Welcome to Doral’s Auto Repair, your one-stop San Leandro auto repair shop. We offer full range of brake service and brake repairs, including brake pad replacement.
Brake pads are pretty simple in construction and function. They are made of friction material. They get pressed against the surface of rotors when braking. Because rotors are attached to wheels, the friction of the brake pads causes wheels to slow down. If you press the brake pedal long enough and hard enough, the car eventually stops.
The force of your foot pressing on the brake pedal gets magnified by the brake system. Ultimately, the 50lb-70lb pressure generated by your foot gets magnified into thousands of pounds of clamping force at the calipers (which press the brake pads against the rotors). Obviously, such tremendous forces and friction cause the brake pads to wear down – after all that friction is what’s causing the thousands of pounds of your vehicle to slow down and stop.
As the brake pads wear down, eventually they need to be replaced. If not, your vehicle’s brakes will be “metal to metal” – all friction material will be gone – and this in turn can cause rotor damage and increased repair costs.
How can you recognize that it’s time to replace brake pads?
There are many indicators to let you know it’s time to get brake pads replaced:
- Squealing brakes should not be ignored – have a competent mechanic look at the brakes.
- Modern vehicles have electronic sensors built into pads – warning light comes on the dashboard when it’s time to replace brake pads.
- If your car pulls to the side (left or right) while braking, it is a high probability that brake calipers will need to be replaced.
- Grinding noise while braking usually indicated that the brakes are “metal to metal” – the friction material is gone, and rotors are likely damaged as well. This impacts safety – get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.
- Brake pedal pulsation or vehicle vibration likely indicate warped rotors. It happens a lot less frequently than worn brake pads, but it does happen.
- Any brake system warning light illuminated or any brake system maintenance message should cause you to get your car asap to a competent mechanic. Your safety is at stake.
Brake pad replacement – what actually happens:
First we take off wheels and inspect brake pads visually. Then we check that calipers are operating properly (looking for stuck calipers), then measure brake pad thickness. Typically if the remaining friction material is less than 2mm thick, brake pad replacement is a necessity.
Brake pads are replaced in pairs, either rear brake pads, or front brake pads. It is rare that both front and rear brake pads need to be replaced at the same time.
While we replace brake pads, we also lubricate brake system components, check condition of the brake fluid (brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air, which may lead to corrosion), and we top off brake fluid as well. Wheels get put back on, and the final part of brake pad replacement is the test drive – technician will take your vehicle for a test drive to verify that brake systems works correctly and safely.
If your vehicle gives you any concern, especially regarding brakes, bring it to your trusted mechanic for diagnostics and repairs (if any). Brake pads are vital for the safety of your vehicle, its occupants, and others on the road. They should be worked on by a technician you trust, preferably ASE certified technician.
So if you have any concerns about the safety of your vehicle, bring it to Doral’s Auto Repair. Our nationally ASE certified technicians will inspect your vehicle and let you know what needs to be done. You can set up appointment online, or simply call us.