Automotive brakes work by applying friction from the brake pads against the disc brake in each wheel. This same friction over time will produce wear and tear. Unlike the routine automotive service maintenance schedule which is determined by mileage or time, the indicator for the replacement of worn-out brake pads isn’t that simple as it is affected by driving styles, traffic and road conditions. So what would be some indicators to know that it is time to replace brake pads, brake disc or both?
1. Visual Inspection
As your brakes wear out, the most obvious sign you will notice is excessive brake dust residue that accumulates over the wheels of your vehicle. This accumulation of this brake dust will rust and will form a brown to dark brown tinge.
2. Physical Inspection Of Disc Brakes
Disc brakes are visible and accessible with most modern automotive wheel designs. You can physically inspect the brakes when they have cooled if the vehicle had just been used. Disc brakes work when the brake pads clamp on to the disc brake from the centre so over time the centre side of the disc brake will wear out more than the outside rim. So you can tell the degree of wear by running your fingers from the inside to the outer edge on the disc brake. This form of inspection, however, is not possible with drum brakes where the brakes are concealed and inaccessible.
3. A High Pitch Screeching Sound
Brake manufacturers build in metal squealers that work as brake replacement indicators that release a screeching sound as brakes wear out revealing that layer when it comes into contact with the disc as the brakes are applied. To effectively perform this test, do so in a secluded & quiet place with your windows wound down where you will be able to hear the brakes as you apply them. Any screeching sound will be an indicator that a visit to your auto mechanic is due.
4. Pulsing Or Shaking
Any shaking or pulsing occurring when your brakes are applied is a clear sign that brakes are worn or warped and needs immediate professional attention. It goes without saying, driving with faulty brakes can be fatal.