Worn brake pads symptoms

A vehicle’s braking system is an essential component that should be included in every maintenance routine. If the brake pad is faulty, driving around in such conditions is risky as there will be no way to stop the vehicle, which can easily lead to an accident.

For some cars, it’s easy to tell when there’s an issue with the pad as it features an indicator light on the dashboard. But apart from this indicator, you can use several other telltale symptoms to tell when the pad is faulty. Note that every brake pad has an average lifespan of 20,000 to 40,000 miles. So if you’ve been using it for more than this period, replacing it before it fails is recommended. But in this guide, let’s discuss the various common symptoms of a faulty pad.

Top Bad Brake Pad Symptoms

It’s essential to ensure every brake component is in perfect working condition and is vital to ensuring your safety on the road. Below are signs to look out for when a faulty pad.

  • Noisy Brakes

    One telltale sign that the brake pad is broken is that you will hear a lot of noise from that tire. It makes a squealing noise as though two metals are rubbing against each other. Sometimes you might only hear this sound when you press the brake to stop the vehicle; other times, it’s while driving.

  • Brake Warning Light

    The easiest way to know when there is a fault with the brake pad is with the warning light on the dashboard. This indicator is a sign to inspect the braking system. However, it is worth noting that this warning light can also indicate a low brake pressure if you have a hydraulic braking system or some issue with the electrical system of your ABS.

  • Spongy Brake Pedal

    Most people drive around with a spongy brake pedal without knowing the cause. But in most cases, this results from a faulty brake line. When there is air in the line, it reduces the efficiency of the hydraulic brake fluid. Emptying the fluid and replacing it with a new one can help eliminate the air in the line. Also, checking the brake pads is the culprit causing air leaks into the brake line.

  • Slower Brakes (Longer brake distance)

    Additionally, when you notice your brake takes longer to stop your vehicle, it means there’s a faulty pad. So if the brake line has accumulated a lot of air or the brake pad has worn much, inspecting it will tell the cause of the issue, and you can address it accordingly.

  • Vibrations

    Vibration is also common when the brake pad is not working well. Probably because the pad isn’t in its proper position, causing it not to provide a firm enough grip on the tire. And this can make the vehicle vibrate slightly, but enough to feel it. Removing the worn-out pad and replacing it with a new one should fix this issue.

  • Scratches on the brake rotor surface

    If when you inspect the braking system of a car, you notice the rotor surface is scratched, it’s a sign that the pad is faulty. The groove or scratch on the rotor’s surface is because the defective pad is grinding, which can lead to further damage.

Checking The Brake Pads

A vehicle’s pad ought to be checked often. It’s best to include checking the braking system when performing routine maintenance. Doing this will give you peace of mind and confirm it’s in perfect condition.

If, after checking the pads, you notice something is not right, then contact your mechanic for a professional opinion about the condition of your vehicle’s pads. Ideally, the pads’ thickness should be between ¼ and 3/16 inches on average. Anything larger or small than this figure means it’s defective and needs to be replaced. The pads are easy to replace; but we don't recommend to do it yourself, it is better to contact our professionals about brake pads replacement.

Brake pad Ferrari

How to check your brake pads?

There are two main ways to check the condition of your brake pads: with the wheels on or without the wheels on. Learn more about it below.

  • Checking the brake pads without removing the wheels

    The brake pads on most vehicles are visible. So, from the tiny space the tire provides, you can inspect the thickness of the brake pads. If the thickness of the pads is less than 4mm thick, then you have about 20% of the brake pad left. Also, check for the metal wear indicator, which indicates how long the pad can last. Also, if the pad touches the rotor or breaks off, it’s time to get a new one.

  • Checking the brake pads by removing the wheels

    Another way to inspect the pads is by removing the wheels. For this, you need a wrench and a car jack. First, loosen the lug nuts in the tire, then elevate the car about 6 inches from the ground. Completely remove the lug nuts and pull the tire out. You can inspect the pads properly with the tire out of the way.

    Carefully check the thickness of the pad to see if it’s still manageable. But if the condition is bad, have it replaced immediately.

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