Brake Pads and Rotors

05.01.12

No matter how cool, how expensive, how big, how much it can haul, or how fast your vehicle is, there’s nothing more important than its ability to stop! It is, without a doubt, that your brakes are the most important part of being able to drive your vehicle.

Have your vehicle’s brakes lost some of their stopping power? Do they even squeak or squeal or scrape metal on metal? The squeak is an early warning that it might be time to replace, at a minimum, the pads. If you’re hearing metal on metal grinding, then its definitely time to do so (quickly) and you could be into some rotor work as well.

No vehicle will stop effectively with worn brake pads. Nobody wants to go through a wall or have an accident because it won’t stop. So it makes a lot more sense (and is way less scary) to be able to just lightly touch the brakes and have the vehicle do exactly what you intended.

When you hit the brake pedal, brake pads press against the rotating disk rotors to slow them down and bring your car to a halt. The pads are brought into action by brake calipers, which are actuated by a hydraulic mechanism when you press the pedal.

Although there are many types of brake pads, ranging from ceramic brake pads to semi-metallic, asbestos and even organic ones, all have a limited lifetime after which they give up due to heat and friction. Brake pads wear out faster than rotors, but as you brake while driving, your brake pads start eroding the metal surface of the rotors. The high friction and heat also cause warping of the rotors.

Pad replacement time depend on many variables….. your driving habits, quality of the previous pads, the caliper and hose conditions, rotor thickness and even the type of car/truck not to mention the area in which you live… ie, in the mountains, driving up and down hills all the time, lots of city stop and go traffic.

Ideally, the recommended brake pads replacement interval is about 30,000 to 35,000 miles of running. However, this is only a rough estimate under general conditions.

Rotor repair and/or replacement is heavily influenced by environmental factors. People living in severe winter regions may need to replace them more often than those living in moderate climate regions. The salts and dryness causes corrosion of rotors, thereby reducing their life. If you wait until AFTER you hear that grinding noise to replace the pads, you’ll be replacing rotors sooner than later.

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