Even Wear

Pads have about equal amounts of friction material on both pads.

Brake Pad Even Wear

This is caused by proper brake function. To fix this kind of wear, replace the brake pads and hardware such as abutment and anti-rattle clips, service the caliper guide pins and slides.

Outer Pad Wear

The outboard pad has significantly less friction material than the inboard pad.

Brake Pad Outer Wear

Wear like this is caused by the outer pad continuing to ride on the rotor after the caliper releases. Seizing guide pins, bushings and slides are usually at the heart of the problem. Correcting this kind of wear is relatively simple. Service or replace the guide pins, bushings, or the entire caliper, and replace the brake pads.

Inner Pad Wear

The inboard brake shows more wear than the outboard pad.

Brake Pad Inner Wear

This happens when the caliper piston is not returning to the rest position due to a worn seal, damage, or corrosion. It can also be caused by a problem with the master cylinder. To correct this kind of wear, take the same steps as fixing outer pad wear as well as inspecting the hydraulic brake system and the caliper for residual pressure and guide pin hole or piston boot damage, respectively. If the pin holes or piston boot are corroded or damaged, they should be replaced.

Tapered Pad Wear

The friction material is worn in a horizontal or vertical wedge pattern.

Brake Pad Tapered Wear

This kind of wear is caused by improper pad installation as well as guide pin wear. Having a single guide pin or slide seizing can also cause tapered wear. The procedure for correcting this kind of wear is the same as correcting outer pad wear.

Cracking, Glazing, or Lifted Edges on the Pads

The friction material is physically damaged and shows signs of thermal distress.

Brake Pad Glazed Wear

This can be caused by many things. Overuse, improper break-in procedure, hydraulic system problems, seized caliper components, defective pads, and the parking brake not fully retracting are some common problems. This can be corrected by replacing and breaking-in the new pads properly. The parking brake may also need adjusting.

Overlapping Friction Material

The top edge of the pad overlaps the top of the rotor.

Brake Pad Overlapping Wear

This can be caused by wear on the guide pins, caliper or caliper bracket or having the wrong rotor or pad on the vehicle. To correct this kind of wear, replace the pads and fit the vehicle with OE specification diameter rotors.

Tips and Guidelines

• Rotors should wear evenly. The plates of the rotor should wear at the same rate. If one plate is thinner, it will affect the thermal and structural properties of the rotor.
• Always replace calipers in pairs. Failing to do so can result in a braking imbalance or pull.
• If the pads and rotor have been worn past recommend levels, inspect the caliper’s piston boot and the piston. Once the piston has been out so far, it may not retract properly.
• Corrosion on the outside of a caliper can extend inwards to the bore of the guide pins and squeeze the bushings. Replacement of the caliper is recommended.
• Brake wear should be the same on both sides of the axle.
• The piston seal loses its flexibility as it ages. This will not allow the piston to return to its rest position. This can cause the brakes to drag and increase pad wear.
• Follow the recommended OE procedure to adjust the parking brake. Not doing so may result in overheated brake pads.
• Once a brake pad has been heat tortured, it is done.
• All calipers should be inspected for wear and damage to the piston boots and seals. Piston boots can be punctured by road debris or improper installation. A puncture will allow moisture and other corrosive material into the piston seal area causing damage to the seal.
• Tapered pad wear is normal for some vehicles, especially for small rear floating caliper designs used on rear brakes. Check for a wear specification in the service information.

• Some electronic brake distribution may have faster than normal rear brake pad wear rates. This is normal in some cases. The reason for this wear is because the rear brakes are used to control nose dive. If the wear is greater than expected, check for TSBs. Often, the OEM will issue new software for the hydraulic control module that solves the problem.


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  2. Brake Caliper Service
  3. Cheap Brake Parts Can Be Costly
  4. 10 Quick Brake Solutions
  5. Brake Myths: Common Misconceptions