Is the tread depth in your tyres nearing the legal limit? Well, it has not reached the limit yet, they will survive one more season…Is your mechanic indicating excessive play in shock absorbers? Well, I can still drive with them a little longer…
Many people, for various reasons, tend to severely procrastinate when it comes to replacing parts in their cars. However, there comes a time when further delay not only causes permanent damage to the car, but also poses risk to the safety of the driver and other road users. Brake pads are an excellent case in point.
Very often putting off part replacement is based on false economy. When we postpone the expenditure by a month or a quarter and finally visit the service station, the cost of repair turns out to be much higher than it would have been, had we visited the garage immediately after we had noticed the first warning signs.
“Excessive brake pad wear leads to complete removal of the friction material mixture. As a result, a part of the brake pad made of metal – the backing pad – starts to rub against the brake disc, causing its premature failure. Consequently, during inspection we will need to have both brake pads and brake discs replaced, making the repair much more expensive”, explains Maciej Młodzikowski, R&D expert at Lumag, the company who manufactures BRECK brake pads.
Delaying brake pad replacement also makes them more susceptible to weather conditions. High humidity, temperature fluctuations and road salt are conducive to corrosion, and, consequently, precipitate brake pad degradation. Every minute crack can be later filled with condensation and lead to premature part failure.
At the same time, financial considerations should not overshadow safety. Wearing the friction material down to a layer less than 3 mm thin directly translates into a dramatic drop in braking efficiency. As a result, during emergency braking, the stopping distance may prove to be too long to bring the vehicle to a halt safely.
Maciej Młodzikowski adds: “Economizing on safety is simply not worth it. Putting off brake pad replacement can generate much higher costs – not only financial. In extreme cases, where worn brake pads are coupled with excessively worn disc, the brake pad may slide out of the brake calliper and fly out of the vehicle. This obviously makes it completely impossible to stop the vehicle. It is easy to imagine the consequences”.
That is why drivers, if possible, should regularly check the condition of brake pads, for example during seasonal tyre change. Verifying the condition of critical braking system components will help us not only to avoid excessive repair costs in the future but will also significantly increase our safety on the road.