How to tell if you need new brake pads

Thursday 18th March 2021

Brakes are arguably one of the most important parts of your vehicle – knowing you can stop carefully, in a safe distance, at any time you require, leads to a better more relaxed driving experience. But often, our vehicles’ brakes can begin to experience natural wear and tear, which can mean they could be due for replacement. Find out how to tell if your brakes need replacing today including the warning signs to watch out for, and how long brake pads and brake discs should last.

When do brake pads need to be replaced?

There are often warning signs of worn brake pads that you need to watch out for. if you spot any of the below signs of when to replace brake pads, it may be time to book yourself in for a free brake check:

Brake replacement warning signs

  • Pulling – if you feel the steering wheel of your car pulling in different directions, this could be a sign your brakes need replacing. However, pulling doesn’t always mean there’s a problem with the brakes – it could also be due to incorrect wheel alignment of your tyres.
  • Vibrations – a vibrating brake pedal can often indicate warped rotors which would rub against the brake pads, creating vibration feedback through the brake pedal.
  • Unusual grumbles or noises – ever heard a high-pitched squeal coming from your vehicle when braking? This could mean your brakes are in need of being replaced. Learn more about why your brakes might be squeaking from our detailed blog.
  • Unusual brake pedal movement – a ‘mushy’ pedal (that practically goes to the floor before engaging the brakes) could indicate your brakes need replacing. On the other hand, a pedal that grabs the brakes at the slightest touch could also suggest an unevenly worn rotor or dirty brake fluid.

How long should brake discs last?

Generally, brakes are designed to last around 50,000 miles, dependant on your vehicle make, model and age. Yet there are often other reasons why your brakes can deteriorate over time, which can include:

  • Driving style – driving in a certain way, such as slamming on the brakes frequently, can affect the longevity of your braking system.
  • Mileage – as mentioned above, how often brakes should be replaced is dictated by mileage. The more mileage a vehicle does, the more likely it is for natural wear to occur. This is why it’s important to keep track of when your brakes were last replaced and an eye on how much mileage your vehicle is doing, this way you will know when it’s time to book in for a free brake check.
  • Natural wear – of course, vehicles naturally wear over time – which is why it’s important to keep your car regularly serviced to avoid unexpected brake problems.

Brake discs and brake pads should always be replaced at the same time – both brake pads and discs should be replaced every 50,000 miles. So, bear this in mind when noting how much mileage your car has done.

Still unsure on how to tell if your brake discs need replacing? Let one of our trained experts help. Book your free brake check online with us today at Formula One Autocentres. Locate your nearest centre now if you suspect you have worn brake pads, or to find more information on how to tell if you need new brake pads or discs.

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