The pad falling out can be dangerous, especially while driving. It’s also a sign that you have brake pad issues which you need to diagnose and get fixed asap.
To fix the issue, it’s important to understand the conditions leading to the problem and how to avoid them.
Common Signs of Brake Pad Problems
The brake pad usually plays a significant role in your car’s braking system. They assist your vehicle to stop when needed and ensure your safety while driving.
When a brake pad falls, it’s a significant inconvenience and severe risk that requires immediate attention. The common saying that ‘prevention is better than cure’ is essential here.
If you need to help prevent such issues, it’s essential to understand why brake pads fall off and how you can fix the problem if it happens.
In other words, recognizing the signs of potential brake pad issues can help you prevent them from falling off and causing potential danger.
Here are the major symptoms you need to watch out for:
1. Unusual Noises
Unusual noise is one of the first indications of something is wrong with your brake pads. This can include constant squeaking or grinding noises.
When your brakes start grinding (squeaking) noises, it usually signals that the brake pads have worn out below their safety standards.
You must, therefore, replace them as soon as possible. Or else your car won’t stop promptly when you step on the brake pedal. If you ignore the grinding noise, you risk causing severe damage to your car’s rotors, which are expensive to repair.
Squeaky brakes could happen during rain or snow events. It could also be an indication that your brake pads are worn down. It can also occur because dirt particles accumulate in your brake system, or surface rust forming in your rotors.
Severely worn brake pads can corrode and grind against your rotors. This can cause a major problem to the car’s brake system if you don’t fix the issue immediately.
When your brake pads begin corroding on your rotors, it can cause damage to the calipers and the rotors. It can eventually make your brakes fail to work and unable to stop your car.
How to fix:
- Put some grease or other lubricant on the brake pads. You can do this by taking the brake pads out from the calipers and then spreading the lubricant to the back of the brake pad.
- You can install brake pad shims on the brake pads to prevent brake noise.
- Replace the brake pads and rotors to ensure safety on the road.
- You can fix this problem by yourself through the help of the car’s manual book.
- But you’ll need to have some common tools like a floor jack and wheel chocks, lug nut wrench, socket and ratchet set, brake caliper piston tool, flat screwdriver, new brake pads and rotors, silicone-based brake lubricant, brake cleaner spray, eye protection device, and gloves.
- Changing your worn brake pads is a pretty straightforward task and a great way to save on cost.
- You can learn how to change your brake pads and rotors in your car’s manual guide.
2. Poor Brake Performance
Worn brake pads are the key cause making your vehicle take much longer than normal to stop when you step on the brake pedal.
When a vehicle’s brake pads are worn down, they are unable to put adequate pressure on the rotors to swiftly stop the wheels from moving.
This can be extremely risky in situations where you expect your car to stop immediately to prevent it from hitting a person or causing an accident.
If the brake pads are worn, it’ll take a longer distance for the vehicle to stop. This is because the metal against metal is not creating the right amount of friction to stop your car. That explains why changing the brake pads is important as soon as possible.
However, loss of hydraulic brake fluid pressure could also reduce your car’s ability to stop quickly.
How to fix:
- You’ll need to contact a certified brake specialist to get your brakes inspected to rule out any contamination from a leaking hydraulic line.
- The professional would help inspect the condition of your brake system, check for any leaks, and refill the reservoir with brake fluid.
3. Indicator Light warning
Tesla cars are equipped with brake warning lights alerting you whenever the braking system experiences some problems.
When a red warning light indicates on your dashboard console, it alerts you that the brake pads are worn and it’s time to replace them.
Driving with worn brake pads puts you in a dangerous situation and causes unnecessary damage to the rotor discs.
The warning light could also indicate that a component of your vehicle isn’t functioning properly.
This could mean that your brake fluid could be too low. It could also imply that there could be air bubbles in the brake system or your brake fluid has become contaminated.
It could also mean that there could be a leak in the brake calipers or the fluid hoses. It could also signal low voltage battery problems.
How to fix:
- You’ll need to contact an automobile service technician to check out your car and rectify problems noticed.
- Using professional diagnostic tools, the mechanic can check every component of a car’s engine control unit and identify unseen problems.
- It’s one of the most effective approaches to maintain your car and keep it in good condition.
- Diagnosing problems before they become more critical and expensive obstacles will keep your vehicle and bank balance in good health.
4. Your car vibrates when braking
As highlighted above, extremely worn brake pads can start grinding on the rotors in different spots.
In such a situation, you’ll see the rotors become thinner in some spots than others. This will eventually start causing the brakes to shake (vibrate) when you step on the brake pedal.
When this happens, it means you have to replace the brake pad and the rotor discs. If you don’t replace these components as soon as possible, your braking system will start experiencing major problems and could eventually stop working.
The vibration noise is an indication that you need to replace your brake pads and rotors. Damaged or warped brake rotors can also cause the vibration.
Over time, brake rotors will become damaged, warped, or worn down, which can cause them to shake and vibrate when you apply the brakes.
How to fix:
- Vibrating or shaking a car is a sign that you need to replace your brake pads and rotors.
- You’ll, therefore, need to contact a trained mechanic to replace your brake pads and rotor discs.
- The expert will also check the health of the entire braking system.
- The diagnosis will help determine what is causing your car to shake while you’re out on the road.
5. Visual Inspection
Owner neglect is another major common cause of brake failure. Just like several other components of a vehicle, brakes have a limited lifespan and should be occasionally inspected for wear.
While Tesla’s brake shoes and pads last longer, they are likely to wear out with time. Over time, brake pads can wear out and become thin, which can cause the car to vibrate when braking.
How to fix:
- Inspecting your brake pads and rotors should be part of regular maintenance.
- You can visually inspect the brake pads through the wheels to determine if worn-out or damaged brake pads cause the shaking and other problems.
- Remove the wheels to better see the brake pads and conduct a more thorough inspection.
- Raise and support the vehicle to remove the wheel.
- Look through the caliper and inspect the outboard and inboard pads.
- If the pad material is too thin (less than ¼ inch) or worn, you need to replace the brake pads.
- Inspect the brake rotors for surface damages. If any rotor is not smooth, you need to replace it with a new one.
- Always replace the brake rotors when replacing the pads.
- Conduct the brake inspection at other wheels.
- Carryout such assessments regularly.
My Final Thoughts
The issue of brake pad falling off should not be taken lightly. It’s an event that can cause serious risks to your safety on the road.
As a responsible car owner, you are expected to understand the function of brake pads, know the potential causes and symptoms of the problem, and learn about possible fixes.
Preventing your brake pads from falling off should be part of your priority to ensure the safety of your car. Learning key tips to keep your brake pads in good condition is essential.
Regular inspections of your brakes at least once a year is necessary. It’s appropriate to invest in high-quality brake pads to prevent several problems. Ensure that brake pads, the caliper bracket, and other hardware are properly installed and in top condition.
Also you need to pay attention to the sound your vehicle is producing. If you hear a strange sound or noise when braking, inspect your brakes as quickly as possible.
Regular professional maintenance is essential. In case of suspicion of any problem, reach out to a professional mechanic to ensure all parts of your braking system are working together as they should.