Brake pads have a lifespan generally estimated between 30,000 and 45,000 km. The range is wide, because the longevity of your pads will greatly depend on your driving style or whether you are more of a city or road driver.
Visual inspection of your brake pads
A first simple check to perform is to visually inspect the thickness of your brake pads. If the lining is very thin, less than 3mm in practice, it is high time to make an appointment with the mechanic. You can of course continue to drive, but be aware that the effectiveness of your braking system may no longer be optimal, or even dangerous if your pads are reduced to their simplest form.
Indicator on the dashboard
If you are not a mechanic, the easiest way to know if you need to change your brake pads is to wait patiently for the corresponding lights to come on on the dashboard. This means that the wear indicator incorporated in your pads is now in contact with your brake discs, which causes the warning light to come on on the dashboard and means that it is high time to change your pads.
The “sound” inspection
If your brake pads make a squealing, metallic sound when braking, it means they are dying. You have almost no more brake lining, the metal of the pads rubs directly on the brake disc. There is no more time to lose, it is imperative to change your brake pads as soon as possible. In addition, the risk of having damaged your brake discs is not negligible either, it is also advisable to ensure that they are in good condition and to change them if necessary.
How to change brake pads?
The safest way is to take your vehicle to your dealer. Changing the pads is not a trivial operation and may prove to be more complex than expected. Choosing the original brake pads, disassembly-reassembly operation, resetting the indicator on the dashboard which may require specific equipment are all steps that it would be safer to entrust to the good care of your car manufacturer.
Furthermore, the operation of replacing the brake pads leads to checking other elements of the braking system: checking the brake discs as we have seen, but also the brake fluid, the fluid line hoses , control of the rear pads or drums, as well as the handbrake. The braking system is a critical part of the car, if you do not have sufficient knowledge and mechanical skills to replace them, it is imperative to entrust this delicate operation to professionals, whether it is your car dealer or a experienced mechanic.
Last point to consider: in the same way as the tire assembly, the change of pads is always done on the 2 sides of the train concerned.