How To Check Your Brake Pads, Discs And Calipers

You need to make sure that you’re checking your disc brakes and brake pads at least every 10,000 miles or if your brakes suddenly start to squeal or pull to one side.

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You need to make sure that you’re checking your disc brakes and brake pads at least every 10,000 miles or if your brakes suddenly start to squeal or pull to one side. If a component in your braking system is faulty then it can cause complete brake failure, which could be very dangerous. By having regular vehicle maintenance checks it will keep the car in good working order and will prevent lives being put at risk.


Important Brake System Terminology

To understand the role of the brake pads, how they function and how to check them, car owners must first be familiar with a few key terms.

Brake Pad

When compressed against the disk brakes, brake pads provide the friction that is necessary to stop a moving car.

Disc Brakes

The disc brakes are discs that rotate along with the wheels. When acted upon by the brake pads, they force the car wheels to stop moving.


A caliper is the metal clamp that squeezes the brake pad against the discs, slowing and stopping the rotation of the wheels.

Brake Inspection

Inspecting your brake pad:

When inspecting your brake pads follow the surface of the disc to the top, you'll be able to see the outside pad touching the disc. If there is 1/8" (size of two pennies stacked) or less remaining on the pad then it’s time to replace them for new ones. Brake pads are relatively cheap to buy and easy to replace.

Inspecting your disc brakes:

The disc should be shiny from the inside to the outer edge. If you can see slight lines in the disc then not to worry as this is normal wear. You need to look out for things such as rough spots or pronounced grooves in the disc, if you do have this type of wear on your disc then you need to replace them.

How to tell if your brake calipers are faulty:

The brake calipers are the main components which hold the brake pads together. When the brake pedal is pushed down, the brake fluid pressurises against the cylinder inside of the brake caliper. The cylinder then pushes together the inner and outer brake pads to the flat surface of the brake discs to stop the vehicle. When the brake calipers are damaged, the cylinder inside of the brake caliper will not be able to push the brake pads to the brake discs and the vehicle will not be able to stop.

Don't risk it, your brakes are paramount to your safety. Get a Free Brake Check at Protyre

Brakes can be the difference between life and death. If you have any concerns about yours check them out yourself or take them to your local specialist to be seen.

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About the author

Dean Richardson

Dean is a Regional Director for Protyre who is also responsible for the running of our Protech Academy. The Protech Academy is a centre of excellence where the Protyre team learn the latest mechanical knowledge and skills, gain qualifications and develop their expertise to share with our customers at their local garage. The Academy is also designed to help us stay ahead of the ever changing automotive market by ensuring we have the best skills available to deal with advanced driver assist systems, hybrid/ electric vehicles in addition to all the new technology finding their way into our vehicles. During Dean's career he has worked for some of the biggest names in the fast-fit and mechanical aftermarket and as the man responsible for developing our people and their mechanical skills he is ideally suited to help provide advice in the latest in car technology and ongoing maintenance of your vehicle no matter how new or old it maybe.

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