One of the most essential aspects of ongoing auto maintenance is making sure your brakes are always in good health. Noticing the beginning signs of brake wear is concerning for drivers, and it should be – your brakes serve as a direct line to your safety and must be kept in optimal condition at all times. Brakes are comprised of different components that often wear out at different intervals, or sometimes not at all depending on the function and condition of the other components. One such component, one that most drivers are familiar with, are the brake pads.

Brake pads serve a critical function in overall brake effectiveness, but they also can dictate when other brake parts will wear out. In this article, we’ll talk more about the significance of your car’s brake pads and what it means when they wear out earlier or more prematurely than anticipated.

Warning signs that may indicate the need for brake pad replacement

Brake wear is just a part of owning a car, and as the first line of defense brake pads are often the first to go. It’s important to note that if the brake pads get too worn down, it can have a significant effect on the health of the other brake components, such as the calipers and rotors. In a kind of domino effect, brake pads can lead to significant brake repair work that is often expensive and avoidable. Here are the warning signs that you should be on the lookout for:

Visibly worn pads

It’s not too difficult to check out your brake pad health, but it’s best to inspect the entire brake system while the wheels are off of the vehicle. You might check out the brake pads the next time you get your tires changed or rotated.

Concerning noises while using your brakes

Screeching, grinding, or squealing noises when applying the brakes are always a cause for concern and should be investigated by an automotive professional right away.

Vibrating in the steering wheel while using the brakes

Sometimes rocks or debris can get caught in the brake system, which may cause the car to vibrate; however, a far more sinister culprit are damaged pads, rotors, or calipers.

Lowered responsiveness to brake application

Any time you notice that it takes your car an extended period to come to a stop, or it requires more force and brake application than usual to bring your car to a full stop, you should at least have your brake pads checked out.

What causes early brake pad wear?

There are a number of reasons for early brake pad wear, and they’re often avoidable with proper care and maintenance habits. Here are just a few possible factors that often lead to premature brake pad wear that you should know about:

Lack of maintenance

It’s a fact of life that brake pads need to be replaced from time to time. Usually brake pads need to be replaced between 50-100k miles, but that interval may vary depending on the type of vehicle you drive. You should refer to your owner’s manual to determine the proper service intervals for your individual brake pads.

Specific vehicle design issues

It is certainly true that not all vehicles are created equally. Some vehicle manufacturers use lower quality brake pads, which tend to wear quicker. Furthermore, the brake assembly in general may not be up to par with what the brake pads need in order to last an extended period of time, leading to premature wear. It’s helpful to consult with an automotive specialist who is familiar with your specific type of car.

Driving habits

This is a big one, and an aspect of brake wear that is often overlooked by drivers. Sometimes addressing premature brake wear means evaluating your own driving habits or frequent driving conditions. The following conditions especially lead to early brake pad wear:

o Driving in gravel-ridden areas
o Commonly in stop-and-go, compacted traffic areas
o Frequently abrupt and forceful brake application

How to prevent early brake pad wear

Cerrone’s European helps drivers in the areas of Redwood City, Palo Alto, Atherton, and San Carlos, CA, proactively keep their brakes in good health because, quite simply put, our clients’ safety is important to us. Servicing European cars like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche, MINI, Land Rover, and Volvo, we consider ourselves to be specialists in the field. If you’d like to learn more about how to prevent early brake pad wear, please call one of our specialists to help you establish an affordable and efficient care routine.