Did you know that brake pad manufacturers put a small piece of metal inside each pad, designed to give you an audible warning if the pad wears down too far? Your pads may also "talk" to you in other circumstances, and you should always be listening for a tell-tale message. What should you be aware of when you're out on the open road?
As brake pads are made from a composite friction material, they absorb a lot of heat and energy during deceleration. They are designed to wear down over time to generate the right level of performance during daily life.
In an ideal world, you should replace your brake pads before that piece of metal needs to send you a warning. After all, you should be taking the vehicle to a mechanic as specified in your owner manual to ensure that braking systems are always in first-class condition.
Assuming that the early warning system within the pad is still covered by friction materials and are not ready to send you a message, what else can cause a screeching or squealing noise? Unfortunately, the pads can overheat for several reasons, and as they do so, they may glaze over.
No Longer Effective
When a brake pad glazes over its surface becomes very smooth, and if you examine it, you may notice tiny crystals across the surface. In this condition, it won't be able to "grab" the disc surface as it once could. As it attempts to do so, it will bounce on and off very quickly at high speed, leading to that squealing or squeaking sound.
Sometimes, you may notice this sound even when your foot is off the brake pedal. This means that the brake pad is in constant touch with the disc and has not reset into the calliper. This could indicate a problem with the calliper, pistons or the hydraulic fluid, and it is certainly something you need to check as soon as possible.
Don't expect a glazed brake pad to perform as it should, and you may certainly encounter difficulties when trying to slow down. You may also notice a distinct vibration that translates all the way up to the steering wheel, and this is another sign of glazed-over pads.
Taking Urgent Action
When your pads get into this condition, they will need to be replaced as soon as possible. If you don't act quickly, you may have to replace the discs because they may be damaged as well. For more information, contact a brake repair service near you.