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How to Know When Your Brake Pads Need Changing

Driving and owning a car is a huge responsibility in itself. Part of that responsibility is being able to keep your car in tip top shape. Keeping your car in pristine condition not only saves you money from having repairs, but also keeps you and other drivers out there safe from harm.

There are many things drivers have to do to keep their cars in shape, such as changing the oil and making sure the tires are pumped. However, brake maintenance is one that is often overlooked, especially by newly minted drivers.

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It is a good rule of thumb to simply assume that the longer the car has been used, the more wear and tear the brake system has endured. Here are some signs to take note of to know when it might be time to finally get those brake pads changed.

Indicator Lights

The easiest way to find out if it is indeed time to have your brake pads changed is its indicator lights. While not present in all cars, some car manufacturers include a specific indicator light on the dashboard that warn the car driver about the brake pads.

Check your user’s manual to see if your car has this system. Don’t forget to have those indicator lights replaced, along with the brake pads when the time comes.

If You Hear a Clicking Noise

One sign that implies it’s time to change those brake pads is when you hear a sort of clicking or rattling noise every time you use the brakes. Almost every part of the car is designed to run smoothly and quietly and the brake system is surely one of them.

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Car manufacturers normally install a component into the brake system that prevents the clicking or rattling noise. That is why if ever you start hearing this when applying the brakes, it might be time to have those pads changed for new ones.

If You Hear a Grinding Sound

Another auditory cue that can be linked to faulty brake pads is when you hear a grinding or metallic screeching sound whenever the brakes are being applied. Unfortunately, if you hear this sound, then things might be a bit too late than you would prefer.

The grinding sound is caused by the brake disc and brake caliper rubbing against one another. The only scenario this is possible is when your brake pads are completely worn down.

This is a very bad sign because not only should you have your brake pads replaced, but now you should consider having the brake disc replaced as well as a safety measure.

Asymmetrical Braking

A car is, more often than not, a bilaterally symmetrical machine. However, one cannot be certain that both halves of the car will wear down at the same rate – this goes as well for the brakes.

If the nose of the car veers to one side – either the left or the right – upon braking, then it might be time to have your brake pads changed.

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This issue is extremely important. This asymmetrical braking puts unnecessary pressure on the other components of the brake system such as the steering rack, ball joints, steering knuckles and even the wheel bearings.

Take note that if your car does indeed veer to a certain side when braking, there may be other reasons for this aside from the braking pads. It will be better altogether to simply have your mechanic take a look right away if this ever happens to you and your car.

A Vibrating Brake Pedal

Upon application of the brakes, you might be able to feel the brake pedals vibrate, commonly referred to as “pulsating brakes.” This vibrating sensation is symptomatic of a problem in the braking system.

If the cause of the pulsating brakes is the brake pads warped from heat, then the brake pads can be re-machined to solve the issue or have them completely replaced. It is to be noted that another cause for pulsating brakes can simply be worn out brakes.

Thin Brake Pads

While many of the signs mentioned relied on feeling the car when the brakes are applied, brake pads can also be visually inspected if it is time to change them. You should be able to spot your brake pads tucked inside by peering through the spokes of your wheels.

The external side of the brake pad should be visible, as it is the component that presses against the brake disc. If inspected to be less than a quarter of an inch, then your brake pads are too thin and it might be high time for a change in brake pads.

The brake pads are an important component to take not of for every driver. Should any of the above mentioned signs be noticed, it is important to act on them as soon as possible.

Car maintenance is a responsibility of every driver to keep themselves and everyone else on the road as safe as possible.

If you can’t personally notice any of the signs listed above but have had your car for a long time without having your brake pads changed, then you should also consider having them inspected by your mechanic anyway to be on the safe side.

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