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Worn Brake Pads

Why Driving With Worn Brake Pads Is Dangerous?


Daniel McDonald
Daniel McDonald8 min read
Why Driving With Worn Brake Pads Is Dangerous?

The brakes and other elements in the car stopping system need to be in proper condition since it stops the car and ensures other drivers on the road are safe. However, not many people pay attention to worn brake pads, and they continue to drive their cars without getting their car inspected by a professional automobile expert. Consequently, they will have to bear severe consequences for this negligence.

Not only will you get everyone's attention when stopping at the intersection for the weird noise, but you will also damage your car's brake caliper and other vital parts. Additionally, worn brakes can seriously affect your tires and driving experience if you continue to drive with worn brake pads. Let's go over some dangerous effects of driving with a worn brake pad.

What Happens If You Drive with a Worn Brake Pad?

Driving a car with worn brake pads can wreak havoc on the entire vehicle's system. It is better to check and get your brake pads replaced if you think that they are not working correctly. If you continue to drive with a worn brake pad, it will likely lead to the following consequences.

Inflict a Serious Damage to Your Brakes and Rotors

The car's vehicle system features various elements, such as brakes and rotors, which are connected. If one part is damaged, it will wear down the other critical parts.

The damage of worn brake pads can trickle down to as far as the car's wheels. Your vehicle will also be slow to stop the car when you press the pedal. For instance, if the brake pads are worn down to an extent, they will damage the brake rotor in your car.

When you press the brake pedal, the pads push the rotors for your vehicle to stop. But, if the pads wear down, they expose the metal to the rotors. Therefore, it will cause the rotors to be damaged, which will create an unpleasant grinding sound whenever you hit the brake pedal.

Along with the sounds of the metals grinding, the brakes will also generate heat when the worn pads push the rotor. As a result, your rotor could crack and wrap. Usually, the brake rotors have a longer life span than pads. But the worn-out brakes will cause the rotors to damage more quickly.

Therefore, you need to make frequent repairs to fix the rotors and other critical components. Ideally, it would help if you went for a regular inspection to ensure everything in your car's braking system is working fine. Therefore, you will save yourself from any expensive repairs or replacements.

Delay In Response Time

Another thing that can happen is that you might find the brakes are not as responsive as they used to be. You will find it harder for your vehicle to slow down and stop as your brake pads continue to wear down.

The delay in the response time can result in an accident if you are going faster than usual and your brakes don't respond as you expected. So, if you notice that you need to push the brake pedal much harder to stop the car, you might have a worn brake pad.

Along with a slow response time, you might also see a change in stopping distances. The brakes will also slip, and your vehicle might drift from one side to the other when you hit the brake pedal with worn pads.

Car slipping can occur if the brake pads are not engaging or disengaging with their rotor as per their design. Since the pads cannot grip both sides of the rotor together, the tires will drift and slip when you push the pedal down.

Vibration When Pressing the Brakes

A worn brake pad will not only impact your braking system but will affect the entire vehicle. If the brake system is in perfect condition, the vehicle will stop without any issues. However, if the brake pads wear out or are damaged, they will send a vibration when you press the pedals.

You can feel your car shake or feel a slight vibration in the steering wheel when you press the brake. The vibration will stop once you let your foot off the brake pedal. If that is the case, it is time to get a mechanic to inspect your car. The mechanic can check and let you know whether you need a brake pad replacement.

Wears Down Tires of Your Car

Many believe that worn-out brake pads don't affect the tires. That is not the case since the effect of the damaged or worn-out brake pads can definitely, affect your car's tires. When driving your car with a damaged pad, the brake calipers, rotors, or other parts might hit the pedal more often.

This can result in hard braking, which can damage your tires, and wearing them down much faster. You might also notice that the tires will become uneven or will not be balanced. So, if you continue to drive with a worn brake pad, you will damage the tires.

Common Symptoms of a Worn Out Brake Pad

Most cars will start showing early signs some an issue with the brake pad. Drivers need to watch out for these symptoms to identify potential problems with the brake pads.

Many symptoms that don't show up early on are not too severe. Therefore, they won't cause serious damage as soon as you notice them. However, you should see the possible signs as a reason to look closely at the brake pads before they turn into a more serious problem.

