The most crucial component of your car might just be the brakes. They are the parts that make it possible for you to stop quickly, keeping you safe. Driving for an extended period of time while using worn brake pads will harm the brake rotors and is risky because it will impair brake effectiveness. Now the question is how often should you change brake pads? Well, the recommended interval to change your brake pads is every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, while the ideal interval to replace your rotors is every 50,000 to 70,000 miles.

Brake pads change: how often & signs that it's time

Thus, in this article, we’ll be discussing how often brake pads should be changed, and how to change brake pads.

Let’s begin!

Contents

Signs that it’s time to change brake pads

Here are 6 most common signs you’ll notice when it’s time to change your brake pads:

Squeaking or Squealing Coming From the Brakes

The first sign that your brake pads are getting close to the end of their usable life is a squealing or squeaking noise emanating from the brakes. Brake pads that are too heavily worn down frequently produce squealing noises. When your pads are sufficiently worn down, a grinding sound will start to occur, and you will also start to damage your rotors, raising the expense of repair.

Grinding Sound When Braking

Your brake pads need to be replaced right away if you hear grinding noises when you press the brake pedal. When it’s time to replace the brake pads, some brake pads include built-in metal wear indicators that produce a loud noise. You risk much greater damage and more expensive repairs if you allow the brake pads to continue grinding.

Brake Pad Indicator Light Comes On

Most modern cars come equipped with brake warning lights that are located on the dashboard. One is the brake system warning light, while the other is the Antilock Braking System (ABS) light. Your brake light will not always illuminate when there is a problem; it is also the light that turns on when the parking brake is engaged. But, if your parking brake isn’t engaged and you’re seeing a brake warning light, it’s time to have a brake expert examine your system to identify the problems.

Vibration When Braking

Another sign that the braking system in your car needs professional attention is vibration when you press the brakes. It’s likely that your rotors are deformed, which has caused uneven brake pad wear.

Longer Stopping Time

Loss of performance when applying the brakes is yet another major sign that your brakes need to be examined. If you’re having trouble stopping when you press the brakes, your brake pads may be entirely worn out or your brake fluid may be low. You should visit a brake repair as soon as you can to acquire a true comprehension of what’s happening with your brakes so that you don’t lose all braking capability.

Read more: The most common and possible causes of brake noise

Brake Pads Appear To Be Thin

Visually examining your brake pads for wear is one simple approach to check on their condition. To accomplish this, locate your brake pad by looking between the spokes on your wheels. You should generally replace your brake pads if they appear to be less than 14 inches thick, or 6.4 mm.

How to replace brake pads and rotors?

For safety, Install wheel chocks before leaving the car parked on a dry, level surface. Wear safety glasses and gloves for protection. When raising the car, exercise caution. For the jack and jack stands, choose safe jack points.

Check the brake fluid

Check the brake fluid reservoir by opening the hood. It must have some fluid evacuated if it is full. By doing this, you’ll be able to prevent brake caliper piston overflow spills.

Raise the vehicle and remove the wheels

While the wheel is stationary and on the ground, remove the lug nuts using a breaker bar and socket. Utilizing a hydraulic jack and a safe location, raise the car. A jack stands or stands should be placed under the necessary points before you securely drop the vehicle onto them. Wheel and lug nuts should be taken off.

Remove the bolt and caliper

The caliper bolts ought should be quite simple to access. It will be simpler to access by turning the wheel to the left or right. Use a bungee cord to suspend the caliper after it has been taken out. Note: Depending on your car, removing the caliper could need different procedures.

Remove the old pads and rotors

Check the worn-out pads for irregular wear patterns. Uneven wear is a sign that the pad or pads are “sticking” as a result of a sticking caliper piston, worn pad or caliper hardware, or a lack of lubricant. When checking for uneven wear, the brake pad box will have a guide available for reference.

Remove the rotor after removing the pads. In order to remove the rotor from many automobiles, you must first remove the caliper mounting bracket. The spindle assembly is bolted to the brake caliper mounting bracket, which is bolted to the brake caliper. Remove the brake caliper, then the brake caliper bracket, in order to remove the brake rotor. The rotor can then be accessed as a result.

Keep an eye out for any rust or uneven wear when removing the rotor. To complete the removal from the hub assembly, you might require a mallet or a rust penetrant like PB Blaster.

Clean the rotor mounting surface and the new rotor

To get rid of rust and debris, the hub surface needs to be cleaned with a wire brush. By doing so, the potential of pedal pulsation will be completely eliminated and the new rotor will fit flush on the hub. Pulsation in the pedal can be caused by rust that is as thin as a sheet of paper. When you’re done install the new rotor

Install  brake hardware

New hardware should be used for the brakes. At slow stopping speeds, worn brake hardware causes vibrations that are audible as brake noise. Every time you replace brakes, these clips need to be replaced. Before fitting the hardware, make sure to put brake lubricant at the slider contact points.

