When do I need to replace my brake pads? | Road Safety Blog

Last updated: 01-25-2021

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When do I need to replace my brake pads? | Road Safety Blog

Driving with poor brake pads or experiencing brake failure can prove to be disastrous. It is always best to be weary of any faulty brakes, as this places yourself and any passengers at significant risk. But how many motorists in South Africa know when brake pads should be replaced?

When to replace your car’s brake pads1,2

As soon as you hear your brakes squealing when applying them, they need to be replaced. Naturally, brakes can squeal when dirt is on the brake pads, but persistent squealing is a sure sign that they require immediate attention by a professional. The squealing is caused by a metallic layer that is installed into some brake pads. Eventually, this metallic layer comes into contact with the disc brake causing it to squeal.

Unlike the older models, modern cars have an indicator light that lights up on the dashboard when brakes need attention. This is made possible by a sensor installed on the brake pad itself.

Attend to the brakes as soon as possible1,2

Some motorists may experience times when they don’t have the money to replace brake pads. Other times, they are maybe just too busy. However, we should avoid driving with the squealing sound or with the brake warning light on especially for your safety, your occupant’s safety and other motorists’ safety as well.

What if I hear a grinding sound when braking?1,2

What does it mean if you hear a grinding sound after applying brakes? A brake pad could have worn down so much that there is no more brake pad left. The grinding sound can be due to metal scraping on metal. This is extremely dangerous because the stopping power of your car has been compromised. It can also cost you a lot more if the brake disc has been seriously damaged during this process.

What does a vibrating brake pedal mean? 1,2

If you are travelling downhill and experience the brake pedal vibrating, it means that the brakes require immediate attention. This could be an indication that unusual damage has occurred to the brake disc.

When worn-out brake pads have damaged brake discs, they can either be skimmed or replaced. Skimming brake discs involves making the brake disc surfaces smooth again and getting rid of any damage such as grooves. This process may not offer a proper guarantee functioning of the brakes, in which case replacing the brake discs is the only but expensive option.

Is the car pulling to a particular side? 1,2

If you find that your car wants to go left or right while braking, it could mean that the calliper guide pins or pistons are stuck. It could also mean that the brake pads are worn.

It’s easy to do a visual check of the brake pads if the wheel spokes allow you to see through the gaps. If the brake pads are less than 3 mm thick, it’s time to replace them.

Brakes are a critical requirement for safe driving. Remember that faulty brakes could compromise your car insurance claim in the event of an accident. If you want to buy affordable car insurance with unique benefits, contact PMD and find out more about their car insurance products.

This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.


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