When to Replace Brake Pads: Signs and Symptoms

Published: August 15, 2022
Last updated: February 21, 2024

Good brake pads are essential to any good braking system. Driving your car and pressing the brake pedal creates friction between the ceramic brake pads and the brake discs. As long as you keep your foot on the brake pedal, this friction slows down your vehicle until it comes to a complete stop.

Brake pads and other brake components will inevitably wear out over time, and you will need to brake pad replacement. The semi-metallic brake pads on your vehicle are an integral part of its braking system. The safety of your car depends on the function of your brake pads.

Brake pads wear out after several years since they are used every time you press the brake pedal. You will have to consider the friction material of the brake pads, the type of vehicle, and the way you drive to determine how long ceramic brake pads will last when going for brake pad replacement. Replace worn brake pads before it's too late by regularly measuring the thickness of brake pad material.

Top Symptoms Of Bad Brake Pads

Certain signs can let you know that your brake pads are failing. You are not in immediate danger if you notice the early signs of bad brake pads since they are not too serious.

If this is the case, you should schedule an appointment with your mechanic, brake shop, or dealership for a brake job immediately to replace your brake pads.

A mechanic who has changed engine oil or replaced spark plugs can replace brake pads on their own if they have mechanical knowledge and have been doing so for a while. If you do this yourself instead of hiring a professional, you will save a substantial amount of money. Bad brake pads often cause the following symptoms.

Noisy Brakes

If you hear a squealing sound when you step on the brake pedal, then you need to check your brake pads as this could indicate that you have bad brake pads. There are a lot of dust particles that build up in brake pads as they get worn out over time with age. It is only a matter of time before the dust accumulates in the brake pads, and you will start to hear them squeal every time you use them.

In addition, the brake pads will get worn down to the point where the brake sensor will come in contact with the disc brake rotor. If the brake pads have not been replaced, they will continue to deteriorate until the backing plate of the brake pad connects with the rotor, and then they will need to be replaced.

As well as creating scraping noises when you step on the brakes, this will also damage your rotor, which will need to be replaced.

Brake Warning Light

The brake warning light on the dashboard is one of the easiest ways to recognize whether your brake pads are faulty. You will know something is wrong with your braking system when you notice this, even if it isn't your brake pads. The fact that your brake pads need to be replaced should be a good reason to get them checked out by a mechanic.

Spongy Brake Pedal

You may have worn out brake pads if the brake pedal feels hard or squishy like a sponge when you step on it. However, you'll need to put more hydraulic pressure on the brake pedal than usual to apply the brakes.

In the event of a sudden brake application, you might forget this. In most cases, spongy brake pedals are caused by faulty brake master cylinders or brake fluid leaks rather than damaged brake pads. However, it would help if you always had your brake system inspected.

Slower Brakes

In the event of extremely worn brake pads, the rotors cannot slow down the vehicle enough to stop it quickly. As a result, stepping on the brake pedal will produce a very slow brake response. Because the semi-metallic pads are bad, braking quickly could result in a serious accident if you have to wait for your braking system to catch up.


It feels like the brake pedal vibrates or pulsates when you apply hydraulic pressure by pressing it down. The vibration occurs when the brake pad comes into contact with the brake rotor. The vibration can be caused by either bad brake pads or bad brake rotors. The pedal may feel worn or damaged if one of them is damaged or worn.

How Much Are Brake Pads?

The axles of a car usually have two wheels. Larger vehicles with more wheels and passengers can have more axles. It is common for mechanics to charge different hourly rates and manufacturers to price parts differently depending on the materials they use. The following are average brake pad replacement costs.

  • There is an average cost of $35 to $150 for parts.
  • The labor cost varies from $80 to $120, depending on the axle.
  • The brake pad replacement cost can range from $115 to $300 per axle.

Would you like to know how a car works and how it is maintained? Visit KeepDriving to learn more about what you should know about the battery charging system.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Carmelo Pickel is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Keep Driving, with almost 20 years of experience working in the industry. Before founding Keep Driving, Carmelo held leadership roles for over a decade on top automotive dealership corporations across North America, handling various leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Incentives.
Copyright © 2024 Keep Driving. All Rights Reserved.
DMCA.com Protection Status