Automobile

What’s the ideal brake pad thickness and how to check it

Your car’s brake pad thickness is a gauge of how much brake material is available for braking operations. It’s a quick way to find out if your brakes need to be replaced or are still functional. Your car needs to have good brakes if you want to stop in time for an accident. The thickness of the brake pads is often measured to assess brake health.

Everything you need to know about brake pad thickness

You risk compromising your on-road safety when the brake pads deteriorate. It’s critical to know the minimum brake pad thickness required before replacement. The brake pads will eventually wear out regardless of the type of car you drive, the engine type (or even whether it’s electric), and your driving habits (aggressive or mild).

The majority of an automobile’s components are built to last, but brake pads are designed to slowly degrade over time in order to prevent the replacement of much more expensive components.

Every driver should be concerned about brake wear, as it can prolong stopping times even though it won’t result in a major failure. Well, in this article, the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • What’s the ideal brake pad thickness?
  • Do some brake pads last longer than others?
  • What’s the recommended brake pad thickness?
  • How can you tell when your brake pad needs replacement?
  • When should brake pads be replaced?
  • How can you check the brake pad thickness?
  • What does a brake pad replacement cost?
  • What are the FAQs about brake pad thickness?

Read more: Brake pad and rotor replacement cost

Ok, let’s get to it.

What’s the ideal brake pad thickness?

The ideal brake pad thickness should measure six millimeters or more. They won’t perform as well once they go below this level. The replacement shouldn’t be put off for too long, but if your budget is limited, you might be able to extend the life a little.

A new brake pad thickness is typically between 8 and 12 millimeters (1/2 inch) when purchased. The friction material with which your brake pad makes contact with the wheel rotor may degrade over time, leading to pad wear.

You are at risk once the brake pads have reached a thickness of three millimeters. Safety concerns arise, and more harm to other brake system components may result.

Read more: Understanding automotive braking system

Do some brake pads last longer than others?

You have a selection of products to choose from, just like with other vehicle parts. You can get affordable brake pads if you’re on a tight budget. On the other hand, if you prefer a more expensive set of pads, those are also an option. In almost all situations, you will get what you pay for.

Do some brake pads last longer than others?

Cheap brake pads are made of low-quality materials. They won’t dissipate the thermal energy as well, which limits their durability. Performance brakes, on the other hand, cost more, but they are better at withstanding heat, resulting in slower wear and greater braking power.

However, here are typical reasons why some brake pads last longer than others:

  • Organically produced, inexpensive pads tend to be softer and lose their effectiveness more quickly than other pad types.
  • Semi-metallic pads are made of a more lasting substance and are tougher than organic varieties. These will work better than organic pads at stopping and will stay longer.
  • Compared to organic or semi-metallic pads, ceramic pads typically manage heat better and are also made of a more durable material. These will typically offer the finest standard of health.

What’s the recommended brake pad thickness?

For optimal performance, your brake pads should be thicker than 6.4 mm (1/4 inch). If it is thinner than this, think about replacing it soon. The majority of auto mechanics also agree that 3 mm is the absolute minimum brake pad thickness. If the brake pads are any thinner, you must replace them right away to prevent brake failure.

Read more: Understanding the working of anti-lock braking system (ABS)

How can you tell when your brake pad needs replacement?

How can you tell when your brake pad needs replacement?

Here are a few signs and symptoms you’ll notice when your brake pad thickness has degraded and it needs replacement.

Noises when braking

The first sign that your brake pads are getting close to the end of their useful life is a squeaking or squealing sound coming from the brakes. Brake pads that are too severely worn out frequently make squealing noises. When your pads are sufficiently worn down, a grinding sound will begin to develop, and it will also start to damage your rotors, raising the cost of repair.

Car pulls to one side when braking

Your car’s brake pads may occasionally wear out unevenly. As a result, if you press the brakes, your car may pull off to one side. This occurs as a result of your car’s brake material being much thinner on one side than the other, which lowers stopping power on that side. As a result, your car will pull in that direction whenever you press the brakes since there isn’t enough friction.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that you should always change your brake pads in pairs, even if your car only has brake thickness concerns on one side. However, if you’re low on cash, you can inspect the rest of the brake pad thickness to determine which one will wear out soon.

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The brake warning light turns on

Most modern cars come equipped with brake warning lights that are displayed 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 come on if there is a problem; it is also the light that turns on when your parking brake is used. However, if your parking brake isn’t engaged and you’re seeing a brake warning light, it’s time to have a brake professional check your system to identify the problems.

Read more: Understanding TRAC OFF light

Vibration when braking

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

Read more: Understanding clock spring

Car takes longer time to stop

Loss of brake performance is another major sign that your brakes should be checked. 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 (often due to a leak).

You should see a brake technician as soon as you can to get a true understanding of what’s happening with your brakes so that you don’t lose all braking power.

