Brake Pad Wear Simplified

There’s no set schedule for replacing your vehicle’s brake pads.

Wear and tear depends on so many things, such as your vehicle type, driving habits and operating conditions. Even the area in which you live has an effect. If you’re a city driver with lots of stop and go, your brake pads will wear out more quickly than a highway driver’s. The same goes for drivers who often brake while travelling down steep hills.

With so many factors affecting your brake pads, how do you know when they’ve had enough?

By listening and looking.


Have you ever heard a high-pitched screeching sound while driving that disappears when you apply your brakes? That’s your brake pads telling you they need to be replaced. Most brake pads have built in metal tabs called ‘squealers’ that are designed to scrape the rotor when the brake pads are worn to minimum safety thickness. If you hear this noise regularly, make an appointment with us and we’ll have your brakes inspected.

You might also hear a loud metallic grinding noise. This is bad news! It means your brake pads have worn down entirely and are now rubbing against your rotors, metal on metal. If this happens, you will need to have your rotors machined or replaced.

So before your brakes start making unpleasant noises, or simply stop performing as they should, it’s important to have them looked at by a professional.


The diagram below shows a sample brake pad (only more colourful) and the various levels of wear. When the thickness of your brake pads enter “Service Soon” territory, it’s time to have them replaced.

measure break pad wear

We perform a 4-wheel brake inspection with every service package and will let you know how much life you have left in your brake pads. And of course, if you hear any suspicious noises or experience any other unusual braking behaviour, such as vibrations, a spongy brake pedal or pulling to one side,  bring your vehicle in to Searle’s and we’ll get to root of your brake problem.


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