Bad brake pads | Danger on the road

Bad brakes pads will have trouble slowing down the vehicle because they’ll be unable to squeeze against the rotor. It takes over 20,000 miles for bad brake pads to be the cause of a faulty brake system.

Therefore, it is essential for you to have the ability to determine when the brake pads are worn out. We’ll explore brake squealing noises amongst other symptoms of bad brake pads.

There are risks of driving with worn out brake pads. Some of them are more serious than the annoying squeal that gets everyone’s attention.

Causes of bad brake pads

There are a number of things that could lead to worn out brake pads. Well, this is something that’s going to happen over time, however, there are occasions when the brake pads wear off sooner than expected.

Heavy loads.

When the vehicle carries heavy weight loads, the weight is felt by the wheels. This puts extra pressure on the brake pads during stopping and slowing down. Which might lead to increased rate of wear and tear.

Driving habits.

Secondly, the driving habits can reflect on how long the brake pads last. This includes hitting the brakes to stop suddenly while driving at high speed. This will cause the brake pads to wear out at a faster rate.

Poor maintenance.

Remember that there is a time range within which the brake pads should be changed. However, if you go past this time range or mileage, the brake pads are going to wear out and cause problems when you try applying the brakes.

Additionally, it is advisable to carry out brake maintenance by applying brake pad grease. This ensures that the brake pads wear out evenly. Further, it ensures that they are fully operational to their best nature.

Environmental factors.

The environmental elements pause a challenge to the well being of brake pads. Since this is an exterior part of the vehicle, it is exposed to a variety of elements. For example, acid from the road puddles and extreme temperatures that cause the metal to expand and contract.

Symptoms of worn out brake pads.

These symptoms will be hard to miss. Incase you spot either of them, ensure that you take action as soon as you can. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself and other road users in danger.

a]. Brake squeak noises.

Some disc brakes are set up in such a way that when the brake pads are nearly worn out, they touch the rotor and make squealing noises. This is a warning mechanism for you to replace your brake pads.

There are other reasons why brakes make squeaking noises and it might have something to do with brake dust. The brake pads accumulate brake dust over their lifespan and this causes noise when the pads wear out.

b]. Spongy brake pedal.

You will feel this when you press the brake pedal and it will be soft. This is a sign that a component within the brake system is faulty. For example, it could be a worn brake rotor, brake fluid leak, brake pads, brake master cylinder problem or brake hose failure.

Take this very seriously because it is not safe to drive under such a condition. Alternatively, the brake pedal could feel rather hard than usual.

c]. Brake warning light.

The onboard computer works with sensors in order to identify a problematic area within the vehicle’s set-up. When the brake pad is worn out, it may reach to a level where the sensor is exposed to the disc rotor. Hence causing the brake warning light to show up on your dashboard.

However, this warning light may not be an indication that something is wrong with your brake pads. It only points out that something is wrong within the brake system. Therefore, you will need to undertake a brake system inspection.

d]. Slower brake response.

Worn out brake pads won’t be able to apply pressure onto the disc rotor in order to stop or slow down. Therefore, in case of an emergency brake situation, the vehicle’s braking distance will be longer. You will not be able to stop abruptly therefore you may cause an accident.

e]. Brake vibration.

When the foot is on the brake pedal, you will notice that the pedal is vibrating or you will experience brake pulsation. It is an indication that the brake pads are worn out. Further, it could be an indication of brake disc warping because it is felt when the brake pad comes in contact with the brake rotor.

f]. Scratches on the rotor’s surface.

This is in a case whereby the brake pad is extremely worn out. Therefore, you will notice scratches of brake corrosion on the rotor’s surface. Make a comparison of each brake rotor on your vehicle. This will help you to identify the one that has a worn out brake pad.

g]. Car pulls to one side.

Perform a test by parking your car on a flat surface and walking to the front of the vehicle. If it appears to be swaying to one side, then there is brake caliper malfunction. If you have no idea what is a brake caliper, it is the part that holds the brake pad in position and facilitates normal brake pad functionality.

If the brake pad is stuck, it will cause the car to appear as if it’s leaning on one side. The side where the brake caliper is stuck. This will lead to brake dragging as you drive making the ride a little uncomfortable.

h]. Loud brake grinding noises.

In the extreme case where the brake pads have no more rubber on them, the vehicle will make loud noises because of the metal that’s grinding against each other. Therefore, you will get little to no speed reduction when you drive with such brake pads. Seek brake repair services immediately.

i]. Uneven brake wear.

This refers to the brake pads that are sharing the same drive shaft. Either the front or rear wheels. If you notice that the brake pads of one side are wearing out faster than the opposite side, there is a problem.

This could be a sign that you should undertake wheel balancing and alignment. Alternatively, it could be an indication that it’s time for a brake caliper service.

Types of brake pads.

The type of brake pad materials are important in order to maximize the brake grip and to regulate temperatures. The material should be able to release heat temperatures instead of retaining the heat.

a]. Non-Metallic [organic]

These brake pads are made up of different combinations of glasses, rubber, resins, cellulose and metal fibers. Therefore, this gives them the ability to withstand and dissipate heat. However, they tend to wear out much more faster.

b]. Semi-Metallic.

They are made of a combination of both synthetic and metallic materials. Further, their material is predominantly metallic and it’s bound by an organic resin. Their metallic components gives them heat resistance properties in comparison to the organic brake pads.

c]. Ceramic.

Their production process is quite expensive and that’s why they are found in expensive vehicles. The Ceramic brake pads are heat absorbent to prevent brake overheating and can sustain hard violent braking. Therefore, you will find them in super cars and racing cars.

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