Car Health & Peace of mind !

Safety & Braking System !

Identifying Signs & Symptoms of Failing Brakes

Your car needs to be in perfect shape at all times. Is it worth owning a car, which is super-fast, but doesn’t stop when you want it to. Your vehicle needs to be able to come to a stop safely, reliably, and consistently.

It’s a matter of safety and should never be compromised. Being able to identify signs and symptoms of failing brakes is essential. This ensures safety and good health of your vehicle.

Brake pads are major parts of your vehicle’s braking system and keeping them in working condition is crucial for your safety and others commuters as well. On an average, brake pads need to be replaced every 40,000 to 50,000 KM. However, this figure may vary, depending on your driving conditions and styles.

Let us find out important aspects, about your brake pad’s health and discuss major queries around it. This post is aimed to help keep you and your family safe.

Signs and Symptoms !

Signs & Symptoms of Failing Brakes

Never Ignore These 9 Warning Signs & Symptoms of Failing Brakes

1.    Brake Light On.

2.    Squealing, Squeaking, Deep Metallic Grinding and Growling Noises.

3.    Physical inspection reveals less than a Quarter Inch of Brake Pad.

4.    Wobbling, Vibration or Scraping When Braking.

5.    Leaking Fluid.

6.    Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal.

7.    Car Pulling to One Side When Braking.

8.    Burning Smell While Driving.

9.    Bouncing Up and Down When You Stop Short.

To check the life of the brake pad, you need to determine its thickness. You might need a flashlight to get a good look at the brake pad. If the pads look thin, less than 1/4″, it might be time to get them replaced. On some brake pads, you might see a wear indicator slot down the center of the pad.

If brake pads are allowed to wear down to less than a quarter of an inch, it will damage the rotor. Also the lack of brake pads means the heat from the friction won’t disperse correctly, which could cause the whole braking system to overheat and fail.

When the pads and shoes wear down, it can result in a metallic grinding noise, as the backing plate starts making contact with the rotor or drum. This is one of the Signs & Symptoms of Failing Brakes, that needs your immediate attention. Brake pads also have a metal wear indicator that drags on the rotors when the pads are worn out. This will make a grinding or squealing noise.

Warnings and Precautions !

The biggest danger of riding your brakes is the possibility of generating so much heat that the brake fluid actually boils. When it boils, however, gas bubbles form in the fluid, and the gas can be compressed. Under these conditions, pushing the pedal won’t build pressure in the system, and the brakes will fail.

Under normal circumstances, braking a bit more gradually over a longer distance is a bit better than stopping suddenly. In general you’ll have less heat build up, and less wear on your pads.

Drive with the flow of traffic to avoid any unnecessary heavy braking. Give yourself plenty of following distance from the car in front of you so you can coast to a nice, easy stop. Remove any unnecessary weight from your vehicle. Keep your speed low in heavy traffic and avoid any sudden braking.

Continuing to drive with worn brake pads is dangerous, and you should never let your pads get to the point where you can hear a harsh, metallic grinding noise. The grinding noise is the sound of metal on metal, and indicates brake pads which have been completely worn down.

In most of the vehicles you can check pad wear without taking off the wheels. Usually, you can see the brake pad through the wheel and won’t need to remove it. Once you find the brake pad, notice its thickness. If it appears to be very thin, it’s almost used up.

Diagnosis !

Brake pads should typically be replaced when approximately 1/8″ to 3/16″ of friction material remains on the steel backing plate. Brake rotors should be replaced before their thickness has reached the prescribed “Worn Rotor Minimum Thickness” limit (expressed in millimeters) engraved on the edge of the brake disc.

This is the standard thickness size that you will see for most new brake pads. It should take about 50,000 KM (more or less) for the thickness to 3 to 4 millimeters. It all depends on how aggressively and frequently you use your brakes so while 50k KM is average for many, 20k KM may be more realistic for some.

The brake pads usually start with 11mm. You have 4mm left (replace point is 3) so you have used 7mm in 33k KM. At your rate it will take 33/7 or about another 5K KM to wear another 1mm.

When a brake pad that’s 12 mm thick new wears to approximately 3 mm of pad life remaining, the metal sensor usually becomes exposed and makes contact with the disc. Either way, the brake pads themselves are worn to about 25% and will need replacement soon, depending on how brake-intensive your driving is.

It will also be odd if all of your pads wear exactly the same. If the one you looked at is down to 2 mm the other pad or the pads on the other wheel may be more worn than that. Brake pads often, but not always, have warning clips attached that contact the rotor before the pads are gone. Frequently keep updating yourself for similar Signs & Symptoms of Failing Brakes.

Average Life of Brake Pads !

Generally, brake pads need to be replaced after about 50,000 KM. Some need to be replaced after 25,000 KM, while others can last for 70,000 KM – it all depends on the factors listed above.

It’s impossible to state an exact number. However, the average brake life is between 25,000 KM and 65,000 KM, but there’s generally a considerable 40,000-KM range in play — some drivers will have brake pads that will last beyond 80,000 KM.

As a general rule of thumb, there’s about a 40,000 KM range in play. Average brake pad life is somewhere around 25,000 to 65,000 KM. However, many people have heard of brake pads lasting more than 70,000 KM, even beyond the 80,000 KM threshold.

Remedies !

The size and weight of the vehicle also have an impact on how fast the brake pads wear out. This means the rear brakes will often wear out before the front brakes. In vehicles with a conventional proportioning valve, the front brakes typically wear two to three times faster than the pads or shoes in the rear.

Video Source & Credit: O’Reilly Auto Parts

The short answer is that you can replace your brake pads in pairs (front or rear) as necessary, but don’t have to replace both sets at the same time unless they both need it.

Video Source & Credit: milanmastracci

Unless the rotors are worn beyond the mandatory discard thickness, we prefer to replace the pads only. Not only does this obviously save money, but time. New pads must be burnished into new rotors before the best braking performance is achieved.

While both parts wear, the pads are designed to wear faster. If the rotors are worn to the point of needing replacement then probably the pads do, too. If you replace the rotor, the pads should be flat to match the new flat rotors – otherwise it’s highly advisable to replace both together.

Cost & Time Implications !

For brake pad replacement only, you can expect to pay between $35 and $150 for parts. Labor typically runs between $80 and $120 per axle, making for a grand total of between $115 and $270 per axle. Replacing rotors with your brake pads is critical for best braking and maximum safety. The average brake pad replacement cost is about $150 per axle, and can range from about $100 per axle, up to approximately $300 per axle.

A pad replacement and rotor service generally requires 2.8 hours. On the other hand, caliper replacements average 1.4 hours for both front brakes, while replacement of both front disc rotors is quoted at 1.0 hours.