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    Brake Check: Is it Time to Swap Your Car’s Brake Pads?

    You’ve just purchased a car and you’re wondering when the right time to change your car brakes is. Ensuring your brakes are in top condition and replacing worn parts like pads and shoes when needed is crucial for both your safety and your vehicle’s longevity. But how do you know when it’s time to replace these?

    Let’s dive into the details.

    Understanding Brake Wear

    Every time you use your brakes, a small amount of friction material is worn off the pads and/or shoes. Over time, this material becomes thinner. If not replaced, it exposes the steel pieces that hold the material. When these steel parts contact the discs or drums, it can lead to longer braking distances and damage to the discs and drums.

    Brake Check: Is it Time to Swap Your Car’s Brake Pads?, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Brake pads / Image: Boston

    Here are signs to look out for:

    1. Squealing or Screeching Noises: Brake pads with wear indicators may produce a squealing, screeching, or whining noise when engaged. This sound comes from a small metal attachment on the brake pad’s backing plate. If you hear this regularly, it’s time for an inspection. However, not all pads have this feature, so don’t rely on sound alone.
    2. Less Than a Quarter Inch of Brake Pad: On disc brakes, you can visually inspect the brake pads by looking down on the brake assembly. If the friction material is less than ¼ inch thick, consider having your brakes inspected.
    3. Deep Metallic Grinding and Growling: A deep, low noise resembling metal grinding or a rumbling growl indicates your brake pads are worn away, and the backing plates are making contact with the discs or drums. This can cause further damage and requires immediate attention.
    4. Indicator Lights: Some vehicles have dashboard indicator lights that signal when it’s time to replace the brake pads. Check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle has this feature.
    Brake Check: Is it Time to Swap Your Car’s Brake Pads?, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    A brake pad set / Image: Summit Racing

    Brake Pad and Shoe Lifespan

    The lifespan of brake pads and shoes varies depending on driving conditions and habits. Urban driving and heavy traffic can wear them out faster than rural or highway driving. Brake pads and shoes typically last between 30,000-35,000 kms in urban use and 80,000 kms or more in less demanding situations like highway driving.

    By paying attention to these signs and factors, you can determine when to replace your brake pads and shoes, ensuring your safety and maintaining your vehicle’s performance.

    Main image: Pinterest

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