Written by Car and Driver and published on https://www.caranddriver.com/.
Just as your gas mileage will vary depending on how far you drive and how efficiently you drive, so will the life of your brake pads (or linings). For further info, the brake pad is the material that gets pressed against a metal disc or drum (i.e. brake rotor) to stop your vehicle.
Brake pads generally need to be replaced after every 75,000 kilometres driven, on average. However, some brake pads need to be replaced after 25,000 kilometres, while others can last for 40,000 kilometres. To get a more accurate number for your car’s specific needs, consult your car’s manual.
When to Replace Your Car’s Brake Pads
When it comes to maintaining automobiles, there are important parts, and there are crucial parts. Brake pads are among the most crucial of the crucial components that are considered normal wear items, since they create the friction that helps stop your car when they are pressed against the brake disc (also called the brake rotor) or, on some cars, the brake drum that rotates with the wheel. It is in every driver’s interests—not to mention the interests of their passengers and fellow motorists—that their brake pads always function properly and that they are replaced before they lose effectiveness. But when should you replace the pads?
Brake Pads Wear Out
Whether the brake pads on your vehicle are made of metallic, organic, ceramic, or composite materials, they lose a minute amount of material each time they are used. Eventually, they wear thin, which means they can’t generate the heat caused by friction as effectively, decreasing their ability to stop the vehicle quickly and potentially increasing the distances required to do so. Ultimately, they wear out completely, which can cause a host of issues.
If you are noticing that your brakes aren’t as responsive as they once were or that they fade quickly or that the pedal feels different after you’ve been driving in traffic for a while or down a long mountain pass, it could be time for new brake pads. But sometimes in normal driving, brakes will feel fine until something else tells you they need replacement.
Brake-Wear Warning Signs
Some cars have brake-pad sensors that inform the driver of worn brake pads via a light in the dashboard or a message shown upon startup. Some brake systems call attention to themselves by squealing or screeching when they get too thin; while unpleasant, this is usually harmless. It’s caused by a metal scraper attached to the pads that serves as a warning alarm. If the noise is less of a screech and more of a grumbling, grinding sound, the pads at one or all of the wheels may be gone altogether, and further use of the brakes can cause serious damage to the rotors. This is not a sound you want to hear, and if you do you must take your vehicle to a brake shop immediately. Better still, you want to replace the pads before you ever hear such warnings.
With car maintenance, there are important parts and crucial parts. Brake pads are crucial parts.
To ensure that your car is always able to consistently execute the swiftest, safest stops possible, we strongly recommend changing the brake pads before they exhibit the irregularities mentioned above—or worse. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual likely recommends inspecting the pads at every oil change because brake-pad life can vary greatly, depending on your driving style and whether the car is driven regularly in hilly areas or in dense traffic. Brake pads should be replaced when they reach their service limit, which is usually about 0.1 inch. As for cost, that too varies widely, depending on a number of factors, so we recommend researching the cost of brake-pad replacement well in advance of when the need arises. That way, it can be budgeted into the rest of your normal automobile-related expenses.
What we don’t recommend is waiting to replace the brake pads for weeks or months after the first warning signs emerge, or considering properly functioning brakes anything less than a top priority. From a safety standpoint, they are more important than the engine. After all, a poorly maintained engine could result in engine failure. But if your poorly maintained brakes take longer to stop than they should or, worse, fail, the result could be life-threatening.
Pay attention to the condition of your brakes now and you’ll avoid big repair bills—or an accident—later. If you’re feeling ambitious and want to replace your vehicle’s brake pads yourself, you’ll also need to bleed the brake system afterward.
Original post here https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a26407325/when-replace-brake-pads/.