How To Check Your Car's Brake Pads
April 24th, 2017
With power brakes, it can be hard to notice when brake pads have worn to a point of needing replacement. Braking performance often doesn’t seem to drop off considerably until the brakes have gotten to a point of actually being dangerous! Here are some ways to get out in front of a problem like worn brakes:
Listen to your brakes. Many brake pads are designed with a spring-steel tab that protrudes from the backing plate and serves as a wear indicator. When the brake pad friction material has worn down to a minimum thickness, the tab will drag on the rotor and create a loud screech. If you hear a metallic grinding noise when you apply the brakes, it means that your pads are worn completely through and the metal backing plate of the pad is in contact with the rotor – very dangerous!
Look at the brake dust on the wheels. Brake dust is normal, but if you suddenly notice that the amount of brake dust on your wheels has dropped off, it could mean that there just isn’t much friction material left to even create dust.
Watch your braking performance. If you notice one or more wheels locking up and skidding while you brake, that’s a bad sign. Other bad signs include a pulsation through the brake pedal or longer stopping distances.
Examine the pads themselves. If you have alloy wheels with spokes or slots, you may be able to see the pads directly. If you’re so inclined, remove the wheels and look. The friction material on the pads should never be thinner than about ¼” – if so, it’s definitely time to replace the pads.
At Buckhead Tire & Auto Repair, our trained and experienced techs can take on any brake problem your vehicle is showing. Brake inspections should be done twice a year, for your safety. Don’t just take your brakes for granted – if you have any doubts, make an appointment with us at Buckhead Tire & Auto Repair and let us make sure your brakes are good for a long time to come. Your safety (and that of everyone else on the road) is riding on it!