So you’re out for a drive when you start to hear a squeaky noise every time you step on the breaks. Panic sets in; you don’t have the time or the money to deal with expensive auto repairs right now. But don’t fret, that sound you’re hearing is probably just your brake pads telling you they need to be changed, which is a routine, affordable and essential component of proper auto repair and maintenance.
A good set of brake pads will give you years of dependable service. While their lifespan varies considerably, most pads last for somewhere between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. Most of them are embedded with wear indicators, usually metal shims, that go into action once the pad wears down to minimal width. The indicators scratch against the rotors, causing that squeak and, eventually, damaging them to the point where if you wait too long, you’ll need to replace them too, which means more money out of your pocket.
Note that not all brake noise means your pads are on their way out. City driving, harsh desert climates, beaches, or other dusty and sandy environments and even water and humidity can harden brake pads. Those “glazed” pads create friction that in turn causes noise. But more often than not, squeaky brakes mean your pads need replacement.
So ignore that squeaky noise at your own peril. The thing about brake pads is that spending a little bit of money when they wear down to a certain point will save you a lot of money in the long run. When in doubt, have them checked out. Your certified auto repair specialist speaks brake squeak and can tell you what that sound is saying, and provide you with top quality, durable and safe brake pads to help keep your vehicle performing its best for years down the road.