“How many brake pads per wheel?” There are two brake pads per wheel. What it means is that car brake pads are sold in pairs. While the kits of the drums and brake rotors come in units, the brake shoes -of both the front or rear wheel – come in twos.
As a result, once some parts of your car braking system are in bad condition, it’ll be wise to replace the two brake shoes. Now, here’s the implication. If the brake pads on the right front wheel need replacement, you’ll need to replace the shoes on the left front wheel.
After all, there’s only one axle connecting each of the front and rear wheels.
Let’s learn more about wheel brake pads.
Are My Car Brake Pads Due For Replacement?
It’s not difficult to tell when your car brake shoes need replacement. There is a wide range of ways you can suspect and inspect the condition of your brakes. Let me ask a few questions:
- Does your car squeal when you press on the brake pedal?
- Does it lean to one side more than the other?
- Do you push the brake pedal harder than normal?
- Do you smell any burning rubber?
Now, if your answer to the above questions is in the affirmative, then it is time to get rid of the brake shoes and install a new set. In any case, here are sensory indicators and methods to suspect worn-out pads.
- Hard Push: If you observe that you’re pressing on the brake pedal more than normal while trying to brake or slow down, the brake pads are the first suspect. You’ll often feel the hard push when you press your foot on the pedal.
- Slant Car: When you view your car from the rear or front, you may also notice that it leans towards one side. This may be an indicator that a set of brake pads on one wheel is worn out or has lost its thickness.
- Burning Smell: To link a burning smell of rubber to worn-down brake pads is a no-brainer. If you smell that rubber is burning, the brake pads may have thinned and need a replacement.
- Squealing Sound: Another sign that your brake pads are giving way and may need an immediate replacement is a squealing sound. This occurs when you apply the brakes t slow down your car.
In fact, the sound might be more than just a squeal.For instance, the brakes may start to pump and push harder than they should normally. When this happens, it’s time to replace the brake pads or rotors, or both.
- Reduced Thickness: Typically, the thickness of the brake pads is above a quarter of an inch. However, once the density reduces below this threshold, it’s time to replace the pads.
Having an idea of how thick the shoes are before installing them into the car is a good way to make the right judgment when you suspect an anomaly in the braking system.
How Often Should I Change My Car Brake Shoes?
I come across this question too often and my response has relatively been almost the same. The frequency of replacing your car brake shoes depends largely on a number of things.
Let me itemize them so you can quickly keep them in mind:
- Your car spec
- Your driving habit
- Quality of pad material
- Schedule maintenance
- Eco factors
- Health of other components of the braking system
The list is not limited to these; but how does each of these items determine how often you change your brake pads? Let me explain further.
- Car Specs: Brake pads tend to last longer on manual transmission than on automatic cars. The mechanism is that you have ample chance to downshift gears on manual cars, but any attempt to force downshift in an automatic transmission car may excessively wear down the transmission.
- Driving Habit: Generally, the overall health of your car, including the brakes depends largely on how you handle and drive the vehicle. If you don’t hit the brakes hard or rotate the wheels excessively unevenly and irregularly, your brake pads will last longer.
- Quality Of The Pads: Brand new brake pads are quite thick for the purpose. So, you should be sure that they will provide quality service for a long time. However, if the material of the design of the pads is poor, forget it. You’ll need to replace it after a few miles.
- Scheduled Maintenance: If you keep to the recommended scheduled servicing, you won’t have any issue using the pads for as long as indicated on the manual. However, poor car maintenance causes parts, including the braking system to wear down very quickly.
- Eco Factors: If you daily commute and drive downhill or along steep hills, the brake pads will be more engaged and will need to do a lot to slow down the vehicle. This way, the pads will wear out sooner than normal, causing you to replace them more often.
- Installation: Your technician needs to be extremely careful when installing the brake rotors, pads, and caliper. Any foul play in setting up the entire braking system can cause any of the parts to fail and warp.
- Health Of Other Components Of The Braking System: With bad rotors or calipers come problematic brake pads. This will mean that each time you’re replacing the calipers, you must buy a new pair of pads.
As a general rule of thumb, keep the other components in good condition, you’ll enjoy the brake pads as well for a longer time.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Brake Pad?
Many car operators believe there should be a cap on the lifespan of brake pads. I haven’t thought otherwise, either. But hey, we’ve to consider these several factors that come into play when defining how long brake pads should last.
If these factors I’ve mentioned above come relatively favourable, brake pads, on average, should last about 50,000 miles. With brake pads up to this mile mark, you should begin to think of replacing them.
Why Should You Have Your Brakes Cleaned?
It’s become a common practice among auto manufacturers to recommend an annual cleaning and inspection of the braking system.
The reason cannot be far-fetched. The wheel and braking units of your car need regular cleaning and servicing, and these will require the removal of any grit, rust, or gunk from the components of the system.
The brake pads, rotors, drum, calipers, linings, and other moving parts need to be cleaned and lubricated, using heat-resistant lube. Carrying out the annual cleaning routine will help improve the life of the brakes. Besides, the advantage, in the long run, far outweighs other options, including the cost of replacement.
In terms of cost, annual cleaning of the brake pads is cheaper. For instance, annual braking system cleaning can cost an average of $200 with a 25% life span extension guarantee, you’d not want to go for any replacement.
Front Or Rear Brake Shoes: Which Wear Down Faster?
Based on physics and design, the front brake pads wear down faster than the rear pads. The reason is simple: more than 70 per cent of what makes up the braking system of cars comes from the front brakes.
The rear brakes are intended to lock up and consequently allow the front brakes to do more of the braking jobs of your car.
The physical principle is that there is a weight transfer from the rear to the front of your car each time you press on the brake pedal. Much force is exerted on the front wheel and brake units.
The consequence is that the more force and pressure the front brakes receive, the higher the chances of them wearing their own quicker than the rear system.
That being said, you may need to be replacing or cleaning the front brakes more often than your rear counterparts.
The truth is that it costs car owners a lot to fix any issue with the braking system. It costs more if you have to buy car parts that are sold in pairs, including the brake pads.
But what about the brake rotors, wheel cylinders, and brake calipers? The truth is that the brake pads are made of softer material than the rotors and other components of the braking system. Chances are that you’ll have to replace the pads more frequently than you’d the rotors.
The worst-case scenario, replacing brake rotors, brake calipers, and brakes shoes at the same time can have a serious impact on your income.
To avoid recurring spending on brake shoes, you should take good care of them. Generally, you should pay attention to all the components that make up the braking system.