You should schedule an appointment with a professional car expert at your nearest auto shop or dealership for a complete inspection. They can check the entire braking system to ensure it is properly working.

If you think you can have enough mechanical and technical knowledge to check your car's braking system, then you should go for it. If you were able to change out your car's oil, then you shouldn't have too big a problem working on the brake rotors and pads.

This way, you can save time and money that you would have spent on a mechanic. But if you lack mechanical knowledge and don't understand the car's critical components, you should let the experts handle it.

Loud Noises

The most prominent sign many people experience in case of worn brake pads is loud noises. If you hear a screeching or squealing noise when pressing down on your brake pedal, your brake pads are likely damaged.

The reason for noisy brakes is that a lot of dust starts gathering on the pad as it starts to wear out. This dust will continue to build up on the pad and result in a screeching sound whenever you press the brakes.

Moreover, the brake sensor will also hit the brake discs' rotors as the pads continue to wear out. If you don't get new brake pads till this point, it will continue to impact the vital components of the vehicle stopping system whenever you hit the brake pedal.

The squealing noise is not the issue you will have to deal with due to a worn-out brake pad. Worn brakes always damage a rotor, to the point where you might need to replace it.

Spongy Brake Pedal

The spongy brake pedal is a symptom that will appear in most cars with a worn brake pad. when pressing the brake pedals, if you feel they are soft and squishy like a sponge, it implies that your brakes are worn out. Sometimes, the brakes might get too hard rather than soft.

In both cases, you would need to replace your brake pads with new ones. Though you might still apply the brakes with a spongy brake pedal, you need to press it even harder than you usually would.

It can be a problem if you want to press the brakes suddenly and forget to exert the extra pressure for the car to stop. Though the spongy brakes tell you about the worn brake pads, it can also be due to other problems.

For instance, leaking brake fluid or a defective master cylinder can also be the reason behind the issues with your brakes. Nevertheless, it is better to contact a mechanic and get them to check the vehicle's brake pads before their other parts, such as the brake rotor, damage.

Brake Wear Indicator

Many new vehicles now have a brake warning indicator on the dashboard. The wear indicator will illuminate if you have faulty brake pads. Now, you can easily and quickly check for the possible issues with your brake pads.

Though the indicator does light up when there is a problem with your brake pad, there could be other issues. It tells that you must address an ongoing braking system issue.

You can check if the issue is with the calipers, brake rotor, or any other vital component of your vehicle's braking system. It is best to contact a mechanic and schedule an appointment for your car. They can look at the vehicle and let you know if the old brake pads need to be replaced with a new one.

What Is The Life Span of Brake Pads or Shoes?

Various things can impact the life span of your vehicle's brake pad. Therefore, the answer to this question will vary from vehicle to vehicle, depending on how often and long the driver drives. If you tend to live in the busiest part of the city or commute to places with heavy traffic, you will have to press the brakes more often.

Therefore, your car's brake pads will wear out quickly and need to be replaced. On the other hand, if you live in a rural area or commute on highways, you wouldn't have to worry about your brake pads.

Besides this, many people have the habit of pressing the brakes more often. They hit the brakes more often and would have to replace their pads more quickly.

On average, brake shoes can function well for 30,000 to 35,000 miles if you drive in crowded places. If you are driving in less densely populated areas, such as highways, your brake shoes can last up to 70,000 miles or even more.

What is the Cost of Replacing a Worn Out Brake Pad?

The parts would likely cost you anywhere from $40 to $150, along with whatever the mechanic will charge you for their labor. This cost will vary from $90 to $130, depending on the work and effort they had to put into it. In total, it can cost you around $120 to $280 to replace a brake pad.

Get Your Brake System Inspected

Worn brake pads can cause serious damage to the brake rotor, discs, and other important parts of your car's brake system. So, getting a mechanic to look at your brake pads to ensure everything is in proper working order is better.

If they recommend you to get new brake pads, then you should replace your old brake pads. Getting the brake pads replaced will keep the driver in the car and other people on the road safe.

You should also keep a close eye on the wear indicator in your dashboard. The wear indicators is the best and easiest way to know if anything is wrong with your brakes.

Once the indicator light starts illuminating, it is time to get it checked by a professional mechanic. Newer cars have a warning indicator to give you an idea about possible problems with the brake system.