Uneven Wear Brake Pad: How and Why?August 15, 2021
Have you noticed that your brakes are making a weird sound? This could be due to uneven wearing on your brake pads. Another telltale sign is your steering wheel shaking. Let's see why this happens and what you can do to prevent uneven brake pad wear.
Why do my brakes wear unevenly
Brake pads are made of softer metal or alternative materials that are prone to uneven wearing. One of the most common causes of this issue is Disc Thickness Variation or DTV, where your brake rotors (discs) start wearing unevenly first and then affect the brake pads. This can happen because of accumulated dirt or rust on the rotors, causing the metal surface to be not smooth anymore. Sometimes mechanics can resurface the rotors to smooth them out and prevent further brake pad wear, but often the rotors just need to be replaced fully.
Another cause of uneven brake pad wear can come from another part of your system called the brake caliper. The brake caliper is responsible for actually pressing down the brake pad against the rotor when you are braking. This part can seize and apply the pressure even when you are not braking so you are effectively dragging your brake pad against the rotor continuously, grinding it down.
How to prevent uneven brake pad wear
Check your brake pads at every 50,000 miles or 80,000km. Check your brakes more often if you have a performance sports car, a big truck, if you drive aggressively, or if you have a lot of hills in your commute. Also watch out for warped rotors, which is a condition where your rotors aren't smooth anymore due to excessive heat, usually coming from the brake pads. This happens when you have cheap brake pads that can't keep up with constant braking or if you overuse your brakes. Some solutions are to watch out for your braking habits, invest in drilled or slotted rotors to help the heat escape, keep your brakes clean, or invest into more durable brake pads.