How Often Should I Change My Brakes and Brake Pads?

In order to keep drivers safe, car companies do their best to make sure that their vehicles have top notch crash ratings. Air bags, seat belts, body design: it’s all part of it. But, drivers need to keep an eye on their car in order to make sure that it’s safe. One of the most important areas concerning safety is the brake pads.

drag queenBrake pads are an essential element of the disc brake system!

What Are Brake Pads?

Brake pads are a component of the disc brake system. All automobiles sold in the United States use the disc brake system for their front wheels; the front wheels are responsible for 70 percent of the braking power in the automobile.

Disc brake systems use a flat, disk shaped rotor (kind of like a spinning record) that is designed to spin with the wheel. When a driver pushes down on the brakes, a caliper squeezes the brake pads against the spinning disc, which slows the wheels by applying pressure from both sides.

The Wear Indicator

Disc brake systems usually include a part known as the wear indicator. The wear indicator is a small piece of metal that is connected to the brake pads. The wear indicator only comes into play when the brake pad has been worn down to a certain point. At that time, the wear indicator grinds against the rotor and makes a squealing noise that indicates that is time to have the brakes looked at.

The wear indicator is the key element for informing drivers that their brakes are becoming dull. Drivers should never ignore this sound because dire consequences could follow.

brake lineIf you're at home working on your truck, look to make sure that the brake lines don't have holes and aren't cracked.

At Home Mechanics

For those that like to take control and work on their own vehicles, there are a few other signs that can let you know your brakes are wearing thin.

  1. The first thing to look for is cracks and holes in your brake line. These can lead to your brakes losing pressure and even failing.

  2. Another thing to take a look at is the fittings. This is where the brakes are sealed. If you see any leaking of brake fluid near the wheel, you will need to identify the leaking area and repair it. If you don’t have the appropriate skills, you will want to contact your local repairman immediately.
No matter your situation or your vehicle, it’s important to keep a look out for these potential warning signs. Usually, brake pads last upwards of ten thousand miles, but always keep a look out for problems.

By: Tim Snyder
Posted on October 7th, 2013
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