Brake Pad Replacement
Brake Pad Replacement: It’s Easy If You Do It Smart
You might first notice the squealing sound when you brake. It may take longer or require a little more effort to stop. Then, it starts to get worse and louder. When the shriek turns to a scraping noise, you must do a brake pad replacement. Frankly, your vehicle isn’t safe to drive at this point.
You shouldn’t put it off any longer.
Cost of the Job
The price of a brake pad repair isn’t the most expensive one. You can probably get it done for under $300. You could try it yourself if you have the tools, seeing as nearly half the cost goes to labor.
However, it isn’t always the easier job, especially if you’ve delayed the brake repair. If there’s damage to the rotor or caliper, you’re now talking $800 or more. Now, not only do you have to know how to fix brake pads but the other parts, too.
The other concern with DIY repairs rests with additional features, such as brake assist or sensors. While today’s vehicles are safer, they’re also more complicated.
What Are Brake Pads?
Brake pads use friction to stop the rotor from turning on vehicles with disc brakes. It makes sense that it would take its toll eventually, wearing away the friction surfaces. That’s especially true if you do a lot of city driving where you’d brake more often than on the highway.
The setup typically includes two pads and a caliper working in conjunction with the rotor. The brake pads are the proverbial first line of defense that will protect the more expensive components from damage. Bear in mind that brake pads are much easier to replace than the other parts of the system.
Kinds of Brake Pads
The type of pad you get will affect your cost. Because of its importance, it’s best not to skimp. You have to balance it with the expense of another repair if you opt for the short-lasting but cheaper components. That’s saying nothing about the time and hassle of getting your vehicle into the shop. The kinds you’ll see include:
- Fully metallic
The first two are what you’d find on passenger vehicles. The semi-metallic lasts the length of the two but also costs more. The last two are for racing and other high-performance rides.
This technology and the regulations covering them are constantly evolving. Brake pads are composite components that consist of a variety of materials, such as graphite, chalk, and steel fibers. State and local laws may dictate the type of product you can install on your vehicle.
How to Tell If You Need New Brake Pads?
We mentioned the sound of failing brake pads. It’s something built into the manufacture of these parts as a simple, early warning system. It usually starts when the wear has been put it the backing plate with 2mm of the pad. Some parts have sensors built into them.
You may also notice differences in your vehicle’s handling and performance. You may feel it pull to one side, or you might feel a vibration in the steering wheel. They may signal other problems in addition to the brake pads. Of course, there’s always the dashboard indicator light.
There are also physical signs of fading brakes. Many manufacturers incorporate a groove into the center of the pads. As friction wears them down, the line becomes less visible, making it easy to identify.
How Does Brake Pad Replacement Work?
The first step is assessing the damage. The repair consists of replacing both pads. Then, it’s necessary to look at the other brake system components. Your mechanic may ask if you’ve noticed any changes in its handling, which can be a red flag for other replacements.
For example, pulling may be a sign that you have a stuck caliper, which is, in turn, putting excess friction on the rotor. If your brakes feel spongy, the mechanic will look at the brake reservoir and lines to make sure it’s complete and working correctly.
The helpful thing about car manufacturing today is that many repairs, such as a cylinder head gasket replacement, have telltale signs that make it easy to diagnose. The move from drum to disc brake also makes maintenance easier with improved lifespan and performance.
After replacing the brake pads, your mechanic will lube the components and do a physical inspection along with a driving test.
Benefits of Getting a Brake Repair Professionally Done
It’s essential to consider more than just how much are brake pads. There’s also the cost of tools, whether you have the time and space to do the repair and the all-important safety factor.
When you get it done by a professional, they will inspect the entire system, including confirming the current state of your brake pads and other components. Bear in mind that they have the tools to remove a rusted bolt that could make the job more difficult.
Most shops will include an inspection checklist to ensure they’ve checked everything that could affect your brake system’s performance. It offers that added peace of mind of getting the job done by someone who is familiar with their operation.
Repair shops typically back up their work with a guarantee or warranty. Those things alone make it worth the price.
Tips About Brake Maintenance
Checking your brake pads regularly is the best thing you can do. A good rule of thumb is to replace them every 50,000 miles, but it also depends on much you drive and in what conditions. We suggest checking them every time you get your oil changes as part of routine maintenance.
Final Thoughts About Brake Pad Replacement
Brake pad replacement is a regular part of vehicle maintenance. Fortunately, early warning signs or indicator lights make it easy to identify to save you the cost of a more expensive repair. The key is not to ignore these alerts. After all, it’s not just about the money. It’s also for the safety of the precious cargo you transport in your vehicle.