Read more: What causes a spongy or soft brake pedal (and how to fix it)

Brake pads appear to be thinner than the recommended size

Visually inspecting your brake pads for wear is one simple approach to checking on their condition. To do this, find 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 1/4 inch thick, or 6.4 mm.

When should brake pads be replaced?

The lifespan of brake pads can range from 25,000 to 70,000 miles. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to think about replacing your brake pads after 30,000 to 40,000 miles.

While some car owners may find that their brake pads need to be replaced after 25,000 miles, others may find that their brake pads last for more than 50,000 miles.

However, it truly depends on a variety of factors, like driving conditions, driving habits, and brake pad material. As a result, establish a routine of inspecting your brake pad thickness every 5,000 miles or every five months.

How can you check the brake pad thickness?

Regularly checking your brake pad thickness will help you prevent brake failure and hazardous driving circumstances.

Here’s how to easily check your car’s brake pad thickness

  • Step 1: First, park your car on a level spot.
  • Step 2: Lift the side of your car you want to examine slowly using a jack stand. Your owner’s manual ought to provide instructions on where to set up the jack.
  • Step 3: Loosen and remove the wheel bolts using a lug wrench.
  • Step 4: Carefully take the wheel off to reveal the braking caliper and rotor (the piece that houses the brake pad).
  • Step 5: When you look into the caliper’s hole, you can see both the inboard pad (also known as the inside pad) and the outboard pad (or outer pad).
  • Step 6: Use a brake measuring gauge, Vernier caliper, or compass to gauge the brake pads’ thickness levels.

What does a brake pad replacement cost?

Parts cost between $35 and $150 on average. while labor costs tend to range per axle from $80 to $120. Altogether, the cost of replacing the brake pads ranges from $115 to $300 per axle, including the parts and the labor cost.

Read more: Cheapest places to get brakes done

What are the FAQs about brake pad thickness?

Here are the frequently asked questions about brake pad thickness:

Is 4mm brake pads OK?

If you feel your brake pads are thinner than the recommended 4 mm, it’s time to have them checked and maybe replaced. This requires no special equipment or training and is the simplest approach to monitoring your brake pad condition.

How long will 3 mm brake pads last?

For moderate braking, a 3mm brake pad will last for roughly 3–5 minutes (excluding racing scenarios). Before they wear out, brake pads need to be replaced. The safe zone is 2 mm.

How long will 2 mm brake pads last?

A brake pad thickness of 2 mm lasts for 15,000 kilometers. What happens if you continue to drive with defective brakes? You’ll eventually rub metal on metal after wearing the pads to nothing.

How thick should a brake pad be in MM?

However, new front brake pads have a minimum thickness of about 12 mm. It is not recommended for your car to have anything less. Rear brake pads, on the other hand, have a thickness range of 8 to 10 mm when newly purchased.

Should I replace my brake pads by 3 mm?

Brakes that are 3 mm or less should be replaced because they are almost worn out. The typical thickness of new brake pads is between 10 and 12 millimeters.

How long will 4 mm of brake pad last?

New brake pads have a depth of around 1/2 inch (1 cm) and last me 50,000 miles. That is 10 mm every 50,000 miles or 1 mm every 5,000 miles. They would basically go about 20,000 miles for me. Everyone has different habits, cars, and pads.

Is 5 mm on brake pads OK?

For optimal performance, your brake pads should be thicker than 6.4 mm (1/4 inch). If it is thinner than this, think about replacing it right away. The majority of auto mechanics also agree that 3.2 mm (1/8 inch) is the absolute minimum brake pad thickness.

How many mm is too low for brake pads?

What is the minimum width for brake pads? It is advisable to replace brake pads before they reach 1.5 mm of wear. An average new brake pad will be 10 mm thick. Most manufacturers and mechanics agree that after your brake pads have worn down to 3 mm, you should consider replacing them.

At what thickness should brake pads be replaced?

The majority of manufacturers and mechanics generally agree that you should likely change your brake pads once they are 75% worn out or 3 mm thick.

What is the average life of brake pads?

While most brake pads last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles, others can last up to 100,000. This huge range is due to a number of factors.

How do I know when my brake pads need replacing?

Brakes Making a Squealing or Squealing Noise: If you hear persistent screeching or squealing, that’s the first indication that it’s time to change your brake pads.

The brake light turns on, there is a deep metal grinding sound, the brake pedal vibrates, and the brake pads appear to be less than a quarter of an inch thick.

Should I replace brake pads at 2 mm?

When the brake pads are 2 mm or even 3 mm thick, we advise replacing them.

That is all for this article, where the answers to the following questions have been discussed:

  • What’s the ideal brake pad thickness?
  • Do some brake pads last longer than others?
  • What’s the recommended brake pad thickness?
  • How can you tell when your brake pad needs replacement?
  • When should brake pads be replaced?
  • How can you check the brake pad thickness?
  • What does a brake pad replacement cost?
  • What are the FAQs about brake pad thickness?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!