Brake pads are a key brake part, brake pads are responsible for taking the tension off your car’s braking system. Pressing the brake pedal prompts the hydraulic line, brake calipers and discs to stop your car. Brake pads are designed to absorb the energy and then force the car to stop completely. Brake pads do wear away and need to be replaced to ensure that your car properly brakes and stops. Grinding, squeaking or squealing breaks are a sign that your brakes are not working efficiently. If your pads are worn, they need to be replaced for your own safety.
What are the signs that you may need new brake pads?
- The Brake Pedal Is Pulsating – If the brake pedal is pulsating when the driver presses on it with their foot, this is often a sign that new brake pads are needed. The phrase “pulsating brakes” refers to the brake vibration, or constant grabbing when a driver attempts to apply their brakes. Pulsating brakes are typically caused by worn out brake pads, or brake pads that warped due to heat.
- The Brakes Make a Clicking Noise – Another sign that lets a driver know that they need new brake pads is when the brakes start making a clicking noise upon application. All car manufacturers install a device that prevents brake pads from rattling upon depression of the brakes. When the brakes produce a rattling noise, or a clicking noise upon depression of the brakes, this is an indicator that the current brake pads need to be replaced with new brake pads.
- The Brake Pads Appear Too Thin – There are also visual clues that drivers should pay close attention to that alerts them when they need to get new brake pads. You can check to see if they need new brake pads by looking at the current brake pads through the spokes of the car wheel. The outside brake pad is visible as the material pressed against the metal rotor. If a driver sees less than a 1/4 inch of pad visible, then the brake pads are too thin and should be replaced with new brake pads.
- The Brakes Make a Screeching Sound – In addition to a clicking noise, drivers should also listen for a high-pitched, screeching sound when the brakes are depressed fully. This unpleasant sound is caused by a small metal shim, which acts as an indicator to alert drivers that they need to replace the brake pads.
- The Brakes Make a Grinding Sound – When drivers hear a grinding or growling sound upon application of the brakes, the brakes pads are often beyond replacement. The grinding or growling sound is usually caused by the metal disc and the metal caliper rubbing together because the brake pad is completely worn down. This means that in addition to replacing the brake pads, a driver often needs to replace the discs
- Although a car pulling to one side of the road can indicate a few different things, it often indicates that a driver needs new brake pads. If the car pulls to one side or another, without turning the steering wheel when a driver applies the brakes, this often indicates that the current brake pads are wearing unevenly and need replaced with new brake pads.
All brake pads must be bedded-in with the rotor they will be used against to maximize brake performance. The bedding-in process involves a gradual build up of heat in the rotors and pad compound. This process will lay down a thin layer of transfer film on to the rotor surface. Following the bed-in procedures provided by the manufacturer will assure a smooth, even layer of transfer film on the rotor and will minimize brake judder. Here are a few things to keep in mind when installing new rotors and pads:
When installing new pads, the rotors should be new or at least resurfaced to remove any transfer film from the previous set of brake pads.
It is critical that the installer clean any rust, scale, or debris from the hub mounting surface thoroughly and check it for excessive run-out with a dial indicator gauge before installing the rotor.
Failure to follow these procedures may result in brake judder, excessive noise, or other difficulties in bedding-in the new brake pads. The pads need a fresh surface to lay down an even transfer film. Residue from the previous pad compound on the surface or an irregular surface on a used rotor will cause the pads to grip-slip-grip-slip as they pass over the rotor surface under pressure. The resulting vibration will cause noise and telegraph vibrations through the suspension and steering wheel. This vibration is known as brake judder or brake shimmy. This is typically caused by an uneven transfer film on the rotor surface or an uneven surface on the rotor not allowing that transfer film to develop evenly. This is often misdiagnosed as a warped rotor.
Bedding-in new pads and rotors should be done carefully and slowly. Rapid heat build up in the brake system can lead to warped rotors and or glazed brake pads. Most brake pad compounds will take up to 300-400 miles to fully develop an even transfer film on the rotors.
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