Auto Systems and Repair: Brake Pads

Symptoms of Wear or Failure

  • Grinding or high-pitched squeaking noise while braking
  • Illumination of the brake pad wear indicator
  • Shuddering or vibration upon braking
  • Brake pedal feels unusually hard, soft, or spongy
  • Car pulls to one side when braking

Related Repair Advice

  • Since brake pad material wears out over time, the pads should be inspected periodically
  • The brake system should be serviced every two years. This should include a complete inspection, replacement of the brake fluid, and bleeding of the system.
  • Brake pads must be replaced before the friction material is worn away completely. If they are not, metal-to-metal contact will occur between the brake rotor and the worn brake pad. This will damage the rotor, which will then need to be resurfaced or replaced.
  • Brake rotors should be measured at every brake pad replacement. If found to be at or below the manufacturer's minimum thickness specification, they should be replaced. These measurements should always be noted on your repair order.
  • While it's a safe practice to use rotors worn or machined to the manufacture's minimum specification, brake pedal pulsation is more likely to occur with thinner rotors. If your vehicle is prone to brake pedal pulsation issues, you may be better off replacing worn rotors than re-machining them.
  • Brake repairs are commonly offered at promotional prices that may be lower than the RepairPrice Estimate. Make sure you understand exactly which services are included/excluded in the advertised price.
  • We recommend braking gently for the first 40 to 50 miles of driving on new pads. This will allow them to adjust to the rotors and help prevent squeaking.

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