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Disc Brake Pad Wear Patterns

Brake pads are designed to wear evenly when all parts of the braking system are working correctly. Several things can affect proper wear pattern of the brake pad. This illustration can help determine the cause and what should be done to correct the problem.

Normal Wear Pattern

normal brake wear pattern

Wear Pattern: Even wear between inner and outer pads; smooth wear surface on friction material

Indication: Normal Wear

Abnormal Brake Pad Wear & Symptoms

tapered brake wear pattern

Wear Pattern: Tapered wear - vertically or horizontally

Indication: Worn out caliper bushings and/or worn out caliper hardware not functioning correctly

only one brake pad worn

Wear Pattern: Only one of the two pads worn down

Indication: Caliper or Caliper piston hanging up; caliper slide not functioning correctly

grooves in surface of friction material

Wear Pattern: Grooves in the surface of the friction material

Indication: Rotors should be turned or replaced

cracked lining and chipped corners brake pad

Wear Pattern: Cracked lining or chipped corners on the friction material

Indication: Excessive heat build-up in the brake system; caliper or caliper piston hanging up creating constant friction, rear brakes not effective causing disproportionate amount of braking done by front pads.

step in pad brake pad

Wear Pattern: Step in pad lining

Indication: Pads not installed correctly; pads not in full contact with the rotor, replace guide pin/mounting bolt bushings and caliper hardware.

completely worn brake pads

Wear Pattern: Lining worn completely, rivets exposed, rotors destroyed

Indication: Brake pads worn beyond safe and normal wear point.