When is the appropriate time to replace the brakes on my car?

  • 2.5L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • 50,000 MILES
Sometimes when I press the brakes I feel as though the brake pads are grinding the discs. Is this a sign that my brakes needs to be replaced? I don't want to be in a predicament where I waited too long and increase my repair costs. Thank you.
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have the same problem?
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 AT 8:16 PM

1 Reply

A brake system inspection may be in order. Mileage is a poor indicator of when work is needed because the wear depends on driving style and the amount of city driving vs. Highway driving. You may just be hearing the pads running against some rust buildup on the rotors too. If the linings really are worn down, the rotors are usually in need of replacement too by that time. They are made very thin now to save weight, and there isn't much material to work with when machining them. There's a legal limit they can not be machined beyond, but the good news is replacement rotors are very inexpensive.

You may be able to get an idea of the front brake pad wear by looking at the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. As the pads wear down, the pistons work their way out of the calipers. That's the self-adjusting feature of all disc brakes. As that happens, brake fluid fills in behind the pistons so the level goes down in the reservoir. Professionals know to never fill the brake fluid during other routine services like oil changes because when the new pads are installed, the pistons have to be pushed back into the calipers, and that is going to push the brake fluid back up and it would overflow and make a mess.
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 AT 9:20 PM

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