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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

When Should I Get My Brake Pads Checked?

Your vehicle's brake pads are a simple – yet critical – component of your car's overall braking system. On average, drivers can expect brake pads to last for up to 50,000 miles. However, there are many factors that play a role in their longevity. These include driving styles, driving environment and the type of vehicle you operate. Learn that it is fairly easy to tell when your pads have worn down and need to be attended to.

A mechanic installing at a brake pad on a car.

Signs and Symptoms of Brake Pad Issues

When brake pads wear down, the role they play in bringing your vehicle to a stop can be impacted, which doesn't only jeopardize your safety, but those you're sharing the road with as well. So how do you know when it's time to replace your brake pads? There are numerous signs.

  • Squealing: A squealing or squeaking sound when the brakes are engaged is typically the first sign that your brake pads are nearing the end of their life. This indicates that your brake pads have significant wear and should be replaced.
  • Grinding During Braking: If you hear a grinding sound when you apply the brakes, then your brake pads are ready to get replaced. If you continue to drive a vehicle in this condition, there's the potential for damage to other parts of the car.
  • Vibration During Braking: Is your vehicle vibrating or shaking as it comes to a stop? It's likely that your rotors are warped and your brake pads are worn.
  • Slower Stops: Brake pads that are in good condition help your vehicle stop promptly. If your vehicle is taking longer to adequately stop, there's likely a lack of friction between the brake pad and rotor, which should be addressed immediately.

Tips to Prolong Brake Pad Life

To ensure you're getting the most out of your brake pads, follow these tips:

  • Refrain from aggressive driving: If you regularly slam on the brakes or brake hard, then your pads are likely to wear prematurely. Practice braking so your vehicle comes to slow, gradual stops – not prompt, aggressive stops. Do this by ensuring there's plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  • Drive lightly: The more weight your vehicle carries, the harder the brakes have to work to stop it. Assess what you're driving with and see if you can remove any excess supplies or tools when you don't need them.
  • Have your brake system properly maintained: A healthy overall brake system is key to long-lasting brake pads. Don't neglect regular maintenance on the overall system, such as flushing the brake fluid.

Automate Savings

Open a savings account that's separate from your main checking account. This extra step of separation may help you refrain from dipping into your car savings.

Next, set up an automatic transfer into this account every time you get paid. Not only will this make saving easier, but you'll also be able to clearly track your progress as your account balance grows.

Find Extra Work

If you're determined to get that car sooner rather than later, consider taking on side work. If you have the time, spend a few hours a week as a virtual assistant, making grocery deliveries, or selling things online.

Put this extra income toward the down payment on your future car and watch your savings account grow.

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