It is important to know when it is time to replace the brake pads on your bike. Worn brake pads that are no longer functional can make your ride very dangerous. You need to know that when you use the brakes, you can control the bike. It is easy to take your brakes for granted, but you never want to be in a position where you are riding down a hill and have no ability to slow down or stop.
Your bike has two types of brakes: rim brakes and disc brakes. Each type is different, and you need to stay on top of both. Just as you check your tires and your chain, you should check your brakes to make sure your bike is safe and ready to go. Continue reading to learn how to tell if your bike brake pads are worn.
You Notice That Your Bike Doesn’t Slow Down
One way to know that your brake pads are worn is to use them and find that your bike doesn’t slow down. This might come on gradually, or, if you haven’t been paying attention, they could simply fail. This is the worst way to find out that you need to replace your brake pads, but it won’t leave any doubt in your mind.
If you are riding your bike and you notice that it doesn’t slow as quickly as it used to, it is worth exploring the brake pads further. The brake pads will wear down over time, and you need to pay attention so that you replace them before they fail altogether.
Examine the Brake Pads
If you have rim brakes, you will examine them periodically to make sure that they haven’t worn too much to be effective. They are made of rubber, and there are grooves in the rubber. These grooves are fairly obvious, so if you don’t see them, the pads may have worn. If they are worn, you will see an indentation where the grooves used to be, but the top layer of the rubber has worn away. Once they reach this level, it is time to replace them.
Disc brakes are more complicated. You need to remove the rear wheel to check them. You can take the brake pad out of the calliper. Disc brake pads usually start with three to four millimeters of compound on the pad, and they need to be replaced when it reaches one millimeter.
Think About How Long It Has Been Since You Changed Them
Disc brakes and rim brakes will wear out at different rates, but you need to keep track of how long it has been since you replaced them. Different factors will cause them to wear out more or less frequently, and you should check them once a month no matter what conditions you ride your bike in.
If you ride in bad weather, your brake pads will wear out more quickly. The more dirt and debris that your brake pads are exposed to, the more likely they are to wear out. If you take the time to clean them after your rides, you can get more life out of them.
You should also be aware of the type of biking you do. People who ride on flat ground will find that their brake pads last longer than those who ride on hilly terrain. Knowing all of these factors will play a role in how frequently you check your brake pads and how frequently you need to replace them.
It is important to be aware of how worn your brake pads are because you do not want to be caught by surprise when they fail as you are riding down a hill. You will notice subtle signs of them starting to wear when you are riding, but you should have a maintenance schedule that includes checking them at least once a month.