Automotive

Is my brake pad completely gone?(pics)

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  • Sep 15th, 2017 10:31 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 9, 2017
30 posts
4 upvotes

Is my brake pad completely gone?(pics)

Hey brothers, long time lurker, looking for some clarification before I go to my mechanic.

Pics only taken with wheels off, not with caliper off.

In my front inner right wheel pad, is what im looking at the backing plate and the pad completely gone or is that pad left?
Either the pad has worn down very unevenly due to a seized guide pin or im looking at a pad. I wasnt expecting such uneven wear.

inner right
http://i.imgur.com/vVI09L6.jpg
inner left
http://i.imgur.com/DeDSTrj.jpg

outer right
http://i.imgur.com/Yb4fb4F.jpg
outer left
http://i.imgur.com/CGuJf3i.jpg
11 replies
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
5854 posts
1511 upvotes
BC
My view:
it's the left side that you need to be more concerned with, not the right. Both inner and outer pads on left side are about 20% useful life remaining.

You can see the wear indicator (tinkler) is still some distance from contacting the rotor surface, but it's getting there.

The right hand side is not as worn. About 50% remaining, fairly even inner and outer.

So, probably a sticky caliper on the left. I think you can see there is more brake dust accumulation around the pads and caliper on the left side.

Not only seized guide pins can cause this. Could be the bore of the piston is corroded from contaminated fluid. Or rust on the caliper is preventing normal movement of the pads.

Usually if it's the guide pins there will be uneven wear inner to outer, but that's open to debate.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 9, 2017
30 posts
4 upvotes
macnut wrote:
Sep 10th, 2017 5:51 pm
My view:
it's the left side that you need to be more concerned with, not the right. Both inner and outer pads on left side are about 20% useful life remaining.

You can see the wear indicator (tinkler) is still some distance from contacting the rotor surface, but it's getting there.

The right hand side is not as worn. About 50% remaining, fairly even inner and outer.

So, probably a sticky caliper on the left. I think you can see there is more brake dust accumulation around the pads and caliper on the left side.

Not only seized guide pins can cause this. Could be the bore of the piston is corroded from contaminated fluid. Or rust on the caliper is preventing normal movement of the pads.

Usually if it's the guide pins there will be uneven wear inner to outer, but that's open to debate.
thanks for the reply. i first thought that too, right side looks ok, left side looking thin. but what concerns me is that inner right pad on closer look, if u see the arrow in the pic.
http://i.imgur.com/vVI09L6.jpg
is that actually pad or the backing plate(and pad pretty much done). at first I thought it was pad, based on the ok life on the outer pad, but I might actually think its the backing plate itself.

i want to take the caliper off to check, but im not sure if ill need to push back the piston just to get it back on the current pads(and thus need to get a tool for that)
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
5854 posts
1511 upvotes
BC
The backing plates are always going to have a rounded shoulder whereas the friction material has a flat profile - both edges, where it contacts the rotor and where it meets the backing plate.

The arrowed part to me looks definitely flat like friction material and not rounded edge metal.

In hindsight, you should of course have poked at it with a screwdriver when taking the pics. to make sure what was metal.

In most cases you will be able to wiggle the caliper back onto the same pads without needing to push the piston back.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
11777 posts
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Oakville
OP, what model/year car do you have? In most cases the piston can be compressed with a simple $7 C-clamp if need be (unlikely). Verify the DIY for your car to be sure. Some rear calipers need to be rotated and compressed at the same time due to having integrated parking brakes, though I've compressed those with some needle nose pliers and some muscle.

As for the pads, it's hard to tell for sure if that's the plate or pad on the right side. If you get a pic from the side (similar to the outer pad pic), then you should be able to get a better idea.

Regardless, due to the uneven wear you have, your brake system needs a full servicing/cleaning. Even if your right isn't worn, your left is worn and you have to replace them together. Just make sure your slider pins are clean and lubed properly (teflon/silicone) and the rubber bushings are in good shape. Also make sure every sliding surface is cleaned and lubed.
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
10467 posts
4673 upvotes
Brampton
macnut wrote:
Sep 10th, 2017 5:51 pm
My view:
it's the left side that you need to be more concerned with, not the right. Both inner and outer pads on left side are about 20% useful life remaining.

You can see the wear indicator (tinkler) is still some distance from contacting the rotor surface, but it's getting there.

The right hand side is not as worn. About 50% remaining, fairly even inner and outer.

So, probably a sticky caliper on the left. I think you can see there is more brake dust accumulation around the pads and caliper on the left side.

Not only seized guide pins can cause this. Could be the bore of the piston is corroded from contaminated fluid. Or rust on the caliper is preventing normal movement of the pads.

Usually if it's the guide pins there will be uneven wear inner to outer, but that's open to debate.
I like it.

@ OP When did you last have the caliper sliders services and the fluid flushed? Also what car is this?

It does look like the piston and or the sliders are not moving freely enough. Those pads are pressed right up against the disc. Usually if things are working correctly you have a tiny gap.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 9, 2017
30 posts
4 upvotes
Thanks for the help guys, ended up taking it to the mechanic earlier in the week as on my second inspection, the inner right pad was completely done. Luckily I did and not first time DIY as I was thinking of doing because the rotor had to be replaced due to the metal and on metal and one of the pins of the seized caliper apparently was stuck in so hard that even with a torch they couldn't get it free(showed me + I trust them as they were very transparent through whole process) they had to replace the caliper.

