One-quarter-of-an-inch. That’s the most important figure to know when it comes to brake pads. Comprised of a steel backing and either semi-metallic, ceramic, or organic friction-inducing pads, your brake system relies on this auto part to slow down and stop. Why did we mention 1/4-of-an-inch? That’s the measurement that generally dictates when the pads have worn down too low and need to be replaced. Meadows Automotive lists other signs that also signal the brake pad surface is too low.
1. Squealing Sounds While in Motion
Some brake pads have wear indicators that make noise once the pads have worn down to 1/4-of-an-inch. The brakes will begin to squeal but – are you ready? – not when you apply the brakes. Rather, the pads will make the noise as you pick up speed and then kill the noise when you step on the brakes.
2. Grinding Sounds When You Brake
Grinding sounds when you brake are also a sign that you don’t have enough brake pad surface left. In fact, this is a sign the surface is gone completely. If you keep using your brakes when no friction-inducing surface, this not only makes it harder to stop your vehicle but also warps the rotors beyond repair.
3. Vibration When You Brake
Another surefire sign you don’t have any brake pad surface left is vibration when you brake. Usually, this is a combination of the brake pad backings scraping against the rotors. The uneven surfaces will make your vehicle vibrate or, at the very least, your brake pedal and/or steering wobble as you stop.
4. Burning Carpet Smells
Burning carpet smells are a bad sign that the brake pads have overheated and are “glazed.” This is usually accompanied by squealing when you use the brakes. Overheated brakes cannot stop your car, so pull to a safe parking place and let the brakes cool down. It’s even better to get towed to a service shop.
5. Wear Indicator Warning Light
Finally, newer automobiles have wear indicator lights that will turn on once the brake pads get too low. This is your cue to head to the auto service shop for a brake pad replacement. The sooner you get the pads replaced the less chance of damaging the rotors or overheating your brakes.
Call Meadows Automotive for a brake inspection and service if you suspect your brake pads are getting too low. Our auto service shop in Waterford Township, MI, is staffed with certified and experienced mechanics ready to get you in and out of our shop as quickly and conveniently as possible.