Maintaining Your Brake Pads: Breaking It Down

When you push the brake pedal on your vehicle, it stops. That’s all most drivers know about the braking system in your car. But just how do the brakes work? The short answer is, your brake pads squeeze your wheels and make them stop, just like the brakes on your banana bike.

Your brake pads are the most important component in your braking system. Worn or damaged brake pads can cause major damage to other parts, leading to very expensive repairs. Here’s breakdown on how to keep them in tip top stopping condition.

Inspect them every 5 months or 5000 miles. Make sure you haven’t driven in an hour so that you’ll know your brakes are cool. Look through the holes in your wheel (you might need a flashlight), and note the thickness of the brake pad. If they look like they are less than 1/4″, you probably need to have them replaced. Some brake pads have a helpful indicator slot down the middle of the brake pad. When it gets hard to see, it’s time for those pads to be replaced.

Use Your Senses. You need to check your braking system if any of the following happen when your brake:

  • You hear a grinding or squealing noise.
  • The steering wheel or brake pedal shakes. (NOTE: If you slam on brakes, the vibrations you feel are a normal part of the ABS system working.
  • Your brake light comes on.

If this breakdown has made you feel a bit like having a meltdown, don’t worry! At Norris Automotive, we see a lot of brakes, and we’ll inspect your brakes for free. Brake when you see our sign, and drop by!