How to Know When to Change Your Brake Pads

When you step on your vehicle’s brake pedal, the master cylinder releases brake fluid through the lines to the calipers. The fluid pressure forces the calipers to push the brake pads into the rotors. This causes friction to create kinetic energy, and this is what slows down and stops your car, truck, or C/SUV. Hummel’s Automotive Diagnostic & Repair can change your pads when they need it. Here’s how to know when to change the pads.

Average Pad Lifespan

Please keep in mind that we are talking about brake pads in this blog post, not brake shoes. Brake shoes are something different. Brake pads are found on disc brakes, and most vehicles these days have disc brakes on the front wheels at a minimum. The average lifespan of pads is about 40,000 miles, but some things can reduce the life you get out of the pads or you may get more life out of them.

Things That Affect Pad Life

Manufacturing defects, incorrect installation, and how you drive can all affect the life you get out of your vehicle’s brake pads. We can help with the first two problems but the last one is on you. If you love to ride your brakes, brake hard, and coast using your brakes, you’re going to wear down the pads much quicker. Brake easy and take your foot off the brake pedal when you aren’t using it.

Signs You Need New Pads

Your brake pads will tell you when they’re ready to be replaced, and they should be replaced when you are left with 1/4-of-an-inch of pad surface left. Signs your brake pad surface is too low include

  • Squealing brakes while you’re driving
  • Squeaking brakes when you stop
  • Grinding brakes when you stop
  • Vibration in the brake pedal
  • Longer stopping time and distance
  • Dashboard warning light illumination

Depending on the car you drive, you might have a pad wear indicator warning that will turn on once the pads get too low, or the brake light might come on even though the parking brake isn’t set.

Bring your vehicle into us at the first of any of these signs. Driving with worn pads not only makes braking dangerous, but it will also damage other brake system parts, especially the rotors. It isn’t worth the added expense. Let Hummel’s Automotive Diagnostic & Repair in St. George, UT, replace your pads when they need it. Give us a call today.

Photo by Vitalij Sova via Canva Pro

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