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What Are Brake Pads + How Do I Make Sure Mine Work Properly?

What Are Brake Pads + How Do I Make Sure Mine Work Properly?

BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT 

Brake pad replacement is a fairly straight forward job, however, to get the most out of your pads it is important that the rotors be machined or replaced.  Also, incorrectly installing brake pads can be dangerous.  

WHAT IS A BRAKE PAD REPLACEMENT?

Most brake jobs consist of working on three main components: the brake pad, the rotor and the calipers. Essentially the brake caliper holds the brake pads against the brake rotor.  When the brake pedal is applied it forces the pad against the rotor thus causing the vehicle to slow down or stop. A brake job is replacing the brake pads from the caliper and machining the rotors to give the brake pad a smooth surface to work with.  A full brake job can involve fixing or replacing all of the components mentioned.

HOW LONG DO BRAKE PADS LAST?

Depending on how much you drive, you’ll need to change your brake pads about every 45,000 miles or sooner.  Some vehicles are engineered to last longer and some shorter but the life can also depend on your driving habits.  Braking often and hard can cause pads to wear out sooner.  

HOW IS A BRAKE JOB PERFORMED?  

First the existing pads are measured to see if they are ready to be replaced.  If it is time to replace the brake pads, then the process is as follows:

  1. Lift the vehicle and safely remove the tires. 
  2. Remove the tires and then remove the brake pads from the calipers. 
  3. Inspect braking system, suspension and steering components for damage or wear.  
  4. Measure the thickness of the rotors and determine if they can be machined or need to be replaced.  Typically, 2mm or less remaining of rotor thickness and it is time to replace. Also, any hot spots or warping signs on the rotors mean it is time to replace. 

HOW DO I KNOW IT’S TIME TO REPLACE MY BRAKE PADS?

Most brake pads are purposely designed to create a squealing noise to warn us that it is time to replace.  However, many people are not aware of this and simply think the brakes fixed themselves when the noise stops. This error often causes the pads to run out and then damages the rotors and/or calipers.   If you hear a grinding noise like metal on metal, then you have waited to long and there is a high probability that the rotors and calipers have been damaged.  

RECOMMENDATIONS

In order to safely drive your vehicle, it is imperative that your brakes are in proper working order.  Brake pads are for stopping and slowing down your car and without them you do not have control of your vehicle.   Brake pads are relatively inexpensive and are intended to be replaced promptly when needed. Bays Auto only sells the highest quality ceramic pad that comes with a lifetime part warranty.  

AVERAGE COST?

Brake pad replacement averages around $150 to $350 depending on the performance rating of your vehicle.  A Ford Ranger for example might only be around $100 while a Corvette could be $600. Changing your brake pads is relatively simple to do if you know what you are doing.  However, the simplest of mistakes can be expensive and life threatening not to mention you’ll have to invest in some specific tools. 

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