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Brake Pad Trouble Tracers

Pad Contamination

trouble-tracers-pads-padcontamination
APPEARANCE

Friction material is contaminated with either oil, grease or brake fluid

CAUSE

Spillage during maintenance, or fluid that has leaked from the caliper

EFFECT
  • The vehicle pulls to one side during braking
  • Reduction in braking performance
REMEDY
  • Identify and repair cause of contamination
  • Replace the brake pad set

Glazing

trouble-tracers-pads-glazing
APPEARANCE

The brake pad friction material is glazed

CAUSE
  • High intermittent pad temperature over short time periods
  • Overly harsh braking during the bedding-in period
EFFECT

Temporary reductions in brake performance

REMEDY
  • If light glazing is evident, no action is required
  • If heavy glazing is evident, replace brake pad set
  • Check the rotor condition

Uneven Wear - Wear Lip

trouble-tracers-pads-uneven-wear
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear on the pad surface

CAUSE

An irregularly worn rotor or "wear lip" on the rotor will cause this pattern of wear on the brake pad

EFFECT
  • Squeal and judder
  • Premature pad wear
REMEDY

Replace brake rotors and pads

Back Plate Damage

trouble-tracers-pads-blackplate
APPEARANCE

Damaged back plate

CAUSE

Incorrect assembly, or excessive force used during fitting

EFFECT
  • Braking efficiency
  • Irregular pad wear
  • Noise & judder
REMEDY

Replace the brake pad set

Uneven Wear Within A Set

trouble-tracers-pads-uneven-wear-withinset
APPEARANCE

One or more brake pads within an axle set is excessively worn

CAUSE

Caliper guide pins or piston is sticking

EFFECT
  • Brake pulls to one side
  • Uneven & overly rapid pad wear
REMEDY
  • Maintain all caliper slides and pistons
  • Replace pads and check replace discs if necessary

Rusty Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-rustypads
APPEARANCE

Rust between the friction material and back plate

CAUSE

A brake pad sticking in the caliper bracket when braking flexes the back plate, cracking the friction material. Corrosion worsens this, separating the friction material and back plate.

EFFECT
  • Noise and soft pedal feel
  • Once material has separated, brakes will not work
REMEDY
  • Replace brake pad set
  • Clean and maintain caliper to ensure the pad fits freely into the caliper during installation

Tapered Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-taperedpads
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear or tapered pads

CAUSE
  • Caliper is distorted and the caliper slides are sticking
  • Excessive caliper clearance
EFFECT
  • Premature pad wear and noise while braking
  • Uneven braking pressure
REMEDY

Replace pad set and maintain & service caliper
Note: Some vehicles use pads that are tapered by design. Refer to vehicle application to determine if they are outside normal degree of taper.

Incorrect Pad Fitting

trouble-tracers-pads-incorrectpadfitting
APPEARANCE

Damaged pads

CAUSE
  • These "handed" pads are not identical to each other within the set, and need to be fitted to either the inner or outer side of the caliper
  • When fitted incorrectly, the pads will be damaged
EFFECT
  • Damaged pads
  • Reduced brake performance
REMEDY

Replace pad set to manufacturer's instructions as per the inserted diagram

Uneven Wear - Disc Scoring

trouble-tracers-pads-uneven-wear-discscoring
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear pattern on the pad

CAUSE
  • Incomplete contact between brake pad and rotor
  • Rotor scoring due to dust or excessive wear
  • New pads fitted to a worn rotor may also cause this
EFFECT
  • Squeal and judder
  • Braking efficiency
REMEDY

Replace both brake pads and rotors

Denaturing

trouble-tracers-pads-denaturing
APPEARANCE

Partially charred or burnt friction material (will show whitish outer edges)

CAUSE

Prolonged excessive pad temperature due to intensive use or dragging of the brake pad on the rotor

EFFECT
  • Reduction in initial brake efficiency
  • Excessive material deterioration and abnormal wear
  • Material becomes brittle, chips and cracks
REMEDY
  • Investigate cause for overheating of brake pad
  • If damage is not excessive, pads will be effective under normal use
  • If the damage is extensive replace brake pad set

Cracked Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-crackedpads
APPEARANCE

Small cracks in the centre of the pad

CAUSE

The cracks indicate that the caliper is sticking. The piston bends the back plate causing the back plate to flex, cracking the friction material.

