3 Options For Deciding When To Schedule Your Next Brake Service


A typical brake service will include a few jobs, including checking the thickness of your rotors, inspecting your braking system components, and examining your brake fluid. However, replacing your brake pads is the most important part of any routine brake service. Brake pads are sacrificial wear items with friction material that grinds down over time. 

Replacing your brake pads ensures your car can reliably stop while protecting your other braking components from damage caused by metal-to-metal contact. It's important to replace your pads before they wear down to the backing plate, but how can you know when it's time for your next service? Here are three different options for staying on top of this critical job.

1. Wait for the Squeal

The simplest method is to wait for your brakes to start squealing. The squealing you hear is the metal wear strip inside the friction material making contact with your rotors. When enough of the pad material wears away to expose this strip, your brakes are old enough to require service. There's usually enough pad material left that it's not a critical problem yet, but you won't want to wait long.

Unfortunately, this method has a few downsides. Sometimes, the strip will break off, and you won't hear a squeal even as your brakes reach the end of their lives. It can also be hard to judge how much life is left on your pads once they begin squealing, so you may not know how long you have before you start causing additional damage.

2. Pay Attention to Your Warning Lights

Most modern vehicles come with brake-wear sensors. These sensors are sacrificial and work similarly to much simpler metal wear strips. When your friction material becomes low enough, it exposes the sensor to the rotor. The contact with the rotor destroys the sensor, breaking the electrical circuit and causing a warning light to appear on your dash.

Your warning lights are a reliable way to know when you need a brake service, and your owner's manual may even tell you the expected remaining life span of your pads once your sensor triggers. In most cases, however, you should treat these lights as if you heard your brakes squealing. Once you see one, it's time to schedule a brake service shortly.

3. Get Routine Inspections

During a routine inspection, a trained brake technician will check your braking system and carefully measure the thickness of your pads and rotors. Using this information, they can tell you if your pads are too thin or, if not, how much life they have left. This information can help determine how soon you'll need to schedule a brake service.

Routine inspections are arguably the more precise way to schedule a braking service. By inspecting your brakes at least once per year and paying attention to other warning signs (such as squealing or warning lights), you'll know exactly when it's time to replace your car's brake pads.

Contact a local auto brake service to learn more. 


17 February 2023

protect the transmission in your car from damage and wear

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