When to Change Car Brake Pads and How?
There are some things you should never even think of compromising with just like your own life. The brake pads of your vehicle are one of them. It's alarming that brake failures alone cause about 300,00 fatal road accidents every year in the US. These accidents often occur due to faulty as well as incorrectly installed brake pads. Yet, it's quite unfortunate that many people are often confused when it comes to change their car brake pads appropriately.
Knowing when and how to change the car brake pads is just as important as choosing your car in the first place. However, if you find yourself a newbie in the vast world car-parts, then it's quite reasonable for you to be confused about brake pads, the types of brake pads, why they are different as well as when and how to change your car brake pads. If that's the case, then you need not to worry because we're here to the rescue.
It's never a wise decision to ride your car with worn off or damaged brake-pads. Faulty brake-pads tend to lose grip even with extensive pressure applied. Brake pads may get worn out over time due to extensive usage, improper installation as well as many other reasons. Driving with damaged brake-pads can lead to catastrophic accidents, and so, always replace your worn out brake pads with the best brake pads. But the question is –
When to Change Car Brake Pads
Allow us to answer your query. Here are the signs that will tell you if it’s time to say goodbye to your worn-out brake pads –
- Low Brake-Pad Thickness
Worn-out brake pads lose the thickness required for proper grips. Check for the brake-pad depth. If it's less than 3 mm, then it's high time you should change them.
- Screeching Noises
Damaged brake-pads are uneven on the contact surface and produce screeching or squealing noises, which are often quite disturbing. If you are experiencing this occurrence more and more these days, it is the best time to change them with good ones.
- Dashboard Light Indication
Some modern vehicles have indicator lights on the dashboard that lets you know whether or not your brake pads are malfunctioning. Keep an eye on them regularly to find if it's time to change your brake pads.
- Excessive Brake-Vibration
If you're experiencing relatively abnormal vibration during brakes these days, it is due to damaged brake-pads. Sometimes, you can fix by slightly grinding the pad surfaces, but in most of the cases, you have to change your brake pads with new ones.
- Delay in Brakes
Worn-out brake pads provide a feeble response even when you apply a large force. This result in longer delays in brakes. If you find your vehicle stopping quite a while after hitting the brakes, it may be due to worn-out brake pads, which then needs to be replaced.
The chances are that you have already noticed one or more signs mentioned above in your vehicle. If so, make no delay changing your car brake-pads as it poses a high risk to your safety.
Why You Must Change Worn-Out Brake Pads
If you have found any of the signs mentioned earlier, then you already know that your brake pads are damaged. But like many other confused people, you may be wondering –
“What happens if I don’t change my worn-out brake pads?”
As we already informed, brake failures cause up to 5-10% of the total road accidents that occur in the US every single year, and worn brake pads are one of the key reasons for these tragedies.
Brake pads are built for one sole purpose only which is stopping your car wheels with tremendous friction. Without brakes, you in your car is like a time bomb ticking your way to absolute chaos. A car with worn-out brake pads is more like a car with no brakes as these brake pads can no longer provide the grip necessary to stop your car wheels instantly.
This puts you at a high risk of falling prey to fatal accidents, which may end up taking your life. This example is not rare, and many people have lost their life to brake failures, and a great many others have been injured for the rest of their entire life.
Therefore, it's never the right decision to ignore the minor damages done to your car brake pads. As soon as you find your car brake pads worn out, replace them with new and decent brake pads. Never compromise with your vehicle's safety measures.
How to Change Car Brake Pads
Now that you, hopefully, know why you must change your worn-out car brake pads and replace them with new ones, let’s talk about how to do that.
Here we have added a detailed step by step process on how to replace and install the brake pads of your vehicle-
First and foremost, you’ll be in need of a few tools and things to carry out the entire process which are -
1. Hand-tools to extract and reinstall car mounts
2. Manufacturer’s instruction guide or car manual
3. Metal cleaner
Now, let us break the entire process down in some easy steps for you. Follow them with undivided attention.
Step#1. Extract the lug nuts
Start by using a lug wrench to unscrew the lug nuts from your car wheels carefully. In this case, leave at least two nuts attached so that the wheel doesn’t come off rolling. They may get rusty and jammed, making it harder to extract them. Spray metal cleaner on them and wait for it to settle. When loose enough, remove the lug nuts and preserve them.
Step#2. Detach the wheel
Use a good car jack to raise your car and ensure it doesn’t move. Now extract the rest of the attached lug nuts. Now carefully detach the wheels and preserve it nearby.
Step#3. Remove the caliper bolts
Go through the car manual to locate the exact location of the caliper. They usually fit over the brake rotors and stop the wheels via hydraulic pressure.
Then carefully, remove the caliper bolt and preserve them appropriately.
Many Japanese cars have slider bolts instead of calipers. The chances are yours is one of them. In that case, you only need to extract the two forward-facing slider bolts. If not sure, check the car manual.
Step#4. Remove the damaged brake pads
Now it’s time to remove the worn-out brake pads. Sometimes,it may need a little extra force. Again, often they are attached using metal clips. In that case, you have to remove the clips first.
Step#5. Attach new brake pads
Attach the new brake pads to exactly where the old ones were removed from. Apply anti-seize lubricants on the metal contact edges if necessary but never make the mistake of using it onto the inside of the brake pads as that will reduce friction, causing brake failures.
Step#6. Secure the caliper bolts
Put in the caliper bolts and then the caliper itself or the slider bolts on the new brake pads and tighten them appropriately using wrench. Keep an eye on the brake fuel cylinder and add extra if more fuel is necessary.
Step#7. Reattach the wheels
Put the wheel back on. Now secure it by reattaching the lug nuts adequately. Check again to ensure enough tightness.
Step#8. Double-check the attachments
It's never a wise decision to drive your vehicle before double-checking whether or not everything is installed adequately. Double-check all the mounts and other accessories as well as fluid levels to ensure that everything is as it is meant to be.
Step#9. Test drive
You can't really make sure that your new brake pads are working just fine without trying them. So, after you have made sure that the attachments are appropriately connected, take your vehicle on a test drive. Start by driving slow and slowly increase the speed. Hit the brakes correspondingly to see if they are working just right. Note any noise, delay in brakes, or any other anomaly carefully. If found, try finding out what has gone wrong with the installation and fix it adequately.
It's never a good idea to snub any of the safety measures of your vehicle, especially the brake system, which includes the brake pads. Knowing when and how to change your car's brake pads has a significance that cannot be described in mere words. Never compromise with your car's brake pads as your own life depends on it.