Brake pads are some of the most useful parts on your car. After all, your car can't stop without them. Unlike some other parts, brake pads undergo heavy use every time you take your Volkswagen out for a spin. They'll eventually wear out (usually after 30K-40K miles) and they will need to be replaced. If you want your VW's braking performance to remain optimal, then you should know a bit about brake pads, including how they work, how to identify worn brake pads, and how to replace them.
That's why we put together this buyer's guide for brake pads.
What are Brake Pads?
Brake pads are small semi-crescent shaped pads situated on both sides of the brake rotor. When you apply the brakes, the caliper squeezes the brake pads against the rotor to get the rotor to stop moving. Brake pads contain friction material, and when the friction material comes in contact with the rotor, enough heat is generated to stop the rotor right away.
When your brake pads are worn down, there isn't enough friction material to stop the rotor on a dime. That's why it's important to replace your brake pads as soon as they're worn down. Read this article for a more detailed description of brake pads and how they work.
How to Check Your Brake Pads
There are many symptoms of worn brake pads, including:
- Increased stopping distances
- Squeaking, squealing, or grinding sound
- Vibration in the brake pedal when the brakes are applied
- Soft and spongy feel in the brake pad
If you notice any of these symptoms, and if it has been a while since you've replaced your brake pads, then an inspection is in order. This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of accessing your brake pads and measuring the friction material left on them.
Choosing Between OEM and Aftermarket Brake Pads
If you decide to replace the brake pads yourself (which is actually easier than you think), you might wonder if you should get OEM or aftermarket brake pads. It's actually an important decision, because the type of brake pads you choose plays a big part in your car's braking performance. OEM brake pads are far safer and more reliable than aftermarket brake pads for the reasons listed here.
How to Replace the Brake Pads on Your Volkswagen
Skip the shop and save your money. Replacing your brake pads is definitely something you can do on your own with the right set of tools and this tutorial. Basically, you just have to lift your VW, remove the wheel, pull the caliper off the rotor, and then replace the pads inside. Easy peasy.
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions.