Brake pads are a small but critical part of your vehicle’s overall performance. For that reason, it’s helpful to know how thin is too thin.
There is some truth to the fact that someone with a lead foot will wear out the brakes faster than someone who’s lighter on the brakes, but you need less subjective criteria to go by. Most brake pads should last for tens of thousands of miles, but as that’s still pretty vague, here are some steps you can take to determine whether your brake pads are starting to reach their limit.
Listen. Once your brake pads start to wear down, you’ll notice a squealing or screeching sound when you are NOT hitting the brakes. This noise comes from the wear indicators, which are small metal tabs that rub against the rotors once the pad wears down too far. Their purpose is to give you a heads up that it’s time to get the brakes checked.
Look. Keep an eye out for brake dust, which is a visible sign of brake wear that appears on the wheels. A heavier car may have more brake dust on the front wheels versus the rear (keep this in mind if you inspect the rear brakes and they look fine). If you begin to notice less brake dust, you may have worn the pads down to the metal backing.
Check. There is no substitute for having regular inspections of your brakes. At AAA Car Care, we offer a free multi-point inspection and can check your brakes and much more. Keeping on top of your vehicle’s brake needs can not only save you money in the long run, it can help keep your family safe in the short run.