Informational Guide

How To Check Brake Pads

All brake pads eventually wear down, which is why it’s good to know how to check brake pads & the tell-tale signs for replacing.

You want to be safe when driving down the road, which is why you need the best brake pads. However, even the best pads will eventually wear down, which is why you must know how to check brake pads. In this article, we will discuss how to check your brake pads and teach you how often to check brake pads.

The only part of the vehicle that stops you is the braking system. This system is comprised of many parts, including the brake pads and brake calipers.

When one part starts to fail, your stopping power is diminished, which puts you and other people on the road at risk.

How long do brake pads last? It depends on your vehicle and the type of brakes, which is why it’s important to know how to check your brake pads.

How To Check Brake Pads: The Easy Way

If you want to know how to check brake pad thickness, you will want to have the following equipment on hand.

  • Flashlight
  • Impact gun to remove the wheels
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands

Without Removing Wheels

You can learn how to check brake pads without removing the tire. This is the easiest method if you are on the go and don’t have a lot of tools with you. Follow these steps when you want to know how to check brake pads without removing a wheel.

  1. 1
    Look through the holes where the pads and caliper are.
  2. 2
    Shine your flashlight through the hole.
  3. 3
    If the pads are 80% worn, it’s time to change them.

However, the best way to learn both how to check rear brake pads and how to check front brake pads is to remove the wheels for a closer inspection.

With Wheels Removed

You can start by learning how to check brake pads with the wheel on, but if you are unable to see them, you will want to do a closer inspection with the wheels off. Here are the steps you should follow if you want to know how to check the brake pad thickness accurately.

  1. 1
    Park your vehicle on a level surface and turn it off.
  2. 2
    Use a floor jack and jack stands to lift and secure your vehicle.
  3. 3
    Remove the wheel with your impact gun
  4. 4
    Perform a visual inspection of the brake pad thickness. In some cases, you might also need to remove the caliper to get to the brake pads.
How To Check Brake Pads

How to Tell If Your Car Needs New Brake Pads

You may be asking how to check my brake pads if you notice any of these symptoms.

  • The Car Is Pulling To One Side 
    If the vehicle begins pulling to one side, it could be due to a worn pad or another brake issue. If the pads are wearing, it could be that one is wearing unevenly.
  • Brake Pads Are Visibly Thin 
    When you learn how to check for worn brake pads, you will be able to tell when the material is too thin. It should never be less than ¼-inch thick. If it is, you must get the brakes replaced immediately.
  • Excessive Amounts Of Brake Dust 
    Brake dust comes from the pads and rotors as wear occurs. If you are noticing an excessive amount of dust on the wheels, you might need new pads.
  • Screeching Noise 
    You might hear small sounds while braking, which can be normal. However, if you start to hear a high-pitched screeching sound, it’s time to learn how to check disc brake pad wear.
  • Grinding Noise 
    Continuing to drive after you hear that screeching will only eventually cause a grinding sound. This means the metal is touching metal and indicates that you have no brake pad material left. Don’t wait another minute to learn how to check brake pads on a car.

Causes of Uneven Brake Pad Wear: One Side Thicker

As you learn how to check if brake pads are worn, you might notice one is thicker than the other. Here are some common causes for this condition.

Rotor Thickness Variation

If the rotors contain a different thickness, the brake pads could wear unevenly. If you are learning how to check if you need new brake pads, it also helps to examine the rotors.

Sticky Caliper Pistons

If debris gets on the pistons, the calipers could start sticking. When the caliper can’t slide normally, it makes constant contact with the brake pad, causing wear on that side alone.


The brake pads must be aligned in the bracket properly to function. If they are misaligned, you will notice uneven wear and possible trouble while braking.

Dirty or Rusty Rotors

Rotors that are dirty can lead to uneven wear because of the contaminants. This can even happen when they are new due to the grease and dirt from where they were stored.

Warped Rotors

When the surface of the rotor isn’t completely smoothed, it’s referred to as warped. This often occurs because of cold water making contact with the hot rotor, such as when you wash your car after driving for extended periods of time.

Causes Of Uneven Brake Pad Wear

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How can you check Prius brake pads?

If you want to know how to check Prius brake pads, simply get a flashlight. You can figure out how to check the brake pad's thickness without removing the wheel when you shine your flashlight through the spokes.

How can you check bike brake pads?

Learning how to check bike brake pads isn’t much different from a car. Simply examine the pad thickness to determine if you need to replace them.

How can you check drum brake pads?

Learning how to check drum brake pads requires you to follow these simple steps. Remove the drums. Next, check the wheel cylinders and linings, plus you want to inspect the brake shoes. After this, you can measure the brake drum to determine if you need a replacement.

How can you check BMW brake pads?

Figuring how to check BMW brake pads requires you to follow the same steps as other vehicles. You can either opt to learn how to check car brake pads without removing the wheel or opt to take it off for a closer inspection.

How often should I check my brakes?

You should check the brake pads every time the wheels are aligned or at least every six months. Aside from this regular inspection, check the brake pads if you notice any signs of wear.


If you’ve wondered how to check if my brake pads are worn, our guide should have helped you find the appropriate steps. By taking care of your car brakes, you ensure a safe ride.