National Car Care Month Tips: Checking Your Brake Pads

The brakes are among the most important parts on your car, which is why it's crucial to keep them in good shape. To safely bring your vehicle to a stop, calipers squeeze brake pads against brake rotors attached to the wheels to slow them down. The friction generated by this action slowly wears down the pads over time and they need to be replaced. The lifespan of brake pads depends on the type of material they are made of, as there are metal, ceramic and composite options, and each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Different Types of Brake Pads
The most common brake pad material is semi-metallic. This material is made up of a combination of copper, steel wool, and friction modifiers, and is often more durable than other materials, but it also wears down faster, meaning you'll have to replace the pads more often. Ceramic brake pads are more expensive, but they are quieter, longer lasting and easier on the rotors than semi-metallic pads.

How to know when it's time for a change
Most brake pads are equipped with wear indicators that let you know you should schedule an appointment with your mechanic. Essentially, there are small metal rods protruding from the base of the pads that will rub against the rotors when the pads are significantly worn down. The result will be a high-pitched squeal when you apply the brakes. When you first hear this noise, you will still be able to drive the car before you can get to your mechanic, but delaying a visit to the shop too long can allow the wear indicator to scratch up the rotor. Replacing pads is fairly inexpensive, but if you need a new rotor the bill will likely be higher.

If you think you might need work done on your brakes, head over to New Jersey Auto Auction. The dealer has a garage, the Total Car Care Canter, that is open to the public, and the experts are ready to help get your car back in running order.