A lot of vehicles being driven around today rely on a braking system that’s older than some car brands. Disc brakes are the most commonly used types of brakes on cars, especially when it comes to the front two wheels. Their most important component is a pad that presses against the rotor of the wheel when you apply force to the brake pedal. Pads are basically pieces of friction-creating materials that have been made specifically for use in braking systems. But these materials can wear down and if yours are showing signs of wear, it’s time to replace them. There are a few important things to keep in mind when replacing brake pads.
What Are Brake Pads Made of Now?
Brake pads online and physical distributors manufacture brake pads out of a few different materials, including:
Organic or NAO (non-asbestos organic) pads, which are the most affordable and also the most silent-operating pads. However, they are not that durable and create a lot of brake dust. Organic pads are eco-friendly, as they’re made from sustainable materials that don’t produce any toxic waste.
Semi-metallic pads are a step up from organic car brake pads in terms of performance, and they contain metals such as copper and steel alongside resin. Although these pads perform better than organic ones, they are not as silent-operating and affordable. Semi-metallic pads do not function well in colder climates and they’re most suitable for use for everyday driving situations.
Ceramic brake pads are the most expensive option, but they offer the best braking performance and dissipate heat pretty quickly. Ceramic pads are lightweight and cause less brake dust than both organic and semi-metallic pads. Ceramic pads are the most durable and break down slowly.
Do Ceramic Brake Pads Wear Rotors Faster?
While they are not meant for regular driving ceramic pads do not wear the rotors faster. In fact, quality ceramic pads will wear the rotors less than your typical organic or semi-metallic pads.
How Long Do Brake Pads Last?
On average, brake pads last about 80,000km. This number can vary depending on your driving style, road conditions and other environmental factors.
How to Check Brake Pads
There are multiple ways to check auto brake pads with the easiest method being just by observing the pad through the holes in the wheel. You can usually tell how worn out your pads are just by taking a glance at them. If they are less than 6mm thick then they need to be replaced. If the pad is thicker than 6mm and you are experiencing some braking issues bring your vehicle to a mechanic.
If you’re not able to see the brake pad then you’ll need to remove the wheel to see whether the pads are worn down. This is done by loosening the bolts on the wheel first., then jacking your car up until the wheel is in the air, before removing the bolts to get to the pads. If needed, brake pads online and in-store mechanics suggest that you remove the pad from the calliper to get a better look. If you can clearly see how thick the pad is, you’ll just need to remove it if it’s too thin.
What Happens If My Brake Pads Wear Out?
If your brake pads wear out and you drive with worn-out pads then you will need to press the brakes more aggressively in order to slow down or stop. If there’s not enough friction material on them, your pads won’t apply the necessary pressure on the rotors. In turn, this can wear your tyres down and cause them to become unbalanced. You can also cause other detrimental issues if you don’t replace your brake pads on time.
What Causes Brake Pads to Stick?
While there are many reasons why your pads would stick, the main and most common reason is the brake callipers getting stuck. The callipers get stuck when the rubber surrounding the calliper piston gets torn. This issue can be solved by replacing the calliper assembly.
Does It Matter Which Brake Pad Goes Where?
When replacing your brake pads it doesn’t matter which pad you put on which wheel, because both pads look the same no matter how you flip them or where you put them. It’s more important that you pay close attention to the wear indicator of the pad.
You need to install the pads so that this indicator is in contact with the turn of the rotor. But even if you don’t put the pads with the wear indicator facing the rotors it’s still not a big deal you just won’t be able to tell the thickness of the pads by eye and sound. Instead, you’ll have to remove the wheel and measure it by hand, which can be time-consuming and requires quite a bit of effort, especially if you don’t have all the right tools at home.