Brake-pad visual problem identification guide.

This guide is not designed to replace proper inspection by qualified professionals! We are not responsible for any misdiagnosis occurring as a result of this guide.

Contaminated surface

Check the brake-pad surface for any traces of contamination such as brake-fluids, grease or oil. Contaminated surfaces will greatly reduce the braking performance of affected brake-pads. Be sure to replace the brake-pads.

Uneven wear

Look for deep matching indentations or creases on both the brake-pad and disc rotor, symptoms of uneven wear can include brake noise and vibration when braking. In this situation replace both rotor and brake-pads.


When this occurs the brake-pad surface will have a charred appearance with white edges, this is caused by long exposure to excessive heat such as heavy braking or a faulty brake caliper. Denatured brake-pads have reduced performance and can become brittle and break apart, be sure to change them when this happens.

Tapered Brake-pads

This means on the opposing ends, the thickness differs. Symptoms of tapered brake-pads include uneven braking and brake noise, be sure to inspect your brake caliper as it may be distorted, stuck or have large clearance. Be sure to replace tapered brake-pads with new ones.

Damaged Brake-pads

Inspect the brake-pad for visible damage, this can be caused by excessive heat making the brake-pad become brittle and break apart. It is dangerous to use damaged brake-pads so be sure to replace them. Before replacing them, seek out the cause of excessive heat e.g. faulty brake calipers or unbalanced brake system.


When looking at the brake-pad surface, if has a reflective surface. This is a result of excessive heat or continuous hard braking during the bedding-in. Glazed brake-pads have poor braking performance so replace them immediately.

Brake-pad uneven wear

Check both brake-pads to see if uneven wearing is occurring, if one brake-pad is more worn than the other then you will have to replace the brake-pad pair and service the caliper.

Cracked brake-pads

Look for any cracks appearing in the brake-pad, this is caused by improper flexing of the brake pad. Immediately change the brake-pads and service the brake caliper if you find your brake-pads cracking.

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