How Can I Tell if My Brake Pads Are Wearing Down?

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Your brake pads have a limited life span that is shorter than the other components in your vehicle’s braking system. The good news is if you replace the pads once they’ve worn down past their recommended depth, you extend the life of more expensive parts, such as the rotors. How can you tell if your brake pads are wearing down? PKW Motorwerks says to look for the following signs.

Brakes Are Making Noise

Every once in awhile your brakes might squeak a little, especially if they’re wet. This usually isn’t a cause for concern. Your brake pads are trying to tell you something, however, if they make noise all the time. Some pads have a layer in them that is designed to squeal while your vehicle is in motion to alert you that the pads are due to be changed. The constant noise draws your attention to the issue. Your brake pads might also squeal when you apply the brakes if they are getting too low. If they’ve worn down and have no surface left, they will grind every time you slow down and stop.

Brake Pedal Pulsates When You Step On It

Another sign your brake pads are wearing down can be found in your brake pedal. You shouldn’t feel pulsating or shaking in your brake pedal when you step on it. If you do, your brake pads could be wearing down unevenly or your rotors might be warped. Because this could be something other than your pads, such as the rotors or bent calipers, it’s best to get the pulsation checked out right away. As we mentioned above, the pads are less expensive to replace than the rotors, or the calipers for that matter, and the longer you wait the greater the damage to the more expensive parts.

Sluggish Brake Response

Your brake system parts work together to create kinetic energy from friction to slow down and stop your car, truck, or SUV. Basically, when you step on the brake pedal, the master cylinder pumps brake fluid through the lines into the calipers to press them against the brake pads. Once the calipers press against the brake pads, this forces them to press against the rotors. The friction caused by the pads and rotors produces the kinetic energy your vehicle needs to stop. If the pads are worn, they won’t create as much friction or kinetic energy and it will take more time and distance to stop the car. 

If you need your brake pads changed on your European automobile, stop by PKW Motorwerks in Plainfield, IL. To set up an appointment, call us at 630-381-8834.

Photo by Stas_V from Getty Images Pro.