Get brake pads ready to install

To accurately install the pads, pay attention to the wear-sensor position orientation. Wear-sensor positioning varies between pads. Some pad sets only include wear sensors on the inner pads, whereas other sets have wear sensors on all four pads.

Install new brake pads

After installing it, you can move in.

Inspect the brake caliper piston and then compress

Check for any brake fluid seepage by looking at the brake caliper and piston. Use the front/rear disc brake pad spreader set to securely seat the caliper piston if the caliper and piston are clean. Through Loan-A-Tool, you can get the spreader set for nothing from any AutoZone. The disc brake pad spreader set must be properly seated in order for the caliper pistons on some rear disc brakes to screw in.

Install the caliper

Put the caliper back on the bungee cord after removing it. Important note: Be careful not to overtighten the caliper bolts. This could result in much more serious issues. After starting to tighten the bolts using a socket, use a torque wrench to finish the job.

Check the brake fluid reservoir

If necessary, top off to the maximum fill line. Before moving on to the next step, confirm that the brake fluid reservoir cap is in place. This will prevent spills.

Pump the brakes and check the fluid reservoir again

This will ensure that the system is functioning and that the braking fluid is flowing correctly. Slowly pump the brake pedal until it feels firm while seated in the car. WARNING! Don’t depress the brake pedal all the way to the floor. The brake master cylinder assembly may sustain internal damage as a result. Refill the tank if necessary. To prevent spills, always replace the cap after topping off.

Install the wheel and lower the vehicle

While the car is elevated, mount the wheel and tighten the lug nuts. To tighten the lug nuts, raise the car with a jack, take off the jack supports, and then lower it until the wheels barely contact. For the recommended torque for your vehicle, refer to your owner’s handbook.

Do the same for the other wheels

Do the same for the other wheels and Before you start driving, make sure the brake pedal is solid.

Go for a test drive

To break in the new brakes, take a safe, straightforward drive. Increase your speed to roughly 50 mph on a safe road. Slowly and gently apply the brakes to reduce the vehicle’s speed to 30 mph. To give the brakes time to cool, keep driving at this speed for another two to three minutes. Up until the new brakes are prepared for daily usage, repeat this procedure four or five times. Bedding brakes is the name of this procedure.

Note: These instructions offer a general overview for changing brake pads and rotors on most cars’ front disc brakes. By year, make, and model, some steps may change. For more detailed information, consult a repair manual or one of our films tailored to a particular car. Take your car to a dependable mechanic if you are unsure that you can complete the task.

How often should brake pads be changed?

Your car brakes are what’s keeping you from getting into a collision. It might not be able to stop in time to avoid colliding with anything in front of it if the brake pads aren’t up to standard. So, it’s crucial to be aware of when to replace your brake pads.

To keep wear to a minimum, you should typically change your brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles. To maintain the best possible condition of your brakes, you should replace your rotors every 50,000 to 70,000 miles.

Can you drive with worn brake pads?

Brake pads change: how often & signs that it's time

Is it possible for you to still drive if your brake pads are worn? Yes, technically. Should you? In particular, if they are severely or unevenly worn, no. Regular brake system maintenance and pad replacement can help extend the life of individual brake system parts, support brake safety, and even enhance your driving experience.

The harder it may be for your brakes to slow down and stop your car, the more worn out they are (depending on how the pad wears). It’s critical to pay attention to the response time of your brakes if you suspect they are worn. It could feel like you need to press the brake pedal down more to stop if you have glazed, worn brakes while driving.

Longer stopping distances, brake slippage, and your automobile pulling to one side as you brake are other negative impacts of using glazed brakes. The latter can happen when the brake pads fail to engage or disengage the rotor as intended and are unable to grip both sides consistently, leading to drifting or slippage when you brake.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, maintaining safe and effective braking performance depends on being aware of the warning indications that it’s time to change brake pads. Squeaking or squealing noises, decreased brake reactivity, longer stopping distances, and obvious brake pad deterioration are some of these warning signs.

Knowing how to replace brake pads correctly is as essential when the time comes. The procedure normally entails safely raising the car, removing the wheels, removing the old brake pads, replacing them, and then carefully putting everything back together. It’s crucial that you stick to manufacturer recommendations, use the proper replacement gadgets, and take into account hiring a professional if you’re concerned about handling the brake pad replacement yourself.

For a vehicle to operate safely and efficiently, brake pads need to be maintained regularly and replaced when necessary. Vehicle owners can ensure reliable and safe braking and a safer driving environment on the road by recognizing the indicators and knowing the procedure.

That is all for this article where we discussed signs it’s time to change brake pads, and how to change them. I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!