For every car, the brake system is essential and needs proper maintenance, just like any other part. It has the crucial job of slowing down or stopping the vehicle safely. One part that owners can check themselves is the brake pads, which wear out over time and use.
Let’s first get acquainted with the car’s brake system. Currently, the most widely used types are disc brakes and drum brakes.
Disc brakes are a brake system found in almost every car brand. Whether a car has disc brakes on only the front wheels or all four wheels depends on the manufacturer. Disc brakes consist of brake discs, calipers, and brake pads. In terms of how they work, every time we press the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid in the caliper pushes the brake pads against the brake discs, creating friction. This friction helps slow down the vehicle and stop it safely.
Drum brakes on the other hand, are a closed brake system used in cars and other vehicles, primarily in the past but still found in some vehicles today. Drum brakes comprise curved brake shoes, a brake drum, springs, and a piston connected to the brake line. The way drum brakes work is that when we apply the brakes, the inner brake shoes are pushed against the inside surface of the brake drum, which is attached to the wheel. This creates friction, slowing down the vehicle and ultimately bringing it to a stop
Signs of Worn Brake Pads
As mentioned earlier, brake pads are wear-and-tear components that drivers can observe themselves. When you encounter the following symptoms, it indicates that your brake pads may be close to wearing out:
- Reduced braking power, meaning you need to press the brake pedal deeper than usual, and your car slows down or stops more slowly than before.
- Every time you park, you find yourself having to engage the parking brake higher than usual (in the case of rear-wheel brake pads).
- The parking brake light on your dashboard appears even when you haven’t engaged the parking brake. This can happen because the brake fluid in the reservoir is below the MIN mark due to thinner brake pads.
- You hear a scraping sound, like metal rubbing against metal, every time you apply the brakes. In each set of brake pads, there is a warning metal tab that rubs against the brake disc to indicate that the brake pads are wearing thin.