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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.

 
Brake Wear - Illustration by Phoenix Friction Products   Wear Pattern: Even wear between inner and outer pads; smooth wear surface on friction material
  Indication: Normal Wear

Abnormal Brake Pad Wear & Symptoms

  Wear Pattern: Tapered wear - vertically or horizontally
  Indication: Worn out caliper bushings and/or worn out caliper hardware not functioning correctly

  Wear Pattern: Only one of the two pads worn down
  Indication: Caliper or Caliper piston hanging up; caliper slide not functioning correctly

  Wear Pattern: Grooves in the surface of the friction material
  Indication: Rotors should be turned or replaced

  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.

  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.

  Wear Pattern: Lining worn completely, rivets exposed, rotors destroyed
  Indication:
Brake pads worn beyond safe and normal wear point.