Brake pads never last forever. They're made to wear out over time. When your brake pads get too worn out and you don't replace them, your Volvo can lose its braking power. That's why you should know how to recognize the signs of worn out brake pads. This guide will help you diagnose the issue before it gets too bad.
How Long Are Volvo Brake Pads Supposed To Last?
On average, Volvo brake pads last between 25K and 65K miles. They can last up to 80K miles, but it's pretty rare. Only cars driven almost always on the highway have brake pads last that long.
The lifespan of your brake pads depends on your driving style. If you have the following driving habits, your pads won't last that long.
- Hard braking
- Riding the brakes
- Lots of stop-and-go driving
You may predict how long your brake pads will last if:
- You own your Volvo long enough
- Your driving style is consistent
Signs Of Worn Brake Pads
Are you experiencing the following signs? If so, your brake pads may need replacing.
- Longer stopping distances
- Grinding noise while braking
- Vibrations in the brake pedal while braking
- Brake pedal going almost all the way to the floor
- Smoky smell after lots of braking
What Happens When You Don’t Replace Your Brake Pads?
The more your brake pads wear out, the less braking power your Volvo has. Your brake pads need enough friction material to grab onto the rotors and stop your car right away. When your brake pads don't have enough friction material, the following things happen:
- The rotors get all scratched up. When there's little to no friction material left on the pads, the metal backing comes into contact with the rotors. The metal-on-metal contact scratches up the rotors. If this gets bad enough, the rotors will have to be replaced.
- The brake calipers can get damaged. When your brake pads wear too thin, they cannot absorb as much heat as they used to. The heat then passes through the worn pads, and the calipers heat up. This can cause piston seals to harden and get brittle, and then leak. In extreme cases, the caliper housing has been known to develop cracks.
- Your Volvo can no longer stop as fast. This can seriously harm you and/or others on the road.
Brake pads are among the cheapest parts in your Volvo's braking system. The calipers and rotors are among the most expensive parts. So there's no reason to risk destroying the calipers and rotors just to push your brake pads to their limits. When in doubt, replace your brake pads. Checking the thickness of your brake pads is a quick and easy process.
Accessing Your Brake Pads
Image Credit: IFixIt
When checking your brake pads, accessing them is the hardest part. Even so, it's still an easy process. All you have to do is to:
- Lift your Volvo
- Take the wheel off
- Look at the brake pads through the window on the back of the caliper, or look in the front of the caliper*
* You can remove the caliper from the rotor and then take the brake pads out. This isn't necessary, but if you have a hunch that there's uneven brake pad wear, then this is the best way to check them.
Measuring The Brake Pads
Once you can see the brake pads, it's time to measure the friction material that's left on them. The measurement must be made in millimeters. You can do this using one of the following tools:
- Caliper tool
- Brake pad gauge
Here's what the measurement will tell you:
- 0mm to 3mm: Your brake pads are completely worn-out. There's also a good chance that your rotors are destroyed too. Replace the pads ASAP.
- 4mm to 7mm: There's still some life left on the pads. Proceed with caution, though. Keep a close eye on the pad life.
- 8mm or more: There's more than enough pad life. The brake pads are still safe to use. But it's possible that the symptoms you're experiencing are due to:
- Uneven brake pad wear
- An issue with a related part
Finding Replacement Brake Pads For Your Volvo
If it turns out that your brake pads are on the brink of death, it's wise to replace them as soon as possible. Neglecting to replace your brake pads will result in complete failure of your Volvo's braking system. The good news is that you can replace your brake pads at home in less than an hour. There's no need to bring your car to a shop.
Before starting the job, you'll need brand new replacement brake pads. If you're concerned about the quality of your Volvo's brakes, always get OEM brake pads. Finding the right part number is a quick and easy process. All you have to do is to look up your Volvo model in our catalog of brake pads.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about finding the right brake pads for your Volvo.