5 Signs Your Vehicle Needs Brake Pads

Monday, May 20, 2019

Your car is your gateway to freedom and your mode of transportation, so keeping it in tip-top shape is important. Getting regular oil changes, checking the tread on your tires, and filling the windshield wiper fluid is essential to keeping your car running smoothly, but there's one part of car maintenance that's even more important: your brakes.


They are very important to your safety, and failing brakes could mean a big bill or worse. In this article, we'll walk you through the five signs that you might need new brake pads on your vehicle.


If you feel vibrations in the brake pedal as you apply or release the brake without the anti-lock brake engaged, you need new brake pads. Vibration is a sign of warped rotors, which are a result of intense braking over a long time, such as when you're towing.

Warped rotors can cause a feeling of vibration in the brake pads caused by a piece of pad coming off due to the warped rotor. Make sure to have your vehicle serviced immediately if you feel vibrations in your brake pedal to get your brake pad replaced and rotor trued.

Pulling to One Side

If you experience the vehicle pulling or steering to one side during braking, that is also another sign you need new brake pads. The reason that a car pulls to one side during braking is due to uneven wear on the brake pads.

Uneven wear on the brake pads causes the car to pull to one side due to unequal pressure on the brake calipers, which causes the car to pull to the side with the most worn pads.

Squealing or Grinding

Squealing or grinding noises when you brake is another sign of needing new brake pads. The squealing noise is caused by the brake pads wearing through to their wear indicators, which are made of steel. They make this noise to make sure that you know that it's time to replace your pads.

If you hear a grinding noise, it may be the result of foreign debris in your brake pad. It also might mean you've gone too long without servicing your brakes and your pads are now grinding into your rotor. This can cause damage and be an expensive fix, so make sure to get your vehicle serviced quickly.

Chemical Smell After Braking

A chemical smell after braking also indicates that you need new brake pads. The smell is from the worn out brake pads overheating.

This is dangerous because it can affect their performance and cause your car not to reduce speed as well. Make sure to pull over immediately and let your brakes cool down if you experience this issue.

Skinny Pads

The best way to tell if you need new brake pads is to check the pads themselves. Look through the spokes of your wheels and look at the pads: if there is more than a 1/4" of pad left, then it doesn't need replacing.

If there is less than a 1/4" left, then it likely needs replacing. Make sure to schedule a service appointment with your local mechanic if this is the case.

Time for an Inspection on Your Brake Pads

Now that you know more about the signs that brake pads are failing, its time for an inspection. Take a look at your car and make sure your brakes are in working order and don't need to be replaced.

If your brakes need replacing or you have any questions about your vehicle, please contact us.

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