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Brake pads are a key component of any vehicle’s braking system. They’re flat parts made of semi-metallic, organic or ceramic materials, with a metal backing. When you use your brakes, the pads hydraulically squeeze the brake discs, slowing your car down through friction and pressure. The pads absorb some of the biggest forces involved in daily driving.
Most cars have two pads per brake disc, although some high-performance models can have more.
But while they’ll keep you safe over thousands of miles, they won’t last forever. Eventually, the abrasive surface on them wears down and they will need to be replaced, ideally while you still have around 25% capacity of the pads left. As a rough guide, your brake pads should last for 50,000 miles, but there are a number of variables, including driver behaviour, the weight you carry, speed and the type of pads used. Not to mention nearly 20% of MOT failures are caused by faulty brakes.
Given that they take most of the load, front brake pads will probably need replacing first. They also have a bigger surface area to increase friction.
To make your brake pads last longer:
It’s not hard to know when to replace brake pads. Some newer vehicles have wear sensors fitted which detect when brake pads are wearing down and a warning light is then illuminated on the dashboard.
Otherwise, a regular service will always highlight any problems, but you can also look and listen out for other warning signs, including:
Unless you’re very sure you know what you are doing, don’t try and replace the brake pads yourself - it’s a highly skilled job. Use a qualified mechanic and approved garage. We can help.
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