Automotive

Is it possible that brake pads and rotors need replacing without ever making a sound?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 1st, 2022 5:03 pm
[OP]
Member
Jul 6, 2008
225 posts
26 upvotes
Toronto

Is it possible that brake pads and rotors need replacing without ever making a sound?

When changing my tires, my mechanic informed me that the rear brakes and rotors need to be replaced immediately. I told him I was due to take a 3 hour drive up north and he said he would highly advise against it given the current state of my brakes.

Granted, I can't recall when I last replaced them, so it must have been a while, but I was under the impression that there will be a squeal to indicate that brakes need to be replaced.

If they're in such dire condition, wouldn't they be making a sound?
45 replies
Jr. Member
Sep 8, 2012
155 posts
176 upvotes
Toronto
What vehicle is it? Some cars use different approaches for brake wear warnings, I know Subaru for example use bits of metal which will make contact before the pad is entirely worn so they would squeal but BMWs use electric sensors which should trigger a dash light.

In the BMW example though they also only use the sensors on 2 of the 4 wheels (passenger front & drivers rear, IIRC) which if you had uneven wear could result in the sensor not being triggered but still having a worn set of pads on one corner.

Do you know/trust this mechanic? It's possible that things could be quite worn without making an audible noise or triggering a dash light but it is a common upsell.
Deal Addict
Sep 22, 2009
3194 posts
1978 upvotes
Markham
When brake pads are less than 1mm, they need to be replaced soon.
Sometimes, the wear indicator would also rust or fall off so you don't hear any indication.

The only way to know for sure is ask the mechanic to show you.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
3241 posts
1797 upvotes
Mississauga
Do you have a picture of the brakes? Get a 2nd opinion if you dont trust the mechanic. Worn brake pads, calipers or shoes make exessive noises when it wears down to the point of metal to metal contact but is not the only sign that your brakes are due.

How often do you lubricate the brakes between full brake changes? Just one example is a hanging caliper that does not move freely can create excessive brake heat which causes the pad material to spider crack, rotors can have hair line cracks too. Another issue it could cause is vastly uneven wear between the inboard and outboard pads or rotors. Both examples can exit without excessive noise but you may feel some vibration in emergency braking situations.
[OP]
Member
Jul 6, 2008
225 posts
26 upvotes
Toronto
jmason86 wrote: What vehicle is it?
It's a Mazda CX-5. It's a mechanic I've only used once in the past but he has great reviews, if that means anything.

Also - my wife mostly drove the car last year and I'm wondering if perhaps she ignored the squealing. Could they be worn down so much that the metal bits/squeal warning actually went away?
Newbie
Apr 4, 2017
20 posts
38 upvotes
London
Mazda cx5 are well known to go through brakes fast. I think you should listen to the mechanic. You can't go on sound. If you don't believe him take off a tire and check them out yourself.
Member
Oct 17, 2021
372 posts
781 upvotes
RFDHaydn wrote: Mazda cx5 are well known to go through brakes fast. I think you should listen to the mechanic. You can't go on sound. If you don't believe him take off a tire and check them out yourself.
Yup, easiest and quickest way to know for sure it to grab a flashlight and have a look yourself. Might have to take the wheel off if you can’t peak through the spokes of the rim.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Aug 29, 2001
5396 posts
1207 upvotes
rural ontario
If your not able to check it yourself, then trust the mechanic and get it replaced.

Worst case you got charged for changing your brakes too early, best case you saved yourself from a braking disaster on your trip.

If it was a place like JiffyLube.. I would be more suspect of the advice.
Sr. Member
Oct 21, 2006
972 posts
732 upvotes
maybe the pins are sticking and the inner pad is GONE... if that's the case yes replace ASAP. But I have had a horrible experience at MARKVILLE TOYOTA where the mechanic told me I had 1mm remaining on the rear pads... I inspected myself when I got home and found that it had at LEAST 3mm remaining... Shame on you EDMOND LEE, I sometimes hope he steps on dog poo lol.
[OP]
Member
Jul 6, 2008
225 posts
26 upvotes
Toronto
Update - As per the recommendations, I inspected myself and all I can say is - thank god the mechanic pointed it out. Pads were down to the metal and rotors looked half disintegrated. Based on what I saw, I'm really surprised that there was no noticeable change in braking performance or sound. Appreciate everyone's help!
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 23, 2003
16209 posts
4631 upvotes
Toronto
RFDHaydn wrote: Mazda cx5 are well known to go through brakes fast. I think you should listen to the mechanic. You can't go on sound. If you don't believe him take off a tire and check them out yourself.
Good to know. I currently drive a 2012 Camry and a set of pads easily last me 95K to 120K for the front and rear.
Deal Guru
Oct 7, 2010
12070 posts
3288 upvotes
chixdiggit wrote: Update - As per the recommendations, I inspected myself and all I can say is - thank god the mechanic pointed it out. Pads were down to the metal and rotors looked half disintegrated. Based on what I saw, I'm really surprised that there was no noticeable change in braking performance or sound. Appreciate everyone's help!
Take care of your rotors and brakes. It cost big bucks to replace them.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
12617 posts
4228 upvotes
Ontario
Do you have photos of it?