1 question for the future possible DIY job(I am content with the work and process, if the mechanic ever stumbles on this lol)

Can something ever be so seized/stuck to the point of being unremovable? I trust they tried their best for the time value, but I wonder on a DIY job if u sprayed enough penetration spray + went at it for a longer time trying to bang it out, could anything seized come out eventually? Just so I know what the options could be if I ever ran into this.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
5854 posts
1511 upvotes
BC
Appreciate your follow up on the outcome. So inner right was completely gone (I was wrong) and surprising it happened without making a lot of tell-tale noise.

Haven't heard of guide pins fusing to the caliper. I would think that quite rare. Might depend on the design - some have rubber sleeves so it is not totally metal to metal for the full length.
I guess the reality is that if you keep a close eye on the condition/performance of your brakes, or do annual servicing, that severely seized scenario isn't going to happen.

For a DIY you have time to wait while PB Blaster does its thing to free a stuck pin, but in an auto service environment they don't have that luxury, or patience.
OTOH, it is not a complete waste to replace calipers periodically as they are a wear item after all.
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
10467 posts
4673 upvotes
Brampton
blue450 wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 3:08 am
Thanks for the help guys, ended up taking it to the mechanic earlier in the week as on my second inspection, the inner right pad was completely done. Luckily I did and not first time DIY as I was thinking of doing because the rotor had to be replaced due to the metal and on metal and one of the pins of the seized caliper apparently was stuck in so hard that even with a torch they couldn't get it free(showed me + I trust them as they were very transparent through whole process) they had to replace the caliper.

1 question for the future possible DIY job(I am content with the work and process, if the mechanic ever stumbles on this lol)

Can something ever be so seized/stuck to the point of being unremovable? I trust they tried their best for the time value, but I wonder on a DIY job if u sprayed enough penetration spray + went at it for a longer time trying to bang it out, could anything seized come out eventually? Just so I know what the options could be if I ever ran into this.
You could diy rebuild the caliper. But the time might not be worth it.
macnut wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 12:03 pm
Appreciate your follow up on the outcome. So inner right was completely gone (I was wrong) and surprising it happened without making a lot of tell-tale noise.

Haven't heard of guide pins fusing to the caliper. I would think that quite rare. Might depend on the design - some have rubber sleeves so it is not totally metal to metal for the full length.
I guess the reality is that if you keep a close eye on the condition/performance of your brakes, or do annual servicing, that severely seized scenario isn't going to happen.
I think he meant the caliper piston was seized completely to the caliper.
But yes I've seen a piston slider fuse/rust completely. It was a 1990 Olds 88. Back then you didn't internet new parts either so the slider was replaced and new holes tapped and chased.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
11777 posts
11420 upvotes
Oakville
Thanks for the update, glad to hear it's fixed. Sounds like the brake system maintenance has been seriously neglected. In the future clean and lube your parts regularly. Same goes for other components on your car.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 9, 2017
30 posts
4 upvotes
macnut wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 12:03 pm
Appreciate your follow up on the outcome. So inner right was completely gone (I was wrong) and surprising it happened without making a lot of tell-tale noise.
Well to be honest, there was starting to be intermittent but not consistent light brake scraping noise. must have been no more than 40k km,(mar 2016) that I got a full brake job(with 'quality' parts) which is why I didn't think it could worn down that fast, plus the visible life on the other pads. mechanic said the outer right pad had 50% left and the left wheel had 30% left. just really bad luck, was hoping for just pad swap but ended up one of the worst possible outcomes.
engineered wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 1:08 pm
Thanks for the update, glad to hear it's fixed. Sounds like the brake system maintenance has been seriously neglected. In the future clean and lube your parts regularly. Same goes for other components on your car.
full brake job(parts and fluid) was done less than 40k km ago and just over 1.5 years ago, so either the last job wasn't cleaned or lubed right or just bad luck. last winter wasnt that bad either interms of conditions in the gta.

i did notice alot of anti-seize grease applied generously on some of the normally applied visible areas so hopefully the total work from this new shop will last me better than the last shop(retired).

are rotors being replaced same times as pad completely necessary if it hasn't warped yet and pads changed early or is that just a 'good habit' thing? I read a couple of other forums some people go through 2-3 pad changes on the same rotor. biggest hit on the wallet for this job was the rotors, could've got them for half the price i was charged if I ordered them from rockauto like I did with the pads.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
11777 posts
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Oakville
blue450 wrote:
Sep 15th, 2017 3:34 am
Well to be honest, there was starting to be intermittent but not consistent light brake scraping noise. must have been no more than 40k km,(mar 2016) that I got a full brake job(with 'quality' parts) which is why I didn't think it could worn down that fast, plus the visible life on the other pads. mechanic said the outer right pad had 50% left and the left wheel had 30% left. just really bad luck, was hoping for just pad swap but ended up one of the worst possible outcomes.


full brake job(parts and fluid) was done less than 40k km ago and just over 1.5 years ago, so either the last job wasn't cleaned or lubed right or just bad luck. last winter wasnt that bad either interms of conditions in the gta.

i did notice alot of anti-seize grease applied generously on some of the normally applied visible areas so hopefully the total work from this new shop will last me better than the last shop(retired).

are rotors being replaced same times as pad completely necessary if it hasn't warped yet and pads changed early or is that just a 'good habit' thing? I read a couple of other forums some people go through 2-3 pad changes on the same rotor. biggest hit on the wallet for this job was the rotors, could've got them for half the price i was charged if I ordered them from rockauto like I did with the pads.
40K km is a long time to go without a brake service. I do mine about every oil change around 10k KM. It's also possible that the guy who serviced it used a petroleum based lube on your caliper pins, which would swell the bushings and seize the caliper movement.

As for rotors, they can be reused as long as they're within minimum thickness, with no grooves and a clean surface. Make sure the pads are bedded in properly per the mfgr specs.

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