Brake pads are one of the most crucial components of your cars as they create friction to help stop your car just in time. Therefore, it is in your best interest to ensure your brake pads are always in working order for the safety of you, your passengers and other commuters.
So the important question is, when should you replace your brake pads?
WHAT DO BRAKE PADS DO?
Before we explore signs of wear and tear of your brake pads, we should first understand what your brake pads do.
When you step on your brake pedal, a hydraulic system places pressure on your brake pads and presses them against the brake rotors. This creates the friction required to stop your vehicle. However, as more friction is created, a miniscule amount of the brake pad would be worn off, eventually causing the brakes to thin and wear out.
WHEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR BRAKE PADS?
Before your brake pads wear out entirely and cause serious damage to your brake rotors (and ultimately, your safety), you should visit a reputable and trustworthy car workshop to replace them when needed. If you notice some of the issues below, it may be time for you to change your brake pads.
(Related Story: A Guide To Choosing The Right Car Workshop In Singapore)
Squealing / Screeching Noises
If you hear any squealing or screeching noises each time you engage your brakes, that is a sure-sign indication that your brake pads are due for replacement. This is because a metallic indicator is embedded in your brake pads to warn you that your brake pads are extremely thin and need to be replaced.
Thinning Brake Pads
Sometimes, these squealing and screeching sounds are not very prominent and you may miss out on these warning sounds. Instead, a visual inspection of the brake pads is helpful to determine when to replace them. It is typically safe to have them changed when the thickness of the brake pads are less than 3 millimetres.
Longer Brake Time
Sometimes, your braking system may start to feel unresponsive, and your car may take a long time to come to a full stop. This is known as a “brake fade”, which largely arises from applying the brakes for extended periods of time. The results are smoothened brake pads and brake rotors that are unable to create friction to stop the car as effectively.
Vibration When Using Brake Pedals
When you find your brake pedals vibrating while engaging your brakes, chances are that your brake pads are the cause of this issue. This is due to the binding resin of the brake pads heating up and sticking to the brake rotor, which creates an uneven surface on the rotor – something that car mechanics call “glazing” (just like a glazed donut).
Deep Metallic Grating Sounds
In the worst-case scenario, you may start to hear deep metallic grating and grinding sounds emitting from your vehicle whenever you apply your brakes. Not only are your brake pads worn out, but the brake rotors and calipers are in contact with each other. Such metal contacts are extremely detrimental to your car as they damage the system at an extremely rapid rate, hence it is advisable to get your brake pads replaced immediately.