Brake Pads Explained: What Are They, And Why Do They Need Replacing? -- West Automotive Group
Even though there's nothing soft about the metal components of your braking system, one of the most important parts is the brake pad. Considered wearable items that are used for a time and then replaced, the pads need to be changed periodically. Although a few shade tree mechanics like to do this at home, most people prefer to take their autos to professionals for brake service and repair. In the Kearny Mesa, California, area, West Automotive Group is your go-to shop. In business since 1993, we've built a reputation for hard work and dedication to excellence.
The Brake Pad (so you won’t) Crash Course
If your vehicle has disc brakes (the type with a rotor sitting just to the inside of the wheel), it has brake pads (two per wheel on most cars). Each one is attached to a caliper. When you press the pedal to apply brakes, the hydraulic force moves the caliper, causing the pad to contact the rotor and generating friction to slow and stop the vehicle. Pads consist of a metal backing plate with another substance bonded to it. This may be metal, ceramic, an organic material, or a composite of elements. Each time the pads contact the discs, a tiny amount of the coating is transferred onto the rotor. While this is ideal for generating friction and heat to stop the car, it eventually uses up the pad's coating. The brake pads become thin, worn to the point of needing replacement.
Perhaps you're wondering how to tell when it's time for pad replacement. On certain model autos, the brake light illuminates to indicate the need for pad exchange. If your vehicle is not one of those, there are still tell-tale signs of brake pad wear. If you hear screeching when you apply brakes, the time for new pads is likely near. That screech isn't hurting anything. It is usually the product of a little scraper on the pad that is designed to make noise and get your attention when the surface is wearing thin. If you hear grinding or a deep scraping or abrasive sound, have your brakes checked immediately. This could be caused by a pad worn so thin (or is missing entirely) that the caliper is cutting into the rotor during braking.
Stop by for Brake Repair
Although brake pads last, on average, about 50,000 miles, nearly every car owner will need to replace them at some point. The best and safest way to do this is by relying upon the expertise of a certified technician. West Automotive Group in Kearny Mesa, California, can assist with all things brake-related.