Every disc braking system relies on brake pads to create the necessary friction needed to slow down the vehicle. The brake pads are positioned within your brake calipers. Whenever you step on the brake pedal to slow the vehicle down, the brake pads will press against the spinning disk brake rotors and create friction. In most circumstances, the friction material of the brake pads will wear down evenly on both sides of the vehicle. However, there are situations where the brake pads may wear unevenly on each side. A lot of car owners get confused about this and are unsure why this happens.
Whenever you have uneven brake pads in your vehicle, you will be forced to replace all the brake pads at the same time. This will be very costly because you’ll end up replacing pads which are still good and not completely worn out yet. But you will need to do this because your vehicle must have brake pads which are equally worn. Otherwise, it could jeopardize the health of your braking system and could possibly cause problems with braking itself.
The Top 5 Causes of Brake Pads Wearing Unevenly
Below are the top 5 causes of brake pads wearing out unevenly on each side of the vehicle.
1) Disc Thickness Variation – Disc thickness variation is a mechanical term which refers to when the rotors of a vehicle have different levels of thickness. Whenever there is a variation in the thickness level of your rotors, it will cause the brake pads to get worn out faster. The discs will have more flat spots that the brake pads will come in contact with. Once they do, the wear of the brake pads will become uneven throughout the vehicle.
2) Sticky Caliper Pistons – If you have a lot of debris or rust on one or more of your pistons, then it will cause the brake calipers to become sticky. This means that the pistons won’t slide correctly, causing the brake pads to make uneven contact with their spinning rotors throughout the vehicle.
3) Misalignment – Sometimes when you have new brake pads installed in your vehicle, the mechanic might not align them evenly. Anytime you have misaligned brake pads, it will cause them to wear unevenly throughout the course of your braking activities. You should notice this problem occurring within weeks or months after you get new brake pads that are misaligned. Once you start experiencing braking issues, you will wonder why your brake pads are acting up already when you just got them replaced. Well, it is due to the brake pads wearing out unevenly because of their misalignment.
4) Dirty Rotors – Dirty rotors are certainly one possible cause of uneven wear and tear of your brake pads. These do not need to be old rotors either. Sometimes when new rotors are installed in a vehicle, they might still have dirt or grease on them from wherever they were stored. The rotors need to be cleaned with a formulated brake cleaner to ensure this debris is removed from them. Not only that, the mechanic should apply an anti-rust coating over the rotors to help prevent them from rusting.
5) Different Types of Brake Pads – It is important that you stay consistent with the type of brake pads that you install in your braking system. Do not use different model brake pads because they are likely going to wear down at different rates. Everything from the friction material to the thickness of the brake pads will be different. If you stay with the same model and thickness in your brake pads, then you will have a better chance of them wearing evenly rather than unevenly.