5 signs that your brake pads need replacing

Friday 23rd, Oct. 2020

According to statistics from the Department for Transport, defective brake pads caused more accidents on our roads between 2017 and 2018 than any other kind of vehicle defect. Faulty brake pads can have fatal consequences, but they don’t happen overnight and the good news is that your car will warn you when the time to replace your brake pads is nearing.

Here are the 5 signs to look out for…

Indicator Lights

This isn’t the case with all vehicles, so check your owners manual to see if your car comes with a low-pad alert, if yours does and it has displayed then your brake pads need replacing as a matter of urgency. More modern cars will display an ABS (Antilock Braking System) light and a brake system working light to alert you of an error. If you’re seeing this light, and not just when your parking brake is not engaged, then this is the biggest indicator that your brake pads need replacing.

Brake Pad Measurements

You don’t have to be an expert to visually inspect your brake pads but you will need a measuring tape and to know what to look for. The brake pad can be seen through the spokes in your tyre, it will be compressed against the brake rotor. For proper functioning, the thickness of the brake pad needs to be a minimum of 6.4mm, even if it is just a fraction thinner than this it will need replacing.

Squealing or Squeaking

There is no need to panic just yet if you have heard this noise infrequently or just after heavy rainfall, however if you are hearing it whenever the brakes are engaged then it is a clear indicator that your brake pads need replacing. You will hear the brake pads squeal when they have been extremely worn down and are on their way to damaging the cars rotors.

Grinding Sound When Braking

A grinding noise when braking will come after the squeak, which means you have ignored a problem for longer than you should and that your pads need replacing now. If you leave your brake pads to continue squeaking and grinding then you could be facing much higher repair costs than previously. At the worst-case scenario, you could now be responsible for a traffic collision.


If you’re losing braking performance then this is a major sign that your brake pads need to be replaced. There are a number of factors as to why braking times vary, such as; road conditions, vehicle weight and speed but you know your car and what is starting to feel less than ideal. If it is now taking your car longer to stop, or you’re unable to perform an ideal emergency stop then this is a sure sign that you need to replace your brake pads.

FirstLink Auto Part Services

If you’re unsure of what brake pads you need, or just where to start then we are the experts, our company was established in 1990 and has stood the test of time. We offer free expert technical advice through our extensively knowledgeable staff who can be contacted over the phone, email or through our online enquiry form.


5 signs that your brake pads need replacing