Brake pad thickness (minimum, new and ideal thickness) (2023)

A solid set of brakes on your car is crucial to stopping before an accident occurs. To determine the integrity of the brake, the thickness of the pad is usually measured. If the brake pads become too thin, your safety on the road will suffer. That is why it is important to know the minimum thickness of the brake pads before changing them.

In this guide, we cover all the brake pad measurements you need to know. We will not only look at the thickness when the pads are new, but also what the minimum should be. Our article also covers optimal brake pad thickness and the laws surrounding it.

Before you ride, learn how to measure your brake pads, assess why some last longer, and how often to check them. Finally, your most important questions will be answered.

Index show

How thick do you have to change the brake pads?

Brake pads are considered moderately worn when they are 1/8 to 1/4 inch (4 to 6 millimeters) thick. As soon as the brake pads drop below this 2-3 millimeters (less than 1/8 inch), they should be replaced immediately.

However, your car is no longer safe to drive when the brake pads become so thin. You should stop driving until you install new brake pads.

If you continue to drive even with pads this thin, you risk ruining the rotors. Metal-to-metal contact can also produce a screeching noise that is hard to bear.


(Video) When to Change Brake Pads, Thickness Minimum and WHY

How thick do brake pads start at?

When you buy new brake pads, they can be about 1/2 inch (12 millimeters) thick. However, some cars have thinner brake pads at the rear, usually eight to ten millimeters thick.

Brake pads can maintain this thickness for quite some time. If you are careful how hard you brake and don't brake hard, it takes much longer for the pads to wear out.

Optimum thickness of brake pads

It is always better to have brake pads that are six millimeters or longer. Once they're below that point, they won't work as well. If you're short on cash, you might be able to get a little more life out of them, but you don't want to drag out the replacement for too long.

At the latest when the brake pads are three millimeters thick, you are in danger. Safety becomes an issue and additional damage to other components in the braking system may occur.

What is the legal minimum thickness of brake pads?

Respectivelyfederal government, the brake pads on the steer axle should never drop below 1.6 millimeters with hydraulic disc, drum or electric brakes. For air disc brakes, the specification is at least 3.2 millimeters.

What these measurements fail to take into account is that neither of these terms is ideal. The moment the brakes come loose, road safety is seriously compromised. Therefore, it is never advisable to wait that long before changing the brake pads.

SEE MORE INFORMATION:How often should you replace the brake pads? (5 signs of your time)

Do some brake pads last longer than others?

Brake pad thickness (minimum, new and ideal thickness) (1)

As with all auto parts, you have a variety of products to choose from. If you are on a budget, you can find cheap brake pads. On the other hand, if you are looking for a premium set of ear pads, they are also available. In almost all cases, you get what you pay for.

Cheap brake pads are made from cheap materials. They also don't dissipate thermal energy, so they don't last as long. On the downside, you pay more for performance brakes, but they handle heat better for slower wear and more stopping power.

These are the three main types of braces you might be looking for.

(Video) How to Measure your Brake Pad Thickness and Why it's Important

  • Organic: These cheap braces are pretty smooth. While they are the cheapest, they also wear out faster than any other type.
  • Semi-Metal: These brakes are stronger than the previous option since they are made of a more durable material. You get better braking performance and still pay a reasonable price.
  • Ceramics: They will handle heat better than organic and semi-metallic ones. The durable material offers the best heat resistance, but you pay a lot more for it.

The ideal is to choose ceramic brake pads if you want more efficiency. With these you may have to spend more to get a good pair of rotors too. However, not all cars benefit from modern brakes. For example, if you have a small hatchback, you probably don't need performance brakes.

SEE MORE INFORMATION:Ceramic brake pads vs. organic (which is better?)

In addition to the type, you can also be smart about which brand to choose. There's no reason to buy the most expensive brand if it's not what you need. There are many quality brake pads available at a reasonable price.

How often should I check the thickness of the brake pads?

Brake pad thickness (minimum, new and ideal thickness) (2)

Checking your brake pads should be part of your maintenanceto plan. Every time you take your vehicle in for a service, the technicians will likely check the brake pads each time. However, if you're doing all of this yourself, you may want to check your block thickness every 5,000 miles or twice a year.

Brake pads should last well over 5000 miles, but it's good to keep an eye on the thickness so you don't get caught off guard. Most brake pads are designed to last 25,000 to 75,000 miles. Rotors can usually last even longer if they are cared for properly.

