Why Do Brake Pads Sometimes Wear Unevenly?

Brake pads create the friction that slows your vehicle. Positioned in the brake calipers, they press against the brake rotors when you step on the pedal, and your vehicle stops. On the down side, this tough job means brake pads are vulnerable to wear. In many cases, however, they wear evenly. When they don’t, the mechanic will probably advise you to change all the pads at the same time (a costly venture). To learn what causes uneven wear (and prevent the nuisance in the future), keep reading.

Dirty Rotors

Dusty, rusted or greasy rotors can cause brake pads to wear unevenly. Even when new rotors are installed, make sure the technician cleans them thoroughly (and applies anti-rust coating) before placing them onto the vehicle.

Different Brake Pad Types

When installing new brake pads, it’s essential to stay consistent, as different models can wear at various rates. This happens because slight variation in friction material and brake pad thickness will degrade the pads in certain ways.

Differences in Disc Thickness

When your car’s rotors have different thickness levels, it’s referred to as disc thickness variation. And if rotors aren’t identically thick, they will wear more quickly (more flat spots on the discs will create more chances for contact).


If a technician replaces brake pads but doesn’t align them evenly, they will wear at varying rates. Generally, this problem becomes apparent pretty quickly after installation, so make sure to go back for proper alignment as soon as you notice. Waiting will only wear pads down faster and put you back at the shop for new ones.

Damaged Caliper Pistons

Pistons adulterated with rust or debris become sticky. Unfortunately, this negatively-affects their ability to slide, creating uneven interaction between the rotors. Having professional eyes regularly check your brake system will help you know when pistons need changing and avoid uneven wear.

Your brake system is one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. As such, it needs a lot of TLC to stay in prime condition. To make sure all the moving parts coordinate like they should, make consistent brake inspections a priority. If you can predict future issues and handle them timely, you will save yourself a lot of headaches and financial burden down the road.

And remember, for professional guidance or service, Meadows Automotive in Waterford is only a phone call away. Call us to schedule an appointment today!

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