Five Things Every Driver Needs To Know About Brake Pads

Simple tips on extending their life span and when you should get them changed.

To put it simply, driving is a matter of stopping and going. That’s why brake pads, which induce the act of stopping, are one of your vehicle’s most important parts. Without a proper set, you could be at risk of an accident on the road. So it’s a good idea to understand how they work and when to replace them.


Tip 1. Realize they wear down with time

The first thing you should know is that it’s not in a brake pad’s nature to last forever; in order to stop your vehicle, they squeeze the brake rotors to create friction, meaning they receive a lot of wear and tear. How quickly they diminish is based on a number of factors, from the material they’re made of to how hard you push them while driving. As a result, it’s difficult to give them an average life span. But there are certain things you can do to help them last longer.


Tip 2. Avoid putting the pedal to the metal

Sharp braking or braking frequently at high speeds will quickly wear brake pads down. You can help change this by anticipating stops sooner and braking gradually. Even avoiding hilly roads and rough terrain can be beneficial to your brakes’ overall health. Also, the heavier a vehicle is, the harder it is on the brake pads, so carrying substantial cargo for long periods of time will require you to change your brake pads more frequently.


Tip 3. Listen for warning signs

Perhaps the most important thing to do is take heed of any warning signs that it might be time to replace your brake pads. The longer you wait, the less responsive they become, which will reduce their ability to do the one thing they are designed to do: stop your vehicle. Brakes are designed to begin making subtle when they need to be replaced. By the time you start hearing screeching and grinding noises (perhaps caused by the deteriorated pads rubbing against the rotors), some damage could have already occurred. If you push it beyond that stage, serious rotor deterioration could become an issue—an expensive fix.


Tip 4. Make sure those noises aren’t just normal

Importantly, hearing noises doesn’t always mean your brakes need replacing. Cold weather, for example, may cause them to screech the first couple times you apply the brake (the friction warms them quickly, so the sounds should disappear relatively soon). Even things like dust, sand and humidity can lead to various forms of clamor. The only way to truly tell is to get them checked by an expert. They can determine if it’s a normal noise or something more serious. Go to the Ford Service site to view service specials, locate a local dealer or even schedule an appointment.


Tip 5. Get them checked regularly by a service professional

A good rule of thumb is to have your brakes inspected every time you have your oil changed. With The Works Fuel Saver Package™, you can have them inspected and rated based on how close you are to needing replacements. If it is time for a change, Ford Dealer Service Centers offer deals for brake installation, including the recent Lifetime Brake Pad Guarantee* for eligible, recently purchased Motorcraft® brake pads. The importance of this will kick in later, when you have to make a sudden stop on the road. In those moments, effective brake pads can make all the difference.

*Eligible Motorcraft® brake pads purchased after July 1, 2014. Nontransferable. Requires completion of any other necessary brake service such as brake rotor service. Replacement Motorcraft brake pads must be installed by a Ford Dealership or Quick Lane® technician to be eligible. Labor costs not included. Restrictions and exclusions apply. See Service Advisor for details. Motorcraft® is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company.


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