- How long do brake pads typically last? How fast do they wear out?
Brake pad wear can be determined by different factors like the type of brake pad and rotor used, your driving style, the road condition, the type of vehicle you drive, and brake system maintenance. For instance, brakes usually wear out faster when the vehicle is driven in stop and go traffic, compared to driving it mostly in the highway, or when you do some hard braking or frequently make quick stops. Most passenger cars’ brake pads also don’t wear out as much as trucks’, SUVs’, and towing vehicles’. The type of road where the vehicle is driven also factors in the lifespan of the brake pads. However, most would say that brake pads could last for about 50,000 miles and could even go as long as 75,000 to 100,000 miles, or, on an average, anywhere between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
- A few weeks ago, I had the worn-out pads changed with a new Mazda brake pad set. But in spite of the new pads, I’ve been hearing some squeals when braking. What could possibly be the problem here?
The brake squeal may be caused by vibrations coming from brake components in contact. It could be that the material of the new pads is harder than the ones previously installed. Some brake pad replacements would have the edges of the pad material trimmed at a certain degree to prevent vibrating against the rotor. When the pads are replaced, the rotors may have to be replaced or resurfaced as well. It also helps to have the discs cleaned first. The vibrations could also be prevented if, during installation of the new pads, anti-squeal compound was used to coat the back of the pads or anti-squeal shims were installed. This will prevent vibrations from the pad and caliper piston when applying the brakes. It would also help if the caliper glides/pins were cleaned and lubricated with new grease.
- How will I know if I already need new brake pads? What are the tell-tale signs?
Unusual noises when braking such as screeching, grinding, and clicking are typical wear indicators. If you apply the brakes and hear any of these, have the brake pad checked or look for other symptoms of brake pad damage or wear. A pulsating brake pedal can be caused by warped or worn-out brake pads. When a car pulls to one side and the steering wheel is not turned, this could be the result of uneven brake pad wear. However, if the car pulls when running at constant speed or when accelerating, this is usually not related to the brake pads but concerns other components. Visual inspection will confirm brake pad damage or wear. The signs of wear include deep grooves or scores in the rotors. If the pads appear too thin, it would be best to get new ones to achieve optimum braking performance.
- Why are some brake pads dusty? What causes the brake dust?
Some new formulas are used to minimize brake dust. That’s why some brake pads create less dust than others. The brake dust may be the result of brake formulas with petroleum hydrocarbons that serve as glues. These release a gas when heated, as they cover the wheel in greasy film where some parts stick. Brake dust is also produced when metallic brake pads get hot. The particles cause a static charge that gets stuck to the alloy wheels as the particles become magnetized from friction and heat. Even low-dust pads can release excessive brake dust if there are problems with the rotors or if other brake issues exist.
- What are the advantages of using ceramic brake pads over semi-metallic types? What are the downsides?
Compared to semi-metallic pads, ceramic types don’t produce too much dust. As a result, you get cleaner wheels. They also last longer and don’t make too much noise. However, these pads are not the best options for vehicles used for racing or heavy-duty towing. They also tend to wear out faster than the semi-metallic type and are typically pricier than other options.
- Is it necessary to apply grease during brake pad change?
During brake pad installation, it’s highly recommend that you apply some grease for lubrication. However, it’s the back side of the pads that need to be coated with grease and not the front, as this can affect brake efficiency. By adding grease on the back, brake squeals can be prevented. Proper lubrication also helps prevent rust and corrosion. Use a type of grease that can best deal with high temperatures and pressure from the brake system.
- Is it a good idea to repair the brake pads instead of having them replaced altogether?
For your driving safety and peace of mind, it’s better to have the brake pads replaced or adjusted if needed instead of attempting a repair. The repair may not be for the long term. As a result, you’ll be spending more money in the long run and will be taking risk.