How to Spot Brake Pad System Failures

How to Spot Brake Pad System Failures

Typically, the main culprit of friction material separation is corrosion. How do you spot it?

The other day, we had a 2016 KIA Soul in our Garage for a video shoot, and suddenly, the right rear wheel locked up solid. Upon further inspection, we saw that the brake pad’s friction material was worn down to four millimeters and was getting close to the wear sensors on both sides. And the inboard pad on the right side was missing half of the friction material. So, what caused this failure?

Well, corrosion was the culprit. In this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video, we talk about how to spot brake pad system failures before they happen.

In our Kia Soul example, corrosion was the reason for the brake pad friction material separation. But there are a lot of other reasons why brake pads could fail.

When a brake pad exceeds its temperature range, the resins and raw components can break down. This can change the coefficient of friction or even damage the chemical makeup and cohesion of the brake pad. If the friction material is bonded to the backing plate using only adhesive, the bond can be broken. Other times when brakes overheat, it is a seized caliper or a stuck parking brake that causes the brake pad to be toasted.

When the friction material separates from the backing plate, the relationship between the rotor, backing plate and caliper piston is changed. If the caliper is a two-piston floating design, the pad can become bent and sometimes cause a hydraulic failure.

It’s important that when you’re looking at a vehicle’s brake pads to not judge their condition by the look of just one pad. Both pads and their thickness need to be inspected and documented.

Increased brake pad wear is typically caused by the outer pad continuing to ride on the rotor after the caliper piston retracts. This could be caused by sticky guide pins or slides. If the brake caliper is an opposed-piston design, outer brake pad wear is an indication the outer pistons have seized.

Inboard brake pad wear is the most common brake pad wear pattern. More rapid inner pad wear can be caused by a seized caliper guide pin or slides. When this happens, the piston is not floating and equalizing force between the pads. That means the inner pad is doing all the work.

To correct this type of wear, inspect the hydraulic brake system and the caliper for residual pressure and damage to the guide pinhole or piston boot. If the pin holes or piston boots are corroded or damaged, they should be replaced.

Bottom line: Never take rust or corrosion lightly. Corrosion on the caliper and pads is an indication the coating, plating or paint has failed and needs to be addressed.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tire, service and shop operations videos.

You May Also Like

Does your shop need a marketing firm?

Hiring a marketing firm won’t automatically bring in more business – it can lose you money if you don’t take proper steps.

TR-Continental-marketing

Tire shop owners get into the auto repair business for two main reasons - a passion for working on cars and making a living doing what they love. But to work on cars, you need customers. That's where marketing comes in. Some shop owners don't have marketing expertise, so they hire a firm. However, hiring a marketing firm won't automatically bring in more business – it can lose you money if you don't take proper steps.

How to recommend LT tires to customers

The LT segment is complex, with different customer priorities and use cases to consider.

TR-Continental-LT-tires
How to avoid TPMS sensor signal transmission limitations

Focus on tool positioning, try not to block the signal, avoid RF clashing and double-check the make, model, year and frequency.

How AI is being used in your shop

AI has been around in the aftermarket for over 20 years, making life easier for techs and shop owners without ever threatening their jobs.

TR-Continental-AI
Three spark plug service and replacement tips

How to avoid and overcome roadblocks that may come up during the removal or installation of spark plugs.

Continental-sparkplug

Other Posts

Continental Tire introduces six new/refreshed tire products during 2024 GOLD dealer meeting

Company leadership also detailed updates to marketing/incentive programs.

Conti-welcome-logo-outside-1400
Michelin highlights sustainable milestones at Sonoma Raceway

We learn about sustainability strategies and new products, drive a Freightliner all-electric eCascadia Class 8 truck, and take a few hot laps around the track.

Michelin-Sustainability-Summit-1400
Continental Tire opens new Retread Solutions Center in South Carolina

The company hopes to uncover new improvements and technologies to innovate the retread process.

Continental Tire’s lessons learned from over 120 years of retreading

John Cox, head of retread truck tires Americas, discusses retread market trends in 2024 and the importance of tire dealers advising their fleet customers on the benefits of retreading.

WT-YT-Continental-Retread-1400