It goes without saying that your braking system plays a crucial role in ensuring your safety whilst you drive. As such, you must ensure that every component—including the brake pads and discs—are in perfect, working condition. For this reason, it’s imperative that you learn how to tell when your brake pads are in need of a replacement. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most obvious signs that tell you when it’s time to change your brake pads and discs.
What Are Brake Pads and What Happens When They Wear Down?
Your car’s braking system consists of components that work together to bring your vehicle to a halt whenever necessary. Now, the brake pads play an essential role in ensuring that these parts remain in good condition. You will find them sitting between the brake drum and brake shoe. Their primary purpose is to prevent the discs, callipers and rotors from wearing away. As long as your car has effective brake pads, you can spare yourself from expensive repairs and driving hazards later on down the track. Needless to say, it is essential that you learn how to tell when your brake pads need a replacement.
Whenever you step on your brakes, the pads start to wear out little by little. It’s also important to note that there is more than one type of brake pad, including organic, ceramic, and metallic. The friction tears away small amounts of the pads’ protective coating over time, becoming thinner and thinner until they eventually get to the point where you need to change them. Here are the signs that tell you when it’s time for a brake pad replacement:
Screeching or Squealing Sounds
In general, the first thing you will notice is a whining, screeching, or squealing sound whenever you engage the brakes. You’ll usually hear this noise when the pads are so worn out that the metal shim indicator is already exposed. This component’s primary purpose is to tell the driver that a brake inspection is due immediately. So, if you hear squealing noises escaping from your European vehicle whenever you engage the brakes, it’s important that you contact German Auto Meisters right away.
You should also know that after a rainstorm, your brakes can become damp or wet. When this happens, dust may form on the pads, causing a similar whining sound whenever you step on the brakes. If this is the case, the noise will disappear after a few times you engage your brakes. In circumstances such as these, you’re merely dealing with rust build-up, meaning that you don’t need a brake pad replacement just yet.
Thin Brake Pads
Every 10,000 miles or so, you should also visually inspect your brakes. It’s recommended that you do this regularly, especially if you own an older European vehicle that doesn’t have sensors. What you need to do is look through the spokes of the vehicle’s wheel. If you notice that about 3mm of the pad is visible, then that means you need to replace it.
Growling or Grinding Sound
Are you starting to hear a metallic grinding or a low, rumbling growl whenever you step on the brakes? If so, then it means that the callipers and brake discs are making contact. Remember that this can damage your braking system quickly if you don’t address it right away. The growling sounds notify you that there’s metal on metal contact. So, you should bring your car to German Auto Meisters right away when you hear this noise.
Brake Pad Light on Your Dashboard
Most European vehicles have a brake pad indicator on their dashboards that tell drivers if it’s time for a replacement. We recommend that you check your owner’s manual to learn whether or not your car has a warning system for low brake pads. Keep in mind that when the light comes on, you’ll need the expertise of a mechanic to replace the sensors and the pads.
Should I Replace my Brake Pads and Discs at the Same Time?
Most of our customers ask this question, and we always recommend doing so. You should replace the discs, especially when they are badly scored or unevenly worn. However, if your car is relatively new and there’s still a lot of life left on the disc, then you may not need to replace the brake discs entirely. That said, our recommendation is to replace the pads and discs at the same time. In most cases, when the pads are worn out, the discs will need replacing too.
Now, if you want to know how long your brake pads should last, your best bet is to check your owner’s manual. However, in general, you should replace them every 40,000 miles, even if you haven’t noticed the signs we’ve mentioned in this article. In this way, you can ensure that your brakes pads are in optimal condition all the time.
If you need a brake pad replacement service, do not hesitate to contact German Auto Meisters. We specialise in handling European cars such as Skoda, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and more. Trust that your vehicle will provide high performance and perfect drivability once we’ve completed the service.