When to change brake pads?

How quickly brake pads wear

If you’ve ever wondered when it’s time to replace your brake pads, you’re not alone. Unless there’s a drastic problem, it can be easy to forget all the hard work they’re doing during braking and not pay them any attention. However, brake pads are an essential part of a vehicle’s brake system and given they use friction material to slow down your car, they will need to be replaced at some point. 

Brake pads do have a shelf life. Their longevity is based on environmental factors and your driving style. What determines that shelf life are several different factors specific to your vehicle, which will influence when you should get new brake pads. 

To learn more about what these factors are, read on! 

Think it’s time to replace your brake pads? Natrad has a range of quality brake pads available from industry leaders, Mintex and Nisshinbo. 

Brake pads

Brake pad warning signs & symptoms 

Brake materials

Friction material is the part of the brake pad that rubs against the brake disc – creating enough force to slow the wheel down. Brake discs are often found in modern cars and unlike brake drums, they utilise pads rather shoes. The material is a blend of various raw substances that can usually be broken down into 3 main categories: 

  • Bonding material 
  • Stiffener 
  • Friction adjustment material 

This blend gives the brake pad the high-performance and longevity necessary to handle all your vehicle’s braking needs. Depending on the vehicle application, this blend may be formulated differently in order to meet more demanding brake conditions. 

How brake pads work

Brake pads are found in cars with brake rotors (also known as discs). As brake pads repeatedly squeeze against the brake discs, over time this action causes wear. The material is the main point of contact between the pad and brake rotor so it begins to scrape away. Certain designs such as Nisshinbo’s diagonal slot helps promote even wear on the pad surface, resulting in smoother and more effective braking. 

Most brake pads also include metal wear indicators which will audibly alert you to when you have worn brake pads. The wear indicator is an ideal function that can help you identify when brake pads are close to wearing out and it’s time to replace – especially if you don’t know how to visually check your own brake pads. 

A wear indicator is typically engineered to make a grinding sound or squealing noise as it presses against the brake rotor. If your brake pads are experiencing a grinding noise or screeching noise, please get your brake pads checked immediately.

Factors in brake pad replacement

So, if brake pads are made to wear out, when do you replace them? This depends on the specific car and various individual factors including: 

  • Driving style 
  • Car type (Sports? Commercial? Passenger?) 
  • Quality of brake pads 
  • Servicing schedule 

Brake fluid is essential to the car’s braking system. When you have low brake fluid, your pads can become worn and produce less dust than they should which will affect how well this works for stopping cars or any other vehicle that needs its wheels locked up quickly.

Depending on how much you drive, how much heavy braking you do and what kind of brake products you have – it will all impact how frequently you replace a vehicle’s brake pads. If you’re unsure where to start, you can check your servicing schedule or just talk to one of the qualified technicians at Natrad! 

Have your brakes inspected at Natrad 

Not sure when your brake pads were last replaced? There are a few different signs and symptoms that can advise if your braking system needs to be looked at, including: 

  1. Brake light or brake warning light (often found in modern cars using electronic brake pad sensors) 
  2. Squealing noise (coming from wear indicator) 
  3. Juddering due to excessive brake pad wear
  4. Excessive vibrating brake pedal (anti-noise/vibration elements are not working well) 

If you’ve experienced any of the above symptoms, it’s a good idea to have your brake pads checked as soon as possible – especially if a you see a warning light. Natrad AutoCare workshops around Australia can visually inspect your brake pads for wear and determine what replacement is best for your needs. 

Natrad workshops also have access to a massive range of quality brake pads from world-renowned manufacturers Mintex and Nisshinbo.