Also will you be replacing them yourself or taking it to a mechanic to do?
chixdiggit wrote: Update - As per the recommendations, I inspected myself and all I can say is - thank god the mechanic pointed it out. Pads were down to the metal and rotors looked half disintegrated. Based on what I saw, I'm really surprised that there was no noticeable change in braking performance or sound. Appreciate everyone's help!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 3, 2007
2125 posts
1111 upvotes
Vancouver
OP out of curiosity how much is the mechanic quoting you on a brake and rotor job on the CX5? Using OEM parts?
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Sep 7, 2004
7159 posts
3618 upvotes
West GTEH!
chixdiggit wrote: When changing my tires, my mechanic informed me that the rear brakes and rotors need to be replaced immediately. I told him I was due to take a 3 hour drive up north and he said he would highly advise against it given the current state of my brakes.

Granted, I can't recall when I last replaced them, so it must have been a while, but I was under the impression that there will be a squeal to indicate that brakes need to be replaced.

If they're in such dire condition, wouldn't they be making a sound?
chixdiggit wrote: Update - As per the recommendations, I inspected myself and all I can say is - thank god the mechanic pointed it out. Pads were down to the metal and rotors looked half disintegrated. Based on what I saw, I'm really surprised that there was no noticeable change in braking performance or sound. Appreciate everyone's help!
If you've been taking your vehicles to your Mechanic for awhile, I'm a little surprised you'd question your Mechanics Diagnosis/recommendation.
I would think you trust his opinion. he is the Professional.
😎
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5897 posts
5059 upvotes
Webhead wrote: If you've been taking your vehicles to your Mechanic for awhile, I'm a little surprised you'd question your Mechanics Diagnosis/recommendation.
I would think you trust his opinion. he is the Professional.
Your reading and comprehension skills need quite a bit of improvement.
chixdiggit wrote: It's a Mazda CX-5. It's a mechanic I've only used once in the past but he has great reviews, if that means anything.

Also - my wife mostly drove the car last year and I'm wondering if perhaps she ignored the squealing. Could they be worn down so much that the metal bits/squeal warning actually went away?
Deal Addict
Feb 6, 2011
1905 posts
2012 upvotes
Jigsaw wrote: maybe the pins are sticking and the inner pad is GONE... if that's the case yes replace ASAP. But I have had a horrible experience at MARKVILLE TOYOTA where the mechanic told me I had 1mm remaining on the rear pads... I inspected myself when I got home and found that it had at LEAST 3mm remaining... Shame on you EDMOND LEE, I sometimes hope he steps on dog poo lol.
You and the dealer may have measured it differently to get different results.

You can measure the pad thickness to the backing plate. Or you can measure the pad thickness to the minimum thickness spec, which is probably 2 or 3 mm, so if you measure 4mm to the backing plate, you have 1 to 2 mm of usable life left.
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2012
2158 posts
1564 upvotes
Vaughan, ON
RFDHaydn wrote: Mazda cx5 are well known to go through brakes fast. I think you should listen to the mechanic. You can't go on sound. If you don't believe him take off a tire and check them out yourself.
Replaced the original rear pads and rotors on my wife’s 2014 CX-5 at 90,000KM. The original front pads and rotors still good and will likely be replaced between 95,000KM and 100,000KM. I’d say it all depends on driving style.
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2012
2158 posts
1564 upvotes
Vaughan, ON
kev604 wrote: OP out of curiosity how much is the mechanic quoting you on a brake and rotor job on the CX5? Using OEM parts?
I purchased Mazda rotors, pads, and shim kit from the dealer for $300 all in and my mechanic charged me $125 labour.

Top