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How Long Can You Drive Without Brake Pads?

March 17, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

This article will explain how long you can safely drive without brake pads.

Although it is technically possible to drive without brake pads, it is not recommended for safety reasons. Therefore, it is essential to understand all the necessary information about your vehicle’s brake pads and how long they typically last.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is the Purpose of Brake Pads?

The brake pad is a crucial component of your car’s braking system, between the brake drum and shoe. When the brake pads wear out, other parts of the braking system, like the calipers, rotors, and discs, can wear out quickly.

It is essential to replace worn-out brake pads immediately to ensure the proper functioning of your braking system.

What Will Happen If You Drive Without Brakes?

Driving without a functioning brake system or pad can lead to severe consequences beyond attracting attention at intersections.

1. Your Car Vibrates When Braking

The function of brake systems is to provide a smooth and practical braking experience for your vehicle. However, vibrations may be felt throughout the car if your brake pads are significantly worn or your brake rotors are damaged.

If you feel vibrations or shaking in the car or steering wheel when you brake, and if the vibrations continue even after you release the brake pedal, it is likely time to have your brakes serviced.

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2. You Can Damage The Brake Rotors And Calipers

As your car’s brake system consists of many interconnected parts, damage to one component can cause wear and tear to other parts. When your brake pads wear down beyond a certain point, the brake rotors are at risk of damage.

The brake pads work by squeezing the rotor to stop your car, but when worn, the exposed metal on the pads grinds on the rotors each time you brake. This creates a grinding noise and can damage the rotors. The heat generated by the metal-on-metal grinding can warp and crack the rotor.

To avoid expensive and preventable brake repairs, having your brake pads changed and your brake system inspected regularly is important. If you notice that your vehicle’s brakes are malfunctioning or have already been damaged, you must schedule an appointment with your mechanic immediately.

3. It Can Wear Down Your Tires

Driving with worn-out brakes can affect your brake system and wear down your tires. When your brake pads, rotors, or calipers are worn down, you may frequently slam on the brake pedal to bring your car to a stop.

Frequent and hard braking can wear your tires and cause them to become unbalanced, leading to uneven tire wear. Therefore, taking good care of your brake system not only adds value to your car’s braking performance but also contributes to the longevity and health of your tires.

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4. Your Brakes May Have A Slow Response Time

It’s important to note that as your brakes become more worn, they will have a more challenging time slowing and stopping your vehicle. Depending on how the pads wear, you may need to pay attention to their response time. Glazed brakes can make it feel like you have to push the brake pedal down harder to stop, resulting in longer stopping distances and brake slipping.

Driving on excessively or unevenly worn brake pads is not advisable or recommended. When you neglect your brake pad and other braking systems, you risk experiencing problems such as the brake slipping and your car pulling to one side when you brake. To prevent these issues, it’s crucial to replace worn-out components and engage in regular servicing of your brake system.

Regular brake servicing is essential to extend the life of individual brake components, improve brake safety, and enhance your overall driving experience.

5. Road Accidents

Driving with a bad or non-functional brake pad can be catastrophic to the driver, passengers, and other road users, mainly if the driver is unaware of the situation. Although regular brake inspection can help prevent vehicle problems, around 25% of drivers on the road are driving with worn brakes.

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The reason why Brake Pads Fail to Perform?

Friction is a critical factor in the performance of brake pads. As the brake rotor and pad come into contact, friction slows down the car. Over time, the constant grinding between the brake pads and rotors will wear down the pads.

While rotor wear happens more slowly than brake pad wear, paying attention to your brakes is still essential. If you notice black dust on your wheels, it’s likely left over from the brake pads rather than the rotors.

Your driving habits also play a role in brake pad wear. If you drive at high speeds and suddenly need to brake hard, your pads will wear down quickly. Abrupt acceleration and braking also put a lot of strain on your brakes, causing them to wear out faster.

Slower driving reduces the wear and tear on your brake pads, as they won’t have to work as hard to bring the car to a stop. Remember, taking care of your brakes can help extend the life of your vehicle’s braking system and keep you and others on the road safe.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.