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How do you make your brake pads last longer?

Now we know brake pads can last anything from 50 to 110 thousand kilometres depending on a variety of factors. However, different wear patterns are caused by different variables and you will be able to avoid these wear factors and extend the life of your brakes if you are able to recognise them. 

These are the top 6 types of brake pad wear, their causes, and their solutions:

1. Even Wear

In this case the pads should have about the same amount of friction wear on both sides. This is caused by normal everyday brake function and will result in all brake pads wearing evenly. 

What to do: Simply replace the brake pads, the abutment plate, anti-rattle clips and service the calliper guide pins and slides.

2. Inner pad wear

This means that the inboard brake appears to have more wear than the outboard brake. This occurs when the calliper piston doesn’t return to its resting position, perhaps due to a worn seal, damage or corrosion. Alternatively, it could be caused by a problem with the master cylinder. 

What to do:
Service or replace the existing guide pins, bushings, the entire calliper and replace the brake pads. You will also need to inspect the hydraulic brake system and the calliper for residual pressure, guide pinhole or piston boot damage. If the guide pin holes or piston boot are corroded or damaged then you will need to replace those as well.

3. Outer pad wear

This occurs when outer pad continues to ride on the rotor after the calliper releases, resulting in the outboard pad having less friction material on it than the inboard pad. 

What to do:
Service or replace the existing guide pins, bushings, brake pads or the entire calliper.

4. Tapered pad wear

This will give the brake pad a wedge look as it has worn unevenly on the top or bottom. This can be caused by incorrect pad fitment, guide pin wear, and having only a single guide pin or frequent slide seizing.

What to do:
Service or replace the existing guide pins, bushings, brake pads or the entire calliper.

5. Overlapping friction material

This should look as though the top edge of the pad is overlapping the top of the rotor. This is easily caused by guide pin wear, calliper or calliper bracket wear or simply having the wrong rotor or pad fitted to the vehicle.

 What to do: Replace your brake pads and ensure the vehicle is fitted with OE spec diameter rotors. 

6. Cracking, glazing or lifted pad edges

The brake pads will visibly appear to be physically damaged and show signs of thermal distress. This can be caused by a variety of things including extensive overuse, improper bed-in procedure, hydraulic system issues, seized calliper components, defective brake pads or the park brake not releasing properly. 

What to do:
Replace and then bed-in the new pads correctly. You may also need to adjust the park brake itself.

If you want to know more about your brakes then simply check out our Quickademy brake videos or read a few more of our articles so you can become an expert too.

Looking to replace your brake pads? Visit your nearest Supa Quick dealer for expert advice.

 Also read: What’s that noise coming from your brakes?

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