In addition to regularly checking the pads, we also recommend taking a look if you notice any signs of wear. Some of the most common signs of brake pad wear are:

  • screeching noise when braking
  • Grinding when braking or driving
  • Greater stopping distances
  • pull to the sidewhen braking
  • The vibration comes from the brake pedal when it is depressed

If you check the brake pads after noticing these symptoms and can't find anything wrong, you may want to take the car to a shop. There may be a major problem in the brake system.

How to measure the thickness of the brake pad

If you want to know the thickness of your car's brake pads, you can measure them at home. On many cars, you can also check the brake pads without removing the wheels, depending on the car model and tire type. However, here's how to do it right. all you need is oneearth monkey, flashlight, tire wrench and brake gauge.

These are the steps to follow to check the thickness of the brake pads.

  1. Park on level ground and place wheel chocks behind the wheels that are on the ground.
  2. Use the jack to raise the side of the car where you will be checking the brake pads. You may be able to find good lifting points detailed in your service manual.
  3. Use your wheel wrench to loosen the wheel bolts. Remove them carefully and store them in a safe place.
  4. Remove the wheel from the car, exposing the brake disc and caliper.
  5. Look through the hole in the caliper. You should see inner or inner pad and outer or outer pad. If they are hard to see, use a flashlight.
  6. Use the brake caliper to measure the thickness of the pads. If you don't have such an indicator, you can also use a compass or calipers.
  7. Read the measurement of the tool. This shows the thickness of the block.
  8. Reinstall the wheel in the reverse order and slowly lower the vehicle to the ground.

If you are having trouble getting measurements or need further assistance, please contact your local repair shop. Many stores offer brake pad inspections at a reasonable price if you do the work yourself.

(Video) Brake Rotor Minimum Thickness Specification | Maintenance Minute

How to extend the life of brake pads

Brake pad life has a lot to do with your driving style. If you don't take your driving habits into account, you may be using more brakes than necessary.

So we've put together a few tips for you to consider.

  1. Slow down. When you drive at high speed, you need to press the pads even harder to make the car stop.
  2. cost as much as possible. Instead of speeding up and slowing down frequently, consider slowing down whenever possible.
  3. Drive with one foot. Don't keep your left foot on the brake. In this position, it is very easy to hit the brakes unconsciously.
  4. Keep distance. Don't follow the other cars too closely. By falling behind, you have more reaction time and have to brake less frequently.
  5. Eliminate excess weight. Take everything you don't need out of the car. Every extra pound is more work for the brakes when it's time to stop.

It is also important that you follow all brake maintenance schedules. Find out when the auto manufacturer recommends service and perform it.

frequent questions

Are 4mm brake pads ok?

As soon as the brake pads drop below four mm, they are considered a danger zone. At this point, it is best to change the brake pads to ensure your safety on the road. Anything less can cause wear on the rotors due to metal-to-metal contact.

How long do 3mm brake pads last?

Any decent mechanic will tell you to change the brake pads when they measure three millimeters. There is no need to see how long they can last because failure is always a possibility. To ensure maximum stopping power, it's best to change them now.

How thin is too thin when it comes to brake pads?

If the brake pads are less than six millimeters, they are considered half worn. You can get a little more life out of them, but the ideal is to change them before they are three millimeters thick. If they measure two or three millimeters, there is no more waiting.

(Video) Minimum wear specifications on brake pads | 4 Tips

How many mm are the bad brake pads?

If the brake pads are less than six millimeters, they are considered half worn. You can get a little more life out of them, but the ideal is to change them before they are three millimeters thick. If they measure two or three millimeters, there is no more waiting.

Can you measure the thickness of the brake pad without removing the wheel?

If you don't want to drag the wheels, you can look through the holes to check the thickness of the brake pads. While you can't measure them, you can get an idea of ​​how much is left. You can also look for a wear indicator on the side of the pad. If the rotor rattles or is broken, you may need new pads.

Conclusion: brake pad thickness

New brake pads have a thickness between 8 and 12 mm. At six millimeters, brake pads are considered acceptable. By the time the pads reach four to six millimeters, moderate wear has occurred and you should start considering replacement. Even two or three millimeters are dangerous.

Learning to measure your own brake pads will help you keep track of your maintenance. There's no reason to put yourself at risk if you know when it's time to install new pads.

Learn more:

  • Brake Pads and Rotors Replacement Cost (Full Brake Job Prices)


(Video) What Is The Minimum Brake Pad Thickness In PA?


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Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated: 05/08/2023

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