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On some cars, the rear brake pads will most likely wear faster than the front pads.

I recommend that you periodically inspect rear brake pad wear to prevent damage to your rotors.  Rotors are expensive and turning them at a shop on a lathe can be even more expensive than replacing them.  This is why I suggest you inspect your brakes periodically to monitor the wear.

Don't just look at the outside part of the pad, the inside pad is what matters...

Take my rear right tire.  The INSIDE rear brake pad was worn to the metal while the outside rear brake pad had some pad left.

After a visual inspection, I thought I had enough pad just by looking at the 1/8" outside pad I had left...  But then as I drove and braked, I noticed that there was a slight scratch noise coming from the rear brakes.  I investigated this further and discovered this:

The Pad was nearly gone, and the LIP of the rotor was rubbing on the metal part of the pad, thus making a slight scratching noise.

Now here's a tip that brake repair shops don't want you to know.

Many times, your rotor may not be warped.  You can tell a warped rotor by vibrations during braking at higher speeds, or by a slight pulsating sensation when applying the brakes that slows in frequency as you slow in speed.

When you get new PADS installed, a brake shop will tell you that your rotor needs to be turned!  Well what happens on a slightly worn brake rotor is a LIP forms around the rim of the rotor.  You can feel this lip on your rotor yourself with your finger.  If you put on a brand new brake pad, well the lip may cause the brake pad to not sit properly.  Then the brake pad will wear unevenly and you'll run out of brake pad fast and the costly cycle will continue.

Some dealerships and shops turn your rotors on a lathe to cut down the lip to charge you more money.  Then they can put the new pad in so it fits flush with the rotor.  I went to my dealership and got a pair of rear brake pads OEM mazda3.  After buying the pads, the clerk told me I have to get my rotors turned so why buy the brake pads.  I told him not to worry about it...

Here's the trick I had in mind...

Take an angle grinder or dremel and grind your new pads to round the edges with a radius the same as the lip on your rotors.  Your new brake pads will line up perfectly inside the lip of the rotor!  The best part is you just saved yourself from having to turn your rotors at a shop, in addition you prevented the removal of rotor material from your rotors.  This extends the life of the rotor and saves you money.

Despite the lip being there, my pads were properly broken in, my rotors are not warped...  Fast forward 10,000 miles and my brake pads are wearing just fine.

Looks like I won't have to get new rotors until they warp, or run out of thickness.

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Last modified: 03/24/10