Although brake pads are a component you will likely never see, they play a vital role in the functioning of your vehicle. They are responsible for reducing friction between your rotor and calliper, meaning keeping them in good condition is essential.

However, much like any other car part, wear and tear are inevitable. It is more than likely that your brake pads will need to be replaced at some point in your vehicle’s lifespan. But how can you tell when brake pads are worn? Take a look at our guide for full details.

Are Your Brake Pads Worn? A Unit18 Guide

Over time your brakes often become more worn and will wear down, perhaps causing danger when you go out driving. Unfortunately, it is not something you can prevent; however, there are a few things you can do to see if you have worn-out brake pads. Our guide on everything you need to know about your brake pads being worn will help you understand when and how to spot the signs!

putting foot on brake

What Causes Worn Out Brake Pads?

There are multiple reasons for brake pads to become worn over time, especially if you use your car a lot or have a heavier car. However, if you use your car infrequently, your brake pads could become corroded, making them worn and damaged.

The different reasons include the following:

  • Wear And Tear: As the brake pads are used more often, they will naturally wear out because of the friction thinning them out. You can see if yours have become too thin by checking what minimum thickness your manufacturer has outlined the discs should be (disc thickness refers to a mechanical term when the rotors of a car have various levels of thickness). If your discs are thinner than they say, the brake pads should be replaced.
  • Corrosion: Brake pads are vulnerable to rust and corrosion as they can build up when the car isn’t used frequently, especially on lighter cars. Light rust can be removed when you brake the car, but as it builds up, it damages the brake pads more and more to the point where you will need to replace them.
  • Misaligned Brake Pads: It may happen that when your brake pads have been installed, they may be misaligned, which causes the brake pads to wear unevenly; this will be easy to notice within the next few days of getting the brake pads fitted, so it makes this easier to spot the issue.

These are all something that our MOT service in Milton Keynes will help you with as we can identify what parts of your car need to be updated and if your brake pads are worn!

brake illustration

How To Tell If Brake Pads Are Worn

There are many different ways to tell if your brake pads are worn, things that your car will start to do that you may or may not notice immediately. They will mean that you should check your brake pads and possibly get new ones! These include:

It’s Taking Longer To Brake

If you believe it is taking you longer to brake, then it is most likely your brake pads are significantly worn. You may find they become less responsive, indicating other car problems, such as a brake fluid leak. While this is not directly linked to your brake pad wear, it is always advised you have this looked at by a qualified mechanic. It could also affect the overall running of your vehicle, making it a hazard to not only yourself but also other people who use the roads.

If you are unsure of whether you have a leak, one of the best ways to check is to push the brake pedal and assess whether it can be pushed down usually. Alternatively, you could look underneath your car, and if you notice a small puddle, this is probably your brake pads. If your vehicle does have a small leak you can fill it up yourself using Castrol React Performance, alternatively, you could also consider taking it to your local garage for a car service in Milton Keynes.

Your Brakes Make A Noise

If you have noticed, whenever you brake, you can hear a considerable amount of noise or screeching; it is often an indication the pads are so worn they are now scraping down to the brake discs. The reason you can hear this screeching is on one of the discs, you have a small piece of metal called an indicator which helps inform you that you need to get your brakes looked at. You should be able to hear this even if your windows are up, so if you hear anything, do not ignore it.

A common occurrence is when the weather is relatively wet, i.e. it has been raining, and you have not used your car in a while. A thin layer of rust can form on the brake discs. Which, when first used, can sometimes make a bit of a squeak. It is usual for this to occur and should not worry you; however, if the noise is non-stop, you may want to have them looked at.

Your Car Is Pulling To One Side

If you find that when you brake, your car is leaning more to one side or is pulling in a specific direction, the brake lining might be more worn on one side in comparison to the other. If this is the case, you may need your brake pads replaced. If this is not the case, you may find that there might be a foreign object in the brake fluid tank. It can also cause pulling on one side; if this happens, we recommend taking the car to your local garage.

brake disc

What Does The Brake Pad Warning Light Look Like?

Luckily for those who have modern cars, your vehicle will be able to tell you when your car brake pads may need replacing. Your vehicle will have a built-in sensor which will be able to tell you when your brake pads are coming close to needing replacing.

The brake pad warning light is on your dashboard, but the exact location will vary in different cars. It usually looks the same in all vehicles, so should be easy to spot; the symbol is a circle with an exclamation mark in the middle, and rounded brackets surround each side of the circle. Some cars may have ‘brake’ underneath, outlining that this is the warning light.

Sometimes it may flash, and in other cars, it may display different colours which match the urgency and how seriously damaged the brake pads are worn. Red usually means a severe situation that needs immediate attention, so it is recommended to look at your car’s owner’s manual to see what each colour represents.

The warning light may flash or indicate a problem if your brake fluid has started to leak or if the car can register that the brake pads have become increasingly worn and need replacing!

We always suggest when your warning light comes on your car, you should never leave it too late to book in for a brake pad replacement, as you can cause more damage to your vehicle by doing so. Our car service in Milton Keynes can help you with where to go from this point!

doing an mot for cars

What Is Brake Pad Replacement?

Brake pad replacement is when the braking system in your car has become damaged and worn out, leading to danger whilst driving, this will need to be fixed, and the easiest way to do so is by completely taking out the old ones and installing new brake pads.

We recommend taking your car to our car service in Milton Keynes to fix this problem; we will ensure high-quality and reliable service to guarantee safe and stable brake pads that will last!

The process will consist of us changing your brake pads in pairs and removing the wheels, then the brake pads; we will inspect and see if the brake disc is damaged too. Afterwards, the new brake pads will be fitted into the car and secured well; once this has happened, the vehicle and brakes will be tested to ensure the service is as high-quality as we promise!

brake pads from a car

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

Unfortunately, there are no specific times when your brake pads will wear; it is usually down to the way you drive and where you might be driving. Most mechanics usually recommends having your brake pads replaced every 50,000 miles. However, if you are driving in a location requiring a lot of stop-starts, you may need them sooner.

Milton Keynes is one of the worst places for brake pad wear. Unfortunately, due to all of the roundabouts, many people reach up to the national speed limit and then need to brake heavier suddenly compared to traffic lights. If you are living or working in Milton Keynes, we recommend taking extra care of your brake pads.

car brakes

Keeping Your Brake Pads In Top Condition

Brakes are one of the most vital parts of the running of your car. They are put in place so you can make your vehicle stop; they are also a massive safety mechanism on the car, so having any problems can hinder the safety of yourself and other drivers. Suppose you believe anything is wrong with your brakes. In that case, it is always highly recommended to visit our car recovery service in Milton Keynes as we can safely ensure that any new brake pads that we fit are high-quality and secure! Contact us for any more information that you need!

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