One of the most crucial skills a driver needs to develop is the ability to recognize components that are in dire need of a repair or replacement. Having a keen eye can make a world of difference in the quality of your driving, as well as your safety. That said, it helps to do your homework on a car’s maintenance requirements.
The brake pads, in particular, play a crucial role in the safety feature of your vehicle. Ignoring the signs of wear-and-tear can lead to costly or fatal consequences, so be on the lookout for any red flags that can steer you off track.
With that in mind, the list below explores the recognizable warning signs that reveal your brake pads need a major upgrade:
Sign #1: Your Hear a Squealing Noise
If you ever notice a squealing or screeching noise every time you lift your foot off the brake pads, it’s highly likely that it’s your car’s version of a call for help. Brake pads are designed to produce feedback when it wears down to a certain degree, and a high-pitched, squealing noise is typically one of its obvious forms.
Keep in mind that the screeching noise can also be an indicator of built-up rust over the rotor, which typically happens if moisture seeps in while the car is idle. If you notice the noise persisting even if the corrosion is removed, then it’s a clear sign that you need to replace your brake pads.
Sign #2: You Hear a Clicking Noise
Not all brake pads are installed the same way. Some vehicles keep the brake pads steady using clips, bolts, or pins, while others keep it in place using a special holding device. Either way, clicking noises are a distinct sign that your brake pads are loose.
Brakes that are wobbling around the holding device will produce a rattling noise, which happens every time the pedal is pushed or released.
Sign #3: Visibly Thin Brake Pads
A glance at your brake pads can determine whether on not they’re on the brink of breaking down. Brake pads shouldn’t be any thinner than a quarter-inch, so anything thinner than that is a tell-tale sign that you’re running on worn brake pads.
Sign #4: You Hear a Grinding Noise
The grinding noise comes from the sound of metal on metal, which spells trouble for you. It means that the brake pads are completely broken down, which could compromise your rotors. Driving in this condition can be extremely dangerous as worn-down brake pads eliminate the option for stopping entirely, which puts you and other road users at high risk.
The Bottom Line
Brake pads are designed to produce friction, which is a critical component in automobiles as it is what slows down the car until it reaches a complete stop. Unfortunately, many car owners overlook the importance of brake maintenance until they run into problems while out on the road. Don’t wait to crash into issues and get a head-start on your maintenance checks by using the list above as a handy guide.
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