When Should You Replace Your Brake Pads?

Cherryl Anne Cruz

A good set of brake pads can mean the difference between saving your life–or losing it. When you encounter potential dangers  on the road, the one thing you can hang on to save your life is actually your brake pads. These “linings” are located in the brake caliper, and are the ones that do the actual stopping when you press your brakes each time. Since they take on the full braking force, it’s not difficult to imagine the immense pressure it goes through every time you use your vehicle. Over time, that results to wear-and-tear, which can lessen its effectiveness and performance on the road.

That’s why it’s important to make sure your brake pads are always working properly. A good preventive measure you can do is to know the signs that they need to be replaced. Here are four ways to know:

1. Indicator Lights are On or Blinking

This is the easiest thing to see. There are some vehicles that are equipped with indicator signals that show when the brake pad needs replacement. You can check your vehicle’s manual for more information.

2. Grinding or Low, Rumbling Noises

One sign that shows your brake pad needs to be replaced is to hear a grinding, metallic sound–or a low, rumbling sound. This tells you that your brake pad is worn out, which causes the grinding, metallic sound. When this happens, then it’s also possible that your brake calipers and discs will become damaged as well, eventually damaging your entire brake system. This is almost like driving with your one leg in the grave.

3. High-pitched, Squealing Sound

This is one of the earliest signs that your brake pads are worn out, especially if you hear it regularly. Better to have a mechanic check it if it becomes louder and insistent.

4. Thinning Pads

Are your brake pads thin already? Then it’s a good visual sign that they need to be replaced soon. Here’s how to check: Look through your tire spokes to see the brake pad pressed against the brake rotor. If the brake pad’s thickness is almost the same as a newly-sharpened pencil point, then you need to replace them soon.

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