Image of brake pad kit  source PIXABAY

When you want to ‘pimp’ your ride, a brake pad is not among the prioritized parts. Who will see it anyway? It is always hidden under the car.

For your car’s safety and your own, your car’s brake pads should be checked regularly and replaced when they wear down.

Having well-functioning brake pads will save your car, life, and money.

Let us get a better understanding of brake pads and why you need to have them in good condition.

What are Brake Pads?

A car disk braking system consists of a brake pad, brake rotor, brake caliper, Vacuum booster, brake lines, master cylinders, and splitters.

The brake pads are responsible for decelerating a car. Hence, they are exposed to fiction which wears them down.

Types of Brake Pads

Image of ceramic brake pads source PIXABAY

There are 4 common types of brake pads, each designed for a specific need.

Ceramic brake pads. They are expensive compared to the rest. They are great at absorbing heat. Ceramic brake pads are best fitted on cars that require continuous hard braking, such as racing cars.

Semi-metallic brake pads. They are the most common brake ads available today. They are made of a combination of metal and synthetic material.

Organic resin is used to bind these fibers. The metallic component gives these brake pads resistance to heat and wear. They are mainly used in high-performance vehicles.

Non-asbestos organic (NAO) brake pads. They are the softest brake pads available in the market. They are made of a combination of rubbers, glass, and resins. They wear away so quickly.

organic brake pads are only used for daily driving

Low Metallic NAO brake pads. They are made of organic fiber and a limited amount of metal. They are an improvement of NAOs to increase their efficiency.

Brake Pads Life Span

Image of several brake pads source PIXABAY

The life of a brake pad is dependent on many factors such as the material of the brake pad, driving style, environment and duration of usage.

Many manufacturers put a mileage range of 30,000 to 70,000 miles, depending on the materials of the brake pad.

However, based on the personal driving style, the terrain, and road users to determine whether the pad will wear out after 100 miles or 100,000 miles.

Brake pads of cars driven in the city, where the driver requires to halt the car on many continuous occasions, will wear out faster than those of cars in the countryside where they are driven for long without halting.

How to prolong Brake pads, Life Span

Image showing the location of brake pad source PIXABAY

Avoid “two-footing” your pedals. Stepping on the brake pedal while the right leg is still on the accelerator pedal does not stop your car.

It instead leads to premature wear of the brake pad.

Avoid hard braking the car, unless there is an emergency. Gently step on the brake pedal to decelerate the car slowly and constantly.

Braking while the car is at high-speed subjects the brake pads to immense friction hence wearing out quickly.

Practice coasting whenever you can and minimize braking. Downshifting works a long way to prolong the life of a brake pad.

Keep the load in the car as light as possible. Offload all unnecessary stuff in order to reduce the kinetic energy needed to halt your car.

Bleed/flush your brake regularly. This helps to keep all the braking system, including the brake pads in perfect working condition.

Drive at a lower speed. This reduces the strain on the brake pads when braking. Try to use roads that will require frequent braking.

Rotate the tires every six months. It prevents the tires and the brakes wearing at a particular area. Hence prolonging the life span of a brake pad.

Indicators of Worn Down Brake Pads

Screeching Sound. This is the greatest indicator that the brake pad is worn out. Brake pads are fitted with a metallic shim indicator.

It is exposed and produces the screeching noise when the brake pad is worn down.

You will hear this voice when your foot is off the brake pedal. The sound disappears once you step on the brake pedal.

Growling or Grinding. When the brake pads are worn down they produce a loud noise, like that of some metallic elements grinding against each other. The noise is produced when the caliper and the disc rub against each other. Consequently, they scratch the rotor, making the surface uneven.

Thickness. Inspect the thickness of brake pads regularly. This ensures that they are of the right thickness and maintain their effectiveness. a brake pad should not go below quarter an inch (3mm) in thickness.

Indicator lights. Modern vehicles are fitted with indicator lights that turn on when NAO brake pads

Check the user manual on the guidelines of the brake pads and indicator light.

In most cases, you will need to replace the indicator light together with the brake pad.

Pulsating pedal. When you apply brakes, but the pedal pulsates, it is an indication that the brake pad or the rotor has a problem. see a mechanic to check the Braking system

Poor brake response. This is also known as brake fade.  An overheated or severely worn down brake pad will have a poor response.

A car on brakes will go a long distance without coming to a full halt.

This reduces the safety of the vehicle since it will not be effective during emergency braking, especially when driving on hilly terrain.

When this happens, you need to change the brake pad.

A car pulls to one side when you step on the brake pedal. Brake pads wear at different rates when one pad wears out, it becomes less responsive. During braking, the car will pull towards the side of the fully functional brake pad.


Brake pads are an important part of a car. Therefore maintenance of the brake pads is paramount. Whenever any of the signs show.

Make a point to visit your mechanic. Proper functioning brake pads are lifesavers. They prevent accidents. Your life and car will be safe.

Although you may have an insurance cover, it is better to live with your spine intact.

Read More About Brake Pads

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