EFFECT
  • Noise while braking
  • Uneven pad wear
  • Vehicle pulling to one side during braking
  • Overheating on one side of the vehicle
REMEDY
  • Maintain and service the caliper
  • Replace the brake pad set

Edge Crumbling

trouble-tracers-pads-edgecrumbling
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear pattern on the pad

CAUSE

Brake pad is sticking within the caliper causing the brake pad to stay in contact with the rotor with associated excessive pad temperature

EFFECT

Pad surface may glaze reducing brake performance

REMEDY
  • Investigate cause of caliper sticking
  • Maintain the caliper
  • Replace the brake pad set

Worn Out Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-wornoutpads
APPEARANCE

Friction material is completely worn out

CAUSE

There has been no regular check of pad wear or proper brake maintenance

EFFECT
  • Vehicle pulls to one side during braking
  • Damage to the disc
  • High squeal and other brake noise
REMEDY
  • Check the disc for damage
  • Replace pad set and the rotor if it has suffered damage

METAL PICK UP / RESIDUE

trouble-tracers-pads-metalpickup
APPEARANCE

Metal pick-up (or ingrained metal) on the friction surface

CAUSE

During normal braking small particles of the rotor surface break off. Typically these are burnt off by the intense heat as dust. During extremely wet conditions these are quenched, cooled fast to solid material, and adhere to the brake pad surface.

EFFECT

This generally has no detrimental effect on braking performance, however in extreme cases, it can cause disc damage or brake squeal

REMEDY

In extreme cases, replace discs and pads

Pad Contamination

trouble-tracers-pads-padcontamination
APPEARANCE

Friction material is contaminated with either oil, grease or brake fluid

CAUSE

Spillage during maintenance, or fluid that has leaked from the caliper

EFFECT
  • The vehicle pulls to one side during braking
  • Reduction in braking performance
REMEDY
  • Identify and repair cause of contamination
  • Replace the brake pad set

Glazing

trouble-tracers-pads-glazing
APPEARANCE

The brake pad friction material is glazed

CAUSE
  • High intermittent pad temperature over short time periods
  • Overly harsh braking during the bedding-in period
EFFECT

Temporary reductions in brake performance

REMEDY
  • If light glazing is evident, no action is required
  • If heavy glazing is evident, replace brake pad set
  • Check the rotor condition

Uneven Wear - Wear Lip

trouble-tracers-pads-uneven-wear
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear on the pad surface

CAUSE

An irregularly worn rotor or "wear lip" on the rotor will cause this pattern of wear on the brake pad

EFFECT
  • Squeal and judder
  • Premature pad wear
REMEDY

Replace brake rotors and pads

Back Plate Damage

trouble-tracers-pads-blackplate
APPEARANCE

Damaged back plate

CAUSE

Incorrect assembly, or excessive force used during fitting

EFFECT
  • Braking efficiency
  • Irregular pad wear
  • Noise & judder
REMEDY

Replace the brake pad set

Uneven Wear Within A Set

trouble-tracers-pads-uneven-wear-withinset
APPEARANCE

One or more brake pads within an axle set is excessively worn

CAUSE

Caliper guide pins or piston is sticking

EFFECT
  • Brake pulls to one side
  • Uneven & overly rapid pad wear
REMEDY
  • Maintain all caliper slides and pistons
  • Replace pads and check replace discs if necessary

Rusty Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-rustypads
APPEARANCE

Rust between the friction material and back plate

CAUSE

A brake pad sticking in the caliper bracket when braking flexes the back plate, cracking the friction material. Corrosion worsens this, separating the friction material and back plate.

EFFECT
  • Noise and soft pedal feel
  • Once material has separated, brakes will not work
REMEDY
  • Replace brake pad set
  • Clean and maintain caliper to ensure the pad fits freely into the caliper during installation

Tapered Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-taperedpads
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear or tapered pads

CAUSE
  • Caliper is distorted and the caliper slides are sticking
  • Excessive caliper clearance
EFFECT
  • Premature pad wear and noise while braking
  • Uneven braking pressure
REMEDY

Replace pad set and maintain & service caliper
Note: Some vehicles use pads that are tapered by design. Refer to vehicle application to determine if they are outside normal degree of taper.

Incorrect Pad Fitting

trouble-tracers-pads-incorrectpadfitting
APPEARANCE

Damaged pads

CAUSE
  • These "handed" pads are not identical to each other within the set, and need to be fitted to either the inner or outer side of the caliper
  • When fitted incorrectly, the pads will be damaged
EFFECT
  • Damaged pads
  • Reduced brake performance
REMEDY

Replace pad set to manufacturer's instructions as per the inserted diagram

Uneven Wear - Disc Scoring

trouble-tracers-pads-uneven-wear-discscoring
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear pattern on the pad

CAUSE
  • Incomplete contact between brake pad and rotor
  • Rotor scoring due to dust or excessive wear
  • New pads fitted to a worn rotor may also cause this
EFFECT
  • Squeal and judder
  • Braking efficiency
REMEDY

Replace both brake pads and rotors

Denaturing

trouble-tracers-pads-denaturing
APPEARANCE

Partially charred or burnt friction material (will show whitish outer edges)

CAUSE

Prolonged excessive pad temperature due to intensive use or dragging of the brake pad on the rotor

EFFECT
  • Reduction in initial brake efficiency
  • Excessive material deterioration and abnormal wear
  • Material becomes brittle, chips and cracks
REMEDY
  • Investigate cause for overheating of brake pad
  • If damage is not excessive, pads will be effective under normal use
  • If the damage is extensive replace brake pad set

Cracked Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-crackedpads
APPEARANCE

Small cracks in the centre of the pad

CAUSE

The cracks indicate that the caliper is sticking. The piston bends the back plate causing the back plate to flex, cracking the friction material.

EFFECT
  • Noise while braking
  • Uneven pad wear
  • Vehicle pulling to one side during braking
  • Overheating on one side of the vehicle
REMEDY
  • Maintain and service the caliper
  • Replace the brake pad set

Edge Crumbling

trouble-tracers-pads-edgecrumbling
APPEARANCE

Uneven wear pattern on the pad

CAUSE

Brake pad is sticking within the caliper causing the brake pad to stay in contact with the rotor with associated excessive pad temperature

EFFECT

Pad surface may glaze reducing brake performance

REMEDY
  • Investigate cause of caliper sticking
  • Maintain the caliper
  • Replace the brake pad set

Worn Out Pads

trouble-tracers-pads-wornoutpads
APPEARANCE

Friction material is completely worn out

CAUSE

There has been no regular check of pad wear or proper brake maintenance

EFFECT
  • Vehicle pulls to one side during braking
  • Damage to the disc
  • High squeal and other brake noise
REMEDY
  • Check the disc for damage
  • Replace pad set and the rotor if it has suffered damage

METAL PICK UP / RESIDUE

trouble-tracers-pads-metalpickup
APPEARANCE

Metal pick-up (or ingrained metal) on the friction surface

CAUSE

During normal braking small particles of the rotor surface break off. Typically these are burnt off by the intense heat as dust. During extremely wet conditions these are quenched, cooled fast to solid material, and adhere to the brake pad surface.

EFFECT

This generally has no detrimental effect on braking performance, however in extreme cases, it can cause disc damage or brake squeal

REMEDY

In extreme cases, replace discs and pads

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