Choosing and replacing brake pads

 Several criteria must be taken into account when choosing your new brake pads:

  • Do not hesitate to choose brand models of good quality.
  • Make sure the pads you chose are compatible with the exact model of your car.

Check the following criteria to help select the proper brake pads:

  • Year of the vehicle
  • Does the car have an ABS system
  • Check the diameter of the rotors and drums
  • Do you need ventilated discs
  • What brand of parts are already installed on the car

Finally, note that one type of brake pad corresponds to a specific type of disk and caliper.

Caution: if you change your own pads and you have an accident, the insurance company may not pay you because it is your liability.

How to change brake pads

Do not attempt this maintenance unless you already have some mechanical knowledge. Otherwise, call your mechanic.

There are several steps to follow for changing the brake pads:

  • Buy a replacement kit complete with springs and brackets as these parts wear out too. Also be sure you have the correct tools because they must be adapted to the parts.
  • Set up in a place free from dust and grease to keep the new discs and pads free of dirt.
  • Remove one side to keep the other as a model.
  • The new pads are thicker and you will have to push the piston with a pair of pliers. This operation requires great precision and attention to detail.
  • Do not install new pads on a worn out disk as they will wear much faster.
  • When the new pads are installed, pump the brake pedal several times to move the pads closer to the disks.

How Much Brake Pads Replacement Should Cost: Tips and Prices

brake pad replacementFor safety reasons, please have your brake system inspected every year.

There are two types of brake system: disc brake (more efficient and modern) and the drum brake (mounted on the rear wheels on older cars).

If your brake system is worn out then it must be either maintained or replaced.

Disc brakes

Maintenance: the average price of a change of brake pads (plus tax) ranges from $100 (compact car) to over $200 (large sedan) by type of vehicle.

Replacement: the average price of a change of pads AND discs (plus tax) is $330. It is strongly recommended to change the brake fluid at the same time, its price is about $90-$120.

Drum brakes

Maintenance: the cleaning of brake drums costs about $100-$130.

Replacement: changing brake drums commonly called “kit” drum brake is charged at least $395. It is strongly recommended to change the brake fluid at the same time, its price is about $90-$120.

Advice

In the case of a change of brake pads, disks, brake drum, a break in period of about 400 km is required. So drive a bit more moderately for this period and avoid abrupt braking.

When to replace brake pads

Before bringing your car for brake service it is a good idea to understand the current state of your car's brakes.

Pads wear out naturally and it is, therefore, essential to inspect the brake system every 20,000 km. Most cars have an indicator that illuminates when there is brake pad wear. When this warning lights up, you can go for an average of 3000 km before the discs are destroyed.

How to check the state of your brakes

brake pad replacement costFor cars with no brake wear warning light, it is imperative to remove the wheels to check the status of the pads. If they do not have a pad thickness of at least 2mm, they should be changed.

It is also possible to check the pad wear by checking the brake fluid level. Indeed, the more the pads are worn, the lower the fluid level will be. In this case, it will not suffice to top up the liquid because it will not repair your old pads. Finally, if the brake fluid level is below the minimum, there is a high likelihood that your braking system fluid is leaking.

Also, remember to check the drum brakes if your car is equipped with them. For that, you just pull the handbrake lever. If your car only stops after more than six rotations then the linings must be adjusted or replaced.

Do not forget to check the status of the disks because if they are grooved, then they must be changed. Wear is, of course, normal but should not exceed the threshold of 15%. To calculate this, you must provide yourself with a ruler to compare the thickness of the outer edge of the disk to that of the braking surface where the pads rub.

The braking system is essential for the safety of a motorist. Although it rarely fails completely, it can gradually wear out.

The driver will then rely more on the pedal and ignore vibrations and noises that can nevertheless hide a real danger.

How to diagnose brake wear?

The brake pedal is too hard:

  • This may be due to a failure of the brake subsystem in your car
  • There might be a seized piston or a crushed or blocked tube
  • The brake linings may be too slick

The brake pedal is soft: if the pedal sinks without ever stopping, it is surely due to pad wear.

The brake pedal is soft and elastic: this is certainly due to the presence of air bubbles in the system.

The brake pedal sinks to the floor: this reflects a hydraulic leak.

The brakes are jerky: a disc may be warped or a drum may be unbalanced.

The brakes heat up: the handbrake and/or pistons may be blocked.