The easiest way to manage your vehicle’s brakes is to follow the inspection and replacement schedule in your owner’s manual, but that does not always work. Sometimes your brakes take extra wear and need early replacement. While replacements at certain mileage thresholds can work for something like your shock parts most of the time, it’s better if you learn to inspect your brakes and what happens if they go bad early.
Signs of Worn Brake Pads
The best thing you can do to tell when your brake pads need replacing is to track their thickness, because there is a recommended replacement point based on wear, just like you see with tire treads. If you have not been monitoring that progress or you are experiencing brake issues already and you need answers, there are a few signs that your brake pads need to be replaced right now.
- Squeaking or grinding noises when you brake
- Longer stopping distances than you’re used to
- Vibrations when braking
Your brake indicator light can also give you an early heads-up because thinning brake pads cause the calipers to have a longer actuation distance. That takes more hydraulic pressure, and as a result it can cause a low-pressure light to come on.
Brake Pad Upgrades
When it’s time for brake pad replacement, you have a lot more choices than just an OEM part. While it’s true that the original equipment manufacturer’s licensed part will give you exactly the same performance as the original set of pads, you can go for an even better experience. OEM specs are based off a combination of quality and cost, and they represent the estimated needs of most drivers. Performance brake pad manufacturers use advanced designs and sometimes even innovations that were not available when OEM pads were first approved. The result is a better performing pad, often with a longer life.
High-performance brake pads last longer under regular driving conditions, but they also grant you the benefits of shorter stopping distances much of the time. That is useful when you are making other performance upgrades to a vehicle, because it keeps your stopping power proportional to your increased power output. Even if you have made no other upgrades, a performance pad is often worth the cost simply because it buys you more time until the next replacement.
Additional Upgrades You May Need
If you are modifying a vehicle, you need to keep an eye on its resource needs. That is obvious when you are going for more engine power, because you also need more air and fuel. It’s often overlooked when adding electronic upgrades, and accessories like premium stereo setups can take a lot of electricity. It’s worth reviewing your car alternator cost and performance alternator options if you are planning on adding a lot of electronic upgrades to your vehicle.
Taking the time to thoroughly research your upgrades will save you a lot of troubleshooting later on. You can use opportunities like ordering new brake pads to browse for the other upgrades on your long-term to-do list. Give it a try today.