How to Tell If Your Brake Pads Need Replacing

By: Milstead Automotive | Published 10/20/2021


With power brakes, it can be hard to notice when brake pads have worn to a point of needing replacement. Braking performance often doesn’t seem to drop off considerably until the brakes have gotten to a point of actually being dangerous. For this reason, regular inspection can make all the difference. Milstead Automotive in Spring, TX has compiled this helpful list to help keep drivers ahead of a problem like worn brakes:

Listen to Your Brakes
Many brake pads are designed with a spring-steel tab that protrudes from the backing plate and serves as a wear indicator. When the brake pad friction material has worn down to a minimum thickness, the tab will drag on the rotor and create a loud screech. If you hear a metallic grinding noise when you apply the brakes, it means that your pads are worn completely through, and the metal backing plate of the pad is in contact with the rotor – very dangerous!
Look at the Brake Dust on the Wheels
Brake dust is normal, but if you suddenly notice that the amount of brake dust on your wheels has dropped off, it could mean that there just isn’t much friction material left to even create dust. Be on the lookout for these black flecks on your wheels.
Watch Your Braking Performance
If you notice one or more wheels locking up and skidding while you brake, that’s a bad sign. Other bad signs include a pulsation through the brake pedal or covering longer distances before coming to a complete stop. When your brakes just don’t respond like they used to, you are definitely in need of an inspection by a professional!
Examine the Pads Themselves
If you have alloy wheels with spokes or slots, you may be able to see the pads directly. If you’re so inclined, remove the wheels and look. The friction material on the pads should never be thinner than about ¼” – if so, it’s definitely time to replace the pads. However, it's always best to consult your local mechanic about the specifics of your particular brake pads.
If You're in Need of Brake Repair, Make Your Appointment Today!
At Milstead Automotive, brake repair is one of our specialties, and our trained and experienced repair technicians can take on any brake problem your vehicle is showing. Don’t just take your brakes for granted – if you have any doubts, make an appointment with us at Milstead Automotive and we'll make sure your brakes are good for a long time to come. Your safety (and that of everyone else on the road) is riding on it!

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