What are brake pads?

Brake pads use friction to slow your car when the you step on the brake pedal. They can be made of many different types of materials.

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How do brake pads work?

When you step on the brakes, calipers push the brake pads against both sides of the disc-shaped brake rotor. This friction causes the rotor, and your car"s wheels, to begin slowing down so you can safely come to a stop.

When to replace brake pads

Here are a few common symptoms of worn-out brake pads:

Low brake pad warning light is on:Not all vehicles are equipped with this system, but if yours is, this dashboard indicator light will likely be the first signal it’s time to replace your brake pads.Brakes start to squeal regularly:This is often one of the first signs of worn brake pads and is caused by a metallic piece built into brake pads for this exact purpose. This part contacts the brake rotor to make a squealing or whining noise when the pads are low.Brakes make loud grinding noise:If not addressed early enough, your brake pads may get so worn that the metal backing plate of the pad grinds against the metal rotor.Brake pads look thin:You may be able to visually check your brake pad thickness to determine if they need replacement.

Can I drive with a brake problem?

It is not safe tooperate any vehicle with a braking problem. If there is any sign that the brakes are not performing as originally intended, the vehicle should immediately be towed and repaired.

If the brake pads are being replaced as part of routine maintenance, with no symptoms noticed, the vehicle can safely be driven to a repair shop. Also, if the brake wear indicator has begun making noise, the vehicle can be driven to a repair facility, but postponing will result in unsafe driving conditions.

How long do brake pads last?

It depends on a number of factors, including where and how you drive, the type of vehicle, and the materials of the brake pads themselves. Frequent city driving, driving through mountainous areas, or just braking abruptly more often than necessary will all decrease the lifespan of your brake pads.

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Check your owner"s manual for more detailed information about how long your brake pads should last.