Brake pads are a critical safety feature of your car. They work with the rotors to slow down your vehicle and stop safely. When your brake pads are worn out, you can’t stop quickly and efficiently. That’s why it’s important to know when it’s time to change them.
If you notice any of these six signs that your brake pads need replacing, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your mechanic:
1. Your brake light comes on
If your car’s brake light comes on while you’re driving, that means there’s a problem with your brakes. Your car’s computer may have detected a fault in one of the wheels or in the anti-lock braking system (ABS). It could also mean that your brake fluid is low or contaminated. It’s best to take your car to a mechanic right away so they can inspect the problem and fix it as soon as possible.
2. Your brake pads are visibly worn down
The simplest way to tell if you need new brake pads is by looking at them: If they’re worn down to less than ¼ inch, they’ll need replacing. This isn’t just because they might not stop your car as efficiently — it’s also because there’s more room for error in braking distance when the pads are worn down too far. You’ll also want to replace them immediately before they cause any damage to other parts of your vehicle.
3. You hear a squealing or grinding noise from your brake pads
If you hear a squealing or grinding sound when you apply pressure on your brakes, chances are that your pads need replacing. This sound occurs because there isn’t enough friction between your brake shoes and drum or rotor, and they’re rubbing against each other instead of stopping properly. The only way to eliminate this problem is by replacing both parts at once so they can work together as intended.
4. The pedal goes down farther than usual
This is usually the first sign that your brakes need replacing. When brake pads are worn out, it takes more pressure to get them to engage with the rotors. The pedal will feel spongy, and you will need to press harder on it to stop your car in a reasonable amount of time. If you have to press down harder than usual on the brake pedal to stop, it’s a good idea to look into getting new brake pads.
5. You feel the car pulling to one side
If you notice your vehicle pulls to one side when braking, this could mean that one of your brake pads has worn down more than its counterpart. When one pad wears out faster than the other, you will notice that your vehicle pulls towards that side when braking. This is because the worn-out pad will be contacting the rotor before its counterpart does, causing friction and heat on that side of the car.
6. The steering wheel vibrates when you hit the brakes
If your brake pads are worn, it can cause the steering wheel to vibrate when you apply the brakes. This is especially true if your car has drum brakes. Older cars typically have drum brakes, and they are more prone to vibrations than disc brakes.
Brake pads are a critical part of your car’s braking system. They help slow down or stop the vehicle by contacting the rotors and creating friction, causing the vehicle to slow down. To make sure that your brakes are working properly, you should have them checked regularly.