Considering the price of changing brake pads can be in the range of about $250 for most cars and even more for luxury or performance vehicles, many auto owners are doing the repairs themselves.
Changing a car's brake pads can be quick and easy if you're experienced. Those who haven't had experience doing the project should make sure they have their brakes checked by a licensed mechanic before doing any repairs themselves.
Despite most auto owners not knowing how to change their own brake pads, they should still know what's involved to make it easier to understand when a mechanic is giving a quote for the repair.
Most cars are equipped with front disc brakes, which usually wear out faster than the rear brakes, which could be either disc or drum brakes. Considering the front tires wear faster and have the most weight placed on them from the engine and the vehicle bolting forward when the brakes are applied, the front brakes will need to be replaced more often.
The warning signs
One of the ways motorists can tell if the brakes need to be changed is if the hubcaps or rims have more black dust on them than usual. The black dust is usually from the brake pads grinding against each other and releasing a black dust that gives the hubcaps a dirty appearance.
Another method of knowing if a car's brake pads need to be changed is by the noises the car makes when the brakes are applied. If there is a squeaking or grinding noise being made when the brakes are applied, it's usually a good indication that the pads need to be replaced to prevent any further damage from occurring on a vehicle. Even though the warning signs may be accurate, auto experts recommend drivers have their brake pads inspected on a regular basis to make sure they are in the best possible condition to prevent an accident from occurring if the brakes malfunction.
Rotors can also be affected by bad brakes. If the front end of the vehicle vibrates when the brakes are applied, the brake rotors on the car may need to be replaced. Researching what is needed in a rotor change is encouraged before visiting a professional for help.
In order to change brake pads when doing the job on your own, motorists will need a disposable mechanic's glove to protect their hands, a jack, jack stand, C-clamp or length of wood to retract the piston, wrench, turkey baster for drawing out brake fluid and a plastic tie, bungee cord or piece of string. The materials required are the new brake pads and a can of brake fluid.
Motorists should make sure they have the right brake pads and fluid by looking at the owner's manual, which usually has all the things needed for the vehicle to last as long as possible without pouring large amounts of money into repairs.
While the owner's manual in most cars will recommend specific brake pads, most auto manufacturers are outfitting their vehicle with ceramic brake pads as opposed to metallic pads as standard. Ceramic pads are quieter than metallic pads, dissipate heat better for less brake fade, create less dust, and are more gentle on brake rotors. Ceramic pads are also not as aggressive as metallic pads, but could also cost a bit more than their metallic counterpart.