I need some advice about my car’s brake pads. I have been neglecting them for a while now and I’m worried that waiting too long to change them might cause some serious damage. What are the risks if I continue to ignore them? Is it worth it to wait until I hear some squeaking sounds before changing them?
Thanks for reaching out and asking about car brakes. You’re right to be concerned about your brake pads – they’re pretty important! If you’ve been neglecting them, you’re taking a big risk. Don’t wait until you hear squeaking sounds to replace them. By that point, it could be too late, and you might already be doing some damage.
The first thing you need to know is that brake pads need to be serviced or replaced every 50,000km. That’s about the same as driving from Oakville to Sudbury more than 20 times. It might seem like a lot, but that’s how long they’re designed to last.
Now, if you’re a pretty reckless driver and slam on your brakes all the time, you’re going to wear them out a lot faster. But if you normally drive pretty smoothly, you should get close to the 50,000km mark before you need new brake pads.
The purpose of these brake pads is to protect the rotor. When you apply the brakes, the brake pads press against the rotor to generate friction that slows the car down to a stop. These pads help to distribute the heat produced by this friction.
If brake pads are allowed to wear down to less than 5mm, a couple of things will happen to the rotor. First, the brake pads are attached to what are essentially metal clamps that will begin grinding against the rotor. This can cause the rotor to warp or break.
Second, the lack of brake pads means the heat from the friction won’t disperse correctly, which could cause the whole braking system to overheat and fail.
This could happen in a dangerous situation, like when you need to make a sudden stop. If your brakes fail, you could end up in a pretty nasty accident. Nobody wants that, right?
If things get really bad, you can also damage the brake calipers. These are the metal plates that hold the brake pads and press them against the rotor. When the brake pads deteriorate to the point where the calipers are grinding against the rotor, the calipers can be destroyed right along with the rotor. Additionally, the pistons that push the calipers into position may pop out of place.
The cost of replacing the calipers varies depending on the type of vehicle you drive.
It’s not worth risking your safety by waiting to replace your brake pads, and you may end up doing more damage and paying more due to your delay. Most professional service centres or dealers offer a brake inspection/oil change package that can advise you as to the state and condition of your brake pads and braking system in general.
This type of brake inspection cannot be completed without the removal of your wheels and therefore cannot be done at quick lube/ lube Centre/ fast oil change locations.
You don’t want to wait until it gets to the point where you’re risking your safety or damaging your car. Get those brake pads replaced as soon as possible, Harper! It’s worth the expense and the peace of mind.
Stay safe out there on the roads!