It is crucial to replace your brake pads when they are worn out because, not only, it can save your money, but also your vehicle and your life too. However, you might be wondering when you should replace your brake pads or shoes. You might also be thinking about their purpose. In this article, we will be answering all your queries regarding brake pads.
Brake pads and brake shoes – What are they?
There are two types of brakes for passenger vehicles. They are disc brakes and drum brakes. There are differences even though both primarily make use of friction to function.
In disc brakes, pads that are made of organic, metallic, or ceramic substances are used. These are specially engineered to provide friction when the driver applies brakes. After applying brakes, the pads press against a rotor or disc. Therefore, this results in friction, which slows down the vehicle. These are usually found on the front axles of all modern passenger vehicles. Some also have them on the rear axles.
Drum brakes use half-moon-shaped “shoes” which are attached to the inside part of a drum. They are manufactured using substances that provide friction. Friction is provided against the drum which slows down the vehicle. Moreover, they are used on the rear axles of today’s cars and light trucks. Additionally, they were used widely on all four wheels before.
Both pads and shoes wear down with time. Therefore, regular checkups are necessary to determine when you should replace your brake pads. Moreover, parts of the brake system like the brake discs or drums can have damage if replacement is not done within the required time. Furthermore, safety issues are also a concern when driving with brake pads or shoes which are wearing out.
When brake pads or shoes wear out, what happens?
A small amount of friction material wears off every time a brake is applied. Therefore, with time, the friction material starts to thin. Without replacement, the steel parts that hold the brake pads or shoes will be revealed. Moreover, long braking distances greatly affect discs and drums. Below is a list of signs which will answer the question of when you should replace your brake pads.
Squealing or screeching noises
Worn-out pads will cause squealing, screeching, or whining noise to occur whenever the brakes are applied. A metal attachment on the brake pad backing plate causes this sound. Wear indicators have the same mechanism of functioning as dragging fingernails on a chalkboard.
It is advisable to check your vehicle when you hear such sounds regularly. There are pads that use other mechanisms too. Therefore, the sound is not the only way to determine when you should replace your brake pads.
Moreover, screeching sounds may also be heard while driving on wet roads. Wet roads include driving after a rainstorm. An indicator to when you should not replace your brake pads is the disappearance of the sound after using the brake a few times. It only means that there was moisture on the brake pads or shoes. So there is nothing to worry about.
Less than a quarter-inch of brake pad
Visual inspection can also reveal when you should replace your brake pads. This requires you to remove the wheels. Moreover, one should also inspect the brake assembly or “caliper”. In addition, the brake pads which are attached to the brake rotor should also be checked.
The friction material on the brake pad or shoe should be ¼ inch thick or in other words, seven millimeters. If the thickness is less than this, then you should replace your brake pads. Moreover, there should not be a gap of long time periods between one inspection and the next. This is also another sign that you should consider an inspection at the earliest possible.
Deep metallic grinding and growling
A deep, low noise can be another indicator for you to replace your brake pads. This sound may also seem like a metal grinding or a rumbling growl. This is also an indicator that the discs or drums touch the backing plates of brake pads or shoes. This can cause extensive damage to your braking system. So it is advisable that the vehicle is brought to a servicing shop, without further ado.
Indicator lights on the dashboard of your vehicle can also tell you when you should replace your brake pads. Vehicles can have a low-pad warning system so it is advisable to go through the owner’s manual. Moreover, warning sensors, as well as brake pads, need to be replaced if the lights turn on.
What is the duration of the brake pads and shoes?
The answer to this question is not specific. It will vary between vehicles. Different vehicles and drivers are the reason why the answer does not have a general or average answer. Brakes are used more often in urban areas where there is heavy traffic, whereas, in rural areas or highways, the use of brakes is quite limited. There are people who “ride the brake”.
In simple words, it means that they apply the brakes for a longer period of time before releasing them. This is quite a habit of many drivers. Moreover, this can cause greater damage to brake pads at a faster rate.
In urban areas, brake pads usually last between 30000 miles to 35000 miles whereas, in places that require less braking like highway driving where traffic is less, brake pads are good for use for up to 80000 miles. They can even last more.
Therefore, only a little attention and inspection can tell you when you should replace your brake pads. We hope that our article was a useful one in answering all your questions regarding brake pads and shoes.