How do brakes work?
Brakes slow your vehicle by applying pressure to the wheel hub when you press the brake pedal.Vehicles may have disc brakes or drum brakes. Some vehicles have disc brakes on the front axleand drum brakes on the rear. In either case, when you push the brake pedal, brake fluid puts pressure on the brake pad against the rotor attached to the wheel hub. The friction between the hub and the rotor slows the car.
Quick brake terminology:
Brake rotor: a thin metal disc mounted on the axle behind the wheel.
Brake caliper: The calipers are mounted on the axle and hold the pads on both sides of the rotor.
What are brake pads?
Brake pads are consumable pads of high-friction material mounted in the calipers of disc brakes. On sports cars, the calipers may be painted a bright color, like a fire engine red visible through a spoked wheel. The calipers squeeze the pads against the brake rotor that rotates with the wheel.
How long do brake pads and rotors last?
On average, expect brake pads and rotors to last 25,000 to 60,000 miles. It depends on how aggressive a driver you are, whether your vehicle is heavy or towing a lot of weight, and the type of brake pad material. Some brake pads are designed to be quiet but may not last as long as the average pad.
How do I know if brake pads need to be replaced?
Watch for these signs that your brake pads need to be replaced.
Lights: When the brake warning light on the dashboard illuminates have it checked at your local Tire Pros location.
Noises in motion: A high-pitched noise that stops when you step on the brakes is an early warning that the pads are worn out. The brake pad wear indicators make this sound when they wear enough to contact the rotors.
Noises when stopping: If you hear a metal-on-metal or grinding sound when you step on the brakes, it usually means the pads need attention.
Brake noises that mean you should have them checked:
You could have a piece of gravel caught in the caliper, rubbing against the rotor. Or you may have ignored the warning signs too long, and the brake pads may be worn through and scratchinggrooves in the rotor.
This could be the metal backing of the brake pads rubbing against the rotor. That’s a sure sign it’s time for replacements.
It could indicate a leak in the brake’s hydraulic system. There may be leaks in the master cylinder, the vacuum lines or the brake booster diaphragm. Or, the foam silencer in the brake booster is damaged or missing and now you’re hearing normal noises.