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Symptoms of Bad Brake Pads: All You Need to Know

symptoms of brake pads

Some of the common symptoms of bad brake pads include:

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  • Weird noises coming from the braking system
  • Pulsating brake pedal
  • Warning light on the dashboard
  • Brake’s vibration
  • Irresponsive braking system

Your vehicle's brake pads are responsible for providing the necessary friction and slowing down the wheels until you achieve a complete stop. The brake pads are one of the most critical components in the braking system because it is the core component that has to do with your safety.

Over time of use, brake pads are expected to wear out, which means that you must install new ones to maintain full control of your vehicle. There is no way to continue driving your vehicle If the brake pads are not in good condition. Although brake pads are expected to wear out at certain mileage thresholds, there are some instances where you must replace the brake pads before reaching the exploration milestone.

This article provides you with a detailed list of potential symptoms of that brake pads to help you detect the problem early and before it gets complicated. Once you realize these symptoms, you must reach out to your mechanic and resolve the issue before impacting your safety.

What are the common symptoms of that brake pads?

Since brake pads wear out at some point in time, you'll have to keep an eye on some of the common symptoms indicating that the brake pads are about to wear out or fail. The good news is that your vehicle will show you some clear abnormal behaviors to bring your attention to replacing the brake pads before getting to a point where you can't control the vehicle.

Let's take a closer look at some of these symptoms:

1-    Weird noises

One of the first and most common symptoms indicating that the braking system is failing is hearing weird noises every time you hit the brake pedal. Typically, these noises are more like squealing accompanied by vibration. When this happens, it is a clear sign that there is some dust or other symptoms of wear-outs on the brake pads.

The squealing noise is expected to be much louder if the brake pads reach the expiration dates or the end of their lifetime., the earlier you detect the problem, the easier it is to resolve the issue and the cheaper repair costs.

As a rule of thumb, whenever you hear any weird noises coming from your vehicle, you must take it seriously and consult your mechanic because these noises might be linked to major internal problems. However, experts indicated that if you detect a problem early, there is a very high chance that you can resolve it without needing to install major components, which means with the lowest repair costs.

2-    Pulsating brake pedal

If you realize that the brake pedal is pulsating every time you hit it, there is a very high chance that the brake pads are failing to require replacement. However, pulsating brake pads might be linked to a faulty rotor, which means that you can't immediately assume that the brake pads are failing just because the brake pedal is pulsating.

Once your mechanic performs a thorough inspection, he'll be able to tell you what needs to be done to resolve the issue and maintain your safety.

3-    A warning light on the dashboard

Depending on your vehicle type, the dashboard will show a certain morning light if the braking system has any problem. The warning light may not necessarily say that the brake pads are failing, but it indicates that your braking system needs to be checked.

You never want to ignore any warning light on the dashboard, whether it's related to the braking system or any other component. This is because your vehicle relies on the warning lights to bring your attention to important issues that could impact your safety.

4-    Brake’s vibration

Have you ever put your foot on the brake pedal and realized that the braking system is vibrating? The problem could be linked to a bad braking pad, which means replacing it immediately.

It is important to note that you might also deal with braking system vibration if there is an issue with the rotor. Therefore, before attempting to replace the brake pads, it is critical that your mechanic inspects the rotor to confirm that the issue is coming from the brake pads.

5-    Irresponsive braking systems

Finally, when the brake pads are completely worn out, you will get to a point where you can't control the car, which means that whatever you do to press on the brake pedal and stop the vehicle will not work. You never want to get into this situation because it impacts your life and the life of other people around you on the road.

Thus, it is recommended that you take the problem seriously and have your mechanic replace the brake pads before reaching this stage and losing your life whenever you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms.

Should you replace all four brake pads at once?

As you might already know, there is a brake pad on every single wheel, which means that your vehicle might have four brake pads. Therefore, when you notice any of the mentioned symptoms about bad brake pads, you might wonder whether you must replace all four of them or just the faulty one.

According to automotive experts, you recommend replacing both brake pads on the same axle at least together. However, it is expected that the other two brake pads might wear out sometime soon. Therefore, it might make the most sense for you to replace all four brake pads whenever you're dealing with bringing system issues. It might also be worth discussing his thoughts with your mechanic on replacing the other brake pads because they might be in good condition.

