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Your brake linings are the part of the brake pad or brake shoe that is designed to wear down during use. The wear is designed to protect the non wearable components such as brake drums or brake disks. These components will wear through time, but the lining material is designed to wear down faster to help extend the life of disks and drums.

Checking brake linings 

How to check brake pads
Brake pads are generally fitted to the front brakes of most cars. Brake pads are part of a disk brake assembly. Some cars do have a disk brake system on the rear although this is generally only high performance or powerful car. In most cases the rear brakes will use a drum assembly.

Usually you will be required to remove the road wheel in order to inspect the condition and wear of the brake pads. To do this please first read out safety page and then our information page about jacking a vehicle.

Safety is very important
, failure to correctly jack a vehicle can result in serious injury or death.

Once you have removed the wheel you will be able to see the brake disk and the brake calliper. The disk is the round component that turns with the road wheel, the calliper is the part of the system that squeezes the pads to the disk on order to slow the vehicle down.

You can usually look into the front of the calliper to see the brake lining. If you have less than 3mm left then I would highly recommend having your brake pads changed.

The above diagram shows a disk brake assembly. It points out the important components. Note that the area in black is the lining that will wear, the area in red is the back plate of the pad and is constructed of metal. The lining and back plate make up a brake pad.

The inspection area towards the front of the calliper is where you can look in to see how much the linings on the pads have worn. You should also check for uneven wear, if one pad is work more than another then there may be a problem with the brake calliper.

How to check brake shoes
The brake shoes are constructed of a metal structure and the friction area is coated with a lining just like the brake pads. brake pads squeeze the disk, shoes push out against a drum.

On some vehicles there will be an inspection hole at the back of the brake drum. This will allow you to look inside and view the lining. The rear brakes wear down a lot slower than the front because 75% of the cars braking will occur on the front axle. Because of this 1mm of lining is acceptable for most cars. If your vehicle does not have an inspection hole then you will need to remove the brake drum in order to carry out an inspection. You should not carry out this task if you are not sure what you are doing.

You can have a garage carry out the inspection for you. You would be best to ask then to adjust the brakes at the same time.



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