There is nothing more important than your vehicle being able to stop. Therefore it is without a doubt that your brakes are the most important part of being able to drive your vehicle. Anybody will tell you this - even race car drivers will tell you it’s a lot more important to be able to stop than to have a great amount of power or speed in your vehicle. Yet it’s funny how our braking systems will often fail us – especially as this is usually our own fault.
No vehicle will stop effectively with worn brake pads and or rotors. Nobody wants to go through a wall and have an accident because the vehicle won’t stop. So it makes a lot more sense to be able to just touch the brakes lightly and the vehicle does exactly what it’s asked to do. At the end of the day, it’s the equipment, not the driver.
It is important to change your brake pads. The reason for this is because you need to get the maximum performance of your braking system by maintaining optimum friction pad depth. If your brake pads need changing you will find that ninety percent of the changes will be to your front pads.
You can check the pad wear for yourself but when it comes to changing them, if you don’t know what you are doing it’s best left to a professional who does.
To check the brake pad wear you will need to view the pads from outside the front tire. With most vehicles now days it will be quite visible, and all you need to do is look through the outside of the wheel rims. That way it makes the pads very visible, unless of course they are worn. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove the wheel to be able to see the pads. If you are able to do all this, you will notice that the outside pad should be looking right at you and if you look at it from above, you will see that the pad will be pressed against the shiny metal rotor.
It’s important to note that there are two ways to determine whether or not the pads will need replacing:
The first is visually.
If you see that the depth of the pad is less that 1/4 inch. You need to replace it, and soon! If you see that it’s less than 1/8 inch, there isn’t any time to waste as you are getting really close on damaging the rotor. You need to then do it ASAP!
It’s not the same on every vehicle, but use it to help you along.
The second is by ear.
If you are hearing a screeching sound when you put your foot on the brakes, not good. You are overdue for a reline. But, if it sounds more like scraping on metal, then I’m afraid you have damaged your rotors and you need to fix the brakes immediately otherwise you could cause major damage.
Changing your brake pads too soon is much better than changing them too late. That way you will avoid more expensive repairs as well as unsafe driving.