Signs Of Worn Brake Pads

auto mechanic hold brake pads

Do you take pride in being a responsible driver in Tucson, Arizona? If so, you know how essential brake maintenance and repair are to your car’s overall performance. While any car component can encounter problems, the friction your brake system creates will cause your brake parts—especially brake pads—to wear out quickly.

It can be challenging for even the most attentive motorist to keep a watchful eye on their brake system. The easiest way to tell when you need brake service is to notice the obvious signs of trouble. Here, you’ll find the BRAKEmax team’s top brake pad wear indicators and advice about what to do when you need new brake pads.

What Do Brake Pads Do?

Whether they take brake maintenance seriously, most Tucson-area motorists are unaware of how this system operates. If that describes you, it’s time to familiarize yourself with your brake pads and how they function.

Nowadays, most automotive braking systems utilize rotors—small discs placed behind each wheel. Above each rotor, you’ll find a “clamp” called the caliper. The calipers close and squeeze both sides of each rotor when you press down on your car’s brake pedal. The friction created through this process allows the wheels to slow down and ultimately stop.

However, the calipers shouldn’t make direct contact with the car’s rotors; if they did, your car’s brake system would sustain severe damage. Instead, these components are used with removable brake pads. The brake pads cover the calipers, allowing them to touch the rotors safely. Since the brake pads are directly exposed to the friction created by your braking system, they can wear out quicker than you might expect.

How To Know When You Need Brake Pad Replacement

No car part lasts forever, and that includes brake pads. Instead of ignoring problems with your braking system, look out for these telltale signs of impending brake pad failure:

Brake Fade

You may not have heard the term “brake fade” before, but there’s a strong chance that you have some experience with the issue described by this phrase. If you’re dealing with brake fade, the brakes will require extra time to bring your vehicle to a complete stop. Your brakes need to be highly responsive to help you avoid accidents. As a result, you will need to take care of this sooner rather than later.

Brake fade is more likely to occur when you purposefully apply the brakes for an extended period without completely stopping your car; for example, driving on a winding road or down the side of a mountain. If you use your braking system this way too frequently, the braking system and brake pads will be adversely affected.

Brake Pedal Vibrations

When you push down on the brake pedal, it should go down smoothly, allowing you to apply the brakes easily. What it shouldn’t do is start shaking. If your brake pedal is vibrating, worn-out brake pads may be to blame.

This can happen due to an issue known as “glazing.” Your brake pads are held together with resin, but this resin is just as susceptible to the effects of friction as the pad material. When your brake pad adhesive gets hot enough, it will smear. That isn’t a problem if the resin can spread evenly across your discs. However, uneven adhesive distribution can cause your brake pedal to shudder.

Car Pulling To One Side

While the basic concept of brake pad wear is simple to understand, any quick explanation of this occurrence will skip over some of the nuances involved. For example, your brake pads might wear down at different rates. If the pads on one side of your vehicle wear out faster than those on the other side, your car might start pulling toward the right or left when braking. This issue can stress your vehicle’s steering rack and other components, so it’s important to get it resolved by a qualified brake shop ASAP.

Even though lousy brake pads often cause this problem, they aren’t always the main factor involved. Your car may also pull to one side or the other if you have:

  • Malfunctioning brake calipers
  • Wheel bearing issues
  • Uneven tire pressure

Squealing Sounds from Brakes

Many signs of brake pad failure can be felt, but it also pays to listen closely to your car’s sounds while driving. When your windows are closed, and the stereo is off, you might notice a buzzing, squealing, or scraping noise. Your brake system can cause these sounds, but they’ll often go away as you start braking. Then, they’ll return when you move your foot off the brake pedal.

Many modern-day brake pads include wear indicators designed to make these sounds. Brake pad wear indicators are metal tabs placed near the top of brake pads. The indicator will contact the rotor when your pads deteriorate beyond a certain threshold. That will generate an unpleasant noise and inform you that it’s time for a brake pad replacement.

Clicking Noises from Brake System

Squealing sounds aren’t the only noises your brake system can make when brake pads are having trouble. Brake pads are held in place with a specialized holder, pins, clips, or bolts. These mechanisms have the same purpose: to prevent brake pads from wobbling.

If your brake pads get loose from their holding system due to brake system damage or other reasons, you’ll hear a clicking sound while pushing or releasing your brake pedal. Though your brake pads may not need to be replaced in this situation, they still require professional attention at your nearest BRAKEmax shop.

What To Expect When You Need Brake Repair Service

As a Tucson resident with a busy schedule, it’s easy to dread any type of auto service and the impact it could have on your day, especially because some types of brake repairs are more time-consuming than others. The good news is that we can complete a brake pad replacement faster than any other brake service. In fact, BRAKEmax’s ASE-certified mechanics can swap out your brake pads in a matter of minutes!

Brake pad replacement is one of the quickest brake-related services BRAKEmax offers, but it’s far from our only service. Our crew can finish most brake jobs in under three hours, though particularly complicated tasks (like brake line creation or master cylinder replacement) could take up to eight hours to complete. However, thanks to our complimentary shuttle service, you can return to your home or office while we work on the more time-consuming brake work.

Brake pad replacement is inexpensive, but it’s always best to know how much you can expect to pay for auto repairs before getting started. With that in mind, feel free to request a quote online for your new brake pads or any other brake service offered by BRAKEmax!

Choose Tucson’s Best Shop For New Brake Pads

While they might seem like minor auto parts, brake pads are some of the most essential components in any vehicle. Because of that, you should always pay attention to your brake pads’ condition. If you’ve noticed any warning signs of brake pad trouble, set up an appointment at BRAKEmax today and get extra savings by checking out our online coupons!

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