Are Your Brake Pads Worn? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Are Your Brake Pads Worn?

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If you are having problems with your brakes, like noticing noise while you slow your car down, have low brake fluid level, or you feel funny pulses when braking, you shouldn’t be driving your car. Your brakes are one of, if not the most, important safety aspect on your vehicle. Here’s how to tell if you have worn-out brake pads and what you should do. 

What are the Brake Pads?

Brake pads are an important component to your braking system, because they contact and apply pressure and direction to your car’s brake rotors. When applied to the brake rotor, the pressure and friction slows and eventually stops the wheel. When the wheel comes to a stop, the vehicle stops moving too. 

Different Types of Brake Pads

There are three different kinds of brake pads found on most cars today:

  • Organic – usually the least expensive option, but they do experience more brake fade than the others. This option replaced old asbestos brake pads, and are made of fibers and other material that are held together by resin. Organic wears out most quickly out of all the options. 
  • Metallic – these brake pads are formed of mostly metal, like copper, iron, and steel. These pads are typically better than the organic option, but they can also wear down and produce noise and debris like the organic option. 
  • Ceramic – this is the most expensive option, however, the price is often worth it for the quality. Ceramic brake pads have proven to perform better and outlast the previous two options. 

Your car’s wheels rotate extremely fast, so brake pads undergo a lot of stress each time you bring your car to a stop, or even when you just slow down by a few miles per hour. 

Worn-Out Brake Pads

Unfortunately, overtime, brake pads can wear down and not work as well as they once did. There are some common signs of brake pad problems. Repair Pal lists the common signs of worn brake pads to be: 

Weird noises while braking

This is probably the most common sign that your brake pads are getting old. With most vehicles, the brake pads come with a steel wear indicator that can make a high-pitched noise when the pad begins to lose its friction material. When this happens, you’ll hear a noise when you press the brake. In severe cases, brake pads that are almost completely worn out will cause a metallic grinding sound that is often accompanying a vibration. 

Low brake fluid level

Another sign of having extremely worn brake pads is seeing low brake fluid level. When they’re worn down, the brake caliper piston may fully extend while trying to push the pads against the rotor. This will move the brake fluid from the reservoir to the caliper, producing a low brake fluid level. 

Warning lights on dash

Many modern vehicles have sensors that can look out for brake wear. When the pads are worn out, a light will show up on the dash showing the driver that the car should be taken in for maintenance. A low brake fluid level might also prompt the brake warning light to turn on as well. 

You have to press harder on brake 

Worn out pads can cause excessive pedal effort. Though this is not as common in modern cars, it can still happen where you have to push harder on the brakes to get your car to slow down. 

The brakes feel grabby

Uneven wear and tear on brake pads can result in grabby brakes. This can also cause the car to veer to one side when you press on the brakes.

You feel pulsation when braking

A pulsation in the brake pedal or steering wheel when braking signals warped rotors most of the time, however, in some instances, it can signal worn out brake pads. Instead of a smooth transition, worn pads can bounce up and down on a rotor, which could cause the pulsation you feel.

Replace Worn Brake Pads with Scott’s 

If you notice a problem with your brakes, you should seek help from a mechanic as soon as possible and quit driving your car. Worn brake pads can cause severe accidents if not replaced in a timely manner. Due to the brakes being one of the most important features on your car, we do not recommend trying to fix the brakes on your own, rather, bring your car to Scott’s team of professionals. With two convenient locations in Fort Collins and Loveland, we’re here to serve you. Call today to set up an appointment now — Fort Collins: (970)-682-4202 or Loveland: (970)-541-4404.



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