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Brake Pad Advice

Brake Pad Advice

We all know that our brakes are important, but few drivers spare a thought for how they work, and how brakes should be cared for. In this blog, we will aim to give you the basics about your brakes, how they work, and what you need to do to keep them in good working order and you and other road users safe.

Brake pads – the basics

If you have ever had a good look at the brakes on a bicycle, you will probably have a good idea of how your brakes work, even if you don’t realise it. Usually, brakes consist of a brake disc, a brake calliper and a pair of brake pads. When you push the brake pedal, the calliper closes the pads on the brake disc, causing the vehicle to slow down. Brake pads work due to friction, so they are of course built to withstand heavy wear and tear. However, inevitably, brake pads will eventually wear down.

Brake pad lifespan

As with all car parts, how long your brake pads will last will depend on a whole array of factors, from the make and model of your vehicle to how often, where, and how you drive. If you tend to drive longer distances on motorways, your brakes will probably last much longer than the same car that mainly drives through cities, so stops and starts a lot.

If your car is heavy, or you carry a lot of cargo (passengers, roof box, pets), or tow a caravan or trailer, more force will be needed to slow you down, which means that your brake pads will wear more heavily than it would for lighter vehicles or ones with lighter loads. Likewise, if you are heavy handed (or, rather, footed) with the brakes, they will understandably wear down more quickly. With this in mind, the lifespan of your brake pads could be anything between 30,000 and 75,000 miles.

When to replace brake pads

The most recognisable sign that you need to book your car in to get the brake pads replaced is if the brake pad warning light comes on. However, there are some other signs that could indicate a problem with your brakes. If you notice a strange sound, for example screeching or grinding, when you apply the brakes, it is possible that your brake pads are very worn down.; grinding could mean that they have worn completely. If this happens, contact your local brake specialist or garage and book your vehicle in as soon as possible.

In some cases, it can be possible to have a look at the brake pad through the wheel spokes. If you can see the brake pad, they should be around half a centimetre; any less than that and you ought to get them looked at.

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