Putting Off Brake Service? Bad Idea.
The ceramic or semi-metallic friction surfaces of brake pads are very hard and take 40-60,000 miles to wear down to a point where you need brake service. It’s a bad idea, though, to put brake service off for too long. Here’s why:
--The thickness of your brake pads has a direct relationship to braking performance. When the brake cylinders have to extend farther to make the pads actually grab the brake rotors, that means excessive brake pedal travel and a “spongy” or “soft” brake pedal. It can also mean uneven braking, with one or more wheels tending to lock up and skid while braking.
--Some brake pads feature a wear indicator, a spring-steel tab which protrudes from the pad’s backing plate. This tab is designed to drag along the rotor when the pads reach a minimum thickness, creating a loud screech to alert you that it’s time for brake service. Many pads don’t, however. What happens then is the brake pad material wears down to a point where the backing plates and rivets are exposed. If you hear a metallic grinding noise when you hit the brake pedal, that means that the brakes are now worn to a point where your only braking ability comes from metal-to-metal contact between the smooth steel rotor and the backing plate. Not only is this very dangerous, since your braking ability is so compromised, but it also means that your brake repair job is about to get a lot more expensive as the smooth steel surface of the rotors is being ruined.
Brake pads should be replaced when the friction material wears down to about a ¼” thickness. That’s why brake inspections should be done at least a couple of times per year. Chances are, though, you’ll notice problems like noise, poor braking performance, vibration and a pull to one side while braking…all of these are indicators of worn brakes and impending brake repair. Don’t let them go too long, for your own safety and that of everyone else on the road. Make an appointment with us at RoadMart, Inc. for brake inspection soon!