tabs on them, which produce a high-pitched squeal on contact with the brake rotor. It indicates that the friction material present around the brake pads has worn out and needs a replacement. Brake pads can shudder or rattle, indicating loose parts.
- When you feel that your car is not being controlled by you solely, that is, when you notice pulling of the car from one side to the other, it means that it is time to check the brakes. It can also result in wheel grabs that can be difficult to control and may lead to dangerous accidents. It clearly indicates that there is something wrong with the brake pads and they need to be replaced.
- The best option is to visually inspect the brake pads periodically. Many cars have open rims that will allow you to see the brake pads without having to remove the tires. Look for the friction material on the brake pad. If it is severely worn out, it can leave grooves in the brake rotor. If there are deep grooves or scores on the rotor, it's time to change the rotor along with the brake pads.
- The lifespan of brake pads depends on many factors such as the composition of your brake pads, the friction material used, the weight of the vehicle, your driving habits, etc. Changing the brake pads too often is any time better than changing it too late. The more you use the brakes, the sooner they wear out and the shorter is their lifespan. You may do the brake pad replacement manually or get it done by a professional.