Automotive brake technicians gauge the lifespan of brake pads by measuring the thickness of the pad material. Most pads begin with 5 to 7 mm of pad and require replacement when they fall below 3 mm. You don't need factory training in order to check the thickness of the brake pads on your vehicle. Even if you never plan on performing a brake job, it is good to know how to check the thickness of brake pads so you have a better understanding when speaking with a mechanic. Anyone with minimal mechanical aptitude can do this.
Things You'll Need
- Lug wrench (optional)
- Jack (optional)
- Jack stand (optional)
- Thin, metal ruler that measures in millimeters
- Tire tread depth gauge
Access the brake pad by either looking through your wheel or removing the wheel from the vehicle if it does not provide enough clearance to properly see the pads. Remove the wheel by loosening the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Lift the vehicle with the floor jack and support it on the jack stand before taking the lug nuts and wheel off by hand.
Hold the thin metal ruler or the tire tread depth gauge against the side of the brake pad and note the thickness. Make sure to measure only the pad and not the steel backing plate.
Repeat step two in two other places on the brake pad to make sure you have an accurate measurement. Some pads have beveled leading and trailing edges, which can give a false sense of the pad's true thickness.
Average Life Span of Car Brakes
The brakes in a car are designed to slow down and stop the wheels by using friction that is applied by the...
How to Inspect a Brake Pad Before Installation
Some vehicles with disc brakes have wide-open rims and easily accessible and visual calipers to allow you to look in at the...
How to Measure Brake Shoes
As brake shoes wear down from use, the hydraulic wheel cylinder has to push its pistons out farther in order for the...
How to Measure Brake Pads
Brake pad linings wear down with each depression of the brake pedal. Unattended lining wear leaves the metal parts beneath to rub...
How to Check Brake Pad
Brake pad wear can be very dangerous to you if undetected. Your car may begin to drift to one side when braking...
Toyota Brake Thickness Specifications
One of the frustrating things about relying on professional mechanics is the potential misrepresentation of necessary repairs. Knowing how to measure and...
S-10 Front Brake Rotor Specifications
When performing a brake job on a Chevrolet S10, the brake rotors are commonly overlooked. Brake rotors do wear out over time,...
When Should I Replace My Brake Pads?
Learn how to know when to replace your cars break pads with expert car tips in this free online automotive repair video...
How to Check Your Brake Pads
Checking your brake pads regularly can prevent serious accidents. Check your brake pads with the advice of an automotive expert in this...