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When should I change brake pads?

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Old 07-23-14, 05:52 PM   #1
DesertLS
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Default When should I change brake pads?

First a big thanks to all those who post write-ups and pics of the DIY (and many times ridiculously easy) upgrades and maintenance jobs we can perform on our LSs. You give us the confidence and know-how to save us cash and learn new skills! You guys and gals are great!

Now to my question/story...

I do a good chunk of the maintenance on my 99 LS because a) I enjoy the learning and self-reliance and b) it has been difficult to find a mostly honest and reasonably-priced (doesn't need to be the cheapest) mechanic that treats my car almost like their own. It's always good to get a professional opinion so periodically I'll take it to a mechanic for a check-up to make sure all is well. I recently did this and received a clean bill except for the brakes which would need to be changed in 1-2k miles.

This would cost $250+ per axle (OEM pads, resurface the rotors, and labor) at the mechanic and I thought this would be a good time to learn to change my brake pads. Found some great instructions, ordered some Akebono ProACT ceramic pads from RockAuto, and was ready to get my hands dirty.

I changed out the rear on Sunday (if you can build IKEA furniture, changing brake pads is a piece of cake) and thought there still seemed to be a fair amount of material left but remembered they said "only 1-2k miles left" which was about 1k miles ago. I was changing the fronts today and saw they had a lot left as well. So I didn't change them, put it all back together, and want to get your thoughts on when pads need to be changed.

I have the service manual which states a minimum of 1.0mm for the pads. I measured the current pads and they have 9-10mm left. I measured the new Akebono pads and they had 13-14mm of material.

So what do you think? Do I need to change the fronts? Should I still change them since I already changed the rear and have all the parts for the front?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 07-23-14, 11:53 PM   #2
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Nah, I wouldn't change them, they still got a lot of miles left in them.
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Old 07-24-14, 12:18 AM   #3
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That is a fair amount left so I wouldn't suggest changing them until they get down to that minimum thickness.
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Old 07-24-14, 01:59 AM   #4
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I definitely wouldn't replace them. I mean it's not like brake pads are going to deteriorate from being on a shelf for awhile. It's not oil. If anything, I would be looking for a more knowledgeable mechanic that wouldn't tell me to replace my (not even) half worn brake pads.
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Old 07-24-14, 03:55 AM   #5
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I generally change pads at approx 1.5-3mm, usually closer to 2mm.
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Old 07-24-14, 09:37 AM   #6
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What it sounds like is you have not yet found:
"difficult to find a mostly honest and reasonably-priced (doesn't need to be the cheapest) mechanic that treats my car almost like their own."
Your brake pads were no where near ready/time for replacement... not sure where the come up with the 2k number...I change mine before the brake wear sensor goes off... thus saving that money also.
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Old 07-24-14, 08:13 PM   #7
DesertLS
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Thanks for the replies. I'm kicking myself for throwing out the "old" rear pads already.

A few other quick questions.

Do the front pads ever wear quicker than the rear (I'm assuming they are doing the majority of the stopping due to weight)?

Do your pads sometimes squeak at low speeds (ex. pulling into your garage)? This was another reason why I thought a change was potentially necessary but maybe this is just due to them being ceramic?

The quest for a decent mechanic continues... Any Tucson folks with recommendations?
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Old 07-25-14, 08:39 AM   #8
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Yes... generally the front brakes provide most of the stopping power.. thus the sharp nose dives when you hit the brakes hard...
I had squeaky pads on the front... always squeaked when first applied when backing out of garage. More like a screech at 6 in the morning.. probably did not make friends with the neighbors...
That is why I dropped in the Wagner Thermal Quiets... have great success with them. They fit perfect and were easy to install...
If in TX I know a trusted mechanic... but