Is it OK to replace brake pads?

It all depends. As you might already know, the brake pads are continuously interacting with a rotor, which means that if there's a problem with one of them, you must resolve it. However, if the problem is impacting both, you get to repair both components simultaneously.

If you rely only on replacing the brake pads and the rotors are not in good condition, the bad rotor might impact your new brake pads and cause them to fail prematurely. Thus, have your mechanic perform a death or inspection of the entire braking system to confirm whether there's any other problem and get it resolved at the same time to maintain the braking system.

How much do new brakes usually cost?

If you get to a point where you must replace the brake pads, it is critical to understand how much it will cost you to blaze each pad. Depending on your vehicle type and where you get the job done, replacing both pads on the same axle should cost you about $300 because every pad might cost about $150. If you are planning to replace the four brake pads, you'll have to pay $600.

If you're looking for a full brake pad job, expect to pay between a total of $300 and $800. Labor cost is a big component, and it might vary significantly depending on where you get the job done. For example, if you know how to replace your brake pads, you don't have to worry about labor costs. But, overall, if you decide to go to a dealership, labor costs can be a major component compared to going to a small independent shop.

Of course, replacing the brake pads is not an as cheap job, which means that you must evaluate the situation before your investment. This does not mean that you can drive a vehicle with a bad brake pad; but instead, it indicates that you should evaluate whether you should sell the vehicle or keep it depending on your car's value and how it compares to the repair costs.

How often should the brake pads be replaced?

Typically, brake pads are expected to last between 10,000 miles and 20,000 miles. However, this does not mean that you can wait until you achieve that mileage threshold. As indicated in this article, you must keep an eye for any symptoms indicating that the brake pads are failing or about to fail prematurely. When you realize any of these symptoms, and even before hitting the 10,000 miles, you must replace the brake pads to maintain your safety.

Is it OK to drive with grinding brakes?

Not! As we indicated earlier, anything that has to do with the braking system should be taken seriously to maintain your safety and the safety of other people around you on the road. These weird noises can be linked to major critical components in the braking system, which means that there is a very high chance that you won't be able to control the car and stop it when needed, especially if you're driving at highway speeds.

Therefore, whatever is taking you away from repairing these grinding noises should not be worth it as compared to what could happen when you can't control the car carrot

How do worn-out brakes sound like?

When the brake pads wear out, you'll hear either squealing noises or probably a metallic grinding noise indicating that the internal metal components in the braking systems are interacting with each other, causing issues with the rotor.

Why do my brakes squeal when I first start driving?

Although we indicated that any noises coming from the braking system should be taken seriously, there is one exception: when you hear a squealing noise the first time, you will start the car. These noises mindful turn after a heavy rain event or probably snow when the braking system scrapes some rust away from the brake pad.

If squealing noise becomes common and remains as you drive the car, you might consult your mechanic to resolve the issue because it might indicate some internal damages.

Can you check your brake pads without removing the wheels?

Yes! Luckily, it might be surprising to some inexperienced drivers who thought you could inspect the brake pads by just performing a visual inspection without removing the wheels. Thus, since the job is not very complicated, you must regularly inspect the brake pads to detect any signs of premature damages that you want to be prepared for.

There are plenty of available YouTube tutorials and other articles that focus on how exactly you can't inspect the brake pads and ensure that they’re in good condition.


Maintaining a working braking system is extremely critical for any driver to maintain your safety. However, at some point, the brake pads and other components might fill out requiring replacement. Therefore, it is essential for you as a driver to keep an eye for any symptoms of that brake pads to replace them before they completely wear out.

This article highlighted these symptoms, including weird noises coming from the braking system, pulsating brake pedal, a warning light on the dashboard, vibration, and irresponsible braking system.

It is critical to understand that no matter how much effort you put to maintain the braking system if repair costs are getting closer to the value of your car, it might not be worth the investment. In other words, if you realize that repair costs are getting close to 75% or more from your vehicle vehicles value, you might want to sell your vehicle and use its value towards a better car.

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