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How to check brake pads?

How to check brake pads?

When a car's brakes start to lose their effectiveness, the first thing to look at is the level of wear on the brake pads. First and foremost, here's how a car's disc brake system works: when you step on the brake pedal, the pressurized brake caliper tightens, causing the pads to "bite" the brake disc, which is itself integral to the wheel. By rubbing against the rotors, the pads slow the rotation of the wheel until it comes to a complete stop. Brake pads are wearing parts that lose thickness as a result of friction against the disc when braking. Therefore, they must be replaced over time to ensure total safety on the road. Brake pads that are defective or in poor condition show a few warning signs that it may be time to replace them. MOSTPLUS gives you the keys to detecting brake pads at the end of their life!

Visual inspection of pad wear

The best way to do this is to remove the wheel so that you have free access to the vehicle's braking system. However, if you have sufficiently drilled rims, you can perform this visual inspection through the spokes of your rims without having to remove the entire assembly.

The brake pads are attached to the brake chamber, a kind of shoe that surrounds the side of the disk. First of all, it is necessary to distinguish between the lining of the pads and its support, which has a different width: only the lining needs to be replaced. If the pad holder comes into contact with the disk, it could cause irreversible damage.


To know if your pads are still in good working condition, the thickness of their lining should be at least 3 mm: use a ruler to check their wear. If the thickness is less than 3 mm, the pads should be replaced. Some cars are equipped with a brake pad wear indicator: when the pads become too thin, a light on the dashboard comes on to let you know it's time to replace them.

Check other indicators

  • Check the vehicle's brake fluid level regularly: if it's at its lowest level, your brake pads need to be replaced.
  • Be aware of any unusual grinding or vibration of the brake pedal when braking. This could mean your brake pads are worn or damaged.
  • Your stopping distance has increased;
  • Your brakes are heating up;
  • Your vehicle is off-center when braking;
  • Unusual shuddering or vibration.

If you have the slightest doubt about the condition of your brake pads, don't wait to have your brake system checked by an automotive professional.

What can you do to extend the life of your brakes?

  • Eco-driving: Driving at a moderate speed puts less stress on the brakes. This also saves fuel and tire wear.
  • Downshifting: By making use of the vehicle's gear ratios, you can adjust your speed and at the same time reduce the load on the brakes.
  • Take your foot off the brake pedal: after hard braking, when the materials that make up the rotors and pads are hot, this action prevents premature wear.
  • Look into the distance: This allows the driver to anticipate each braking maneuver, thus reducing brake wear.
  • Traveling Light: The lighter the car, the less pressure on the brakes.
  • Get regular maintenance: This will allow you to repair the brakes before they are damaged or worn down to the point where they become a problem.

When should you replace your brake pads?

Brake pads are a wearing part that should be replaced about every 30,000 kilometers (18,000 miles). However, brake pad wear can vary depending on how the pads are used. Brake pads that are used mainly in city traffic with frequent braking will wear out much faster.

Similarly, a sporty driving style that favors sudden, intense or harsh braking will wear the pads more quickly.

Finally, brake pad wear can also depend on the material used. Brake pads used to contain asbestos. This dangerous material is no longer used, which has shortened the life of brake pads.

They are made of synthetic composites such as cellulose, aramide, etc. The life of these different types of pads is not the same: non-metallic pads wear out faster.

To ensure that you replace your brake pads on time without endangering your life, you should check the wear of your brake pads at every service or pre-service inspection. Maintain the thickness specified by your manufacturer to keep you driving safely. So check the thickness of your brake pads regularly and replace them if they are too worn.

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