Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When should you replace your brake pads?

I get asked this several times a week. Knowing when to replace your brake pads and how to do it is very easy to do and only takes a couple of minutes. If you are concerned about your pads being worn out, the first thing to do is take off your wheels. Then look at the braking surface, every brake pad has grooves that are molded in whenthe pad is made. These grooves are wear indicators, when they are gone it is time to replace them.

You should also change your pads if you are putting on race wheels and they have a carbon braking surface. Over time all brake pads tend to get small pieces of aluminum embedded in them from the heat of braking.

To prolong the life of your pads and your rims you should periodically pick out the pieces of metal. If you are running carbon rims you should use special pads that are designed for carbon. These pads tend to brake better and last longer since carbon rims tend to heat up standard pads and wear them out faster than carbon brake pads.

Brake pads are very easy to change, most road brakes have a small allen head screw on the outside of the brake shoe. This usually takes a 2 or 2.5 millimeter allen wrench to undo. Take the screw out and slide the pads out the back of the brake shoe, some pads can be pretty tight so it may take a little patience to get them out. Once they are out you can take the new ones and slide them back in (these are labeled right and left so make sure you put them in on the right side). Once they are in you may need to slightly readjust your pads if the old pads were worn unevenly. To do this you should loosen the 4mm screw that holds the shoe to the brake and make the pad line up parallel with the rim. You have now replaced your brake pads and you can use your brakes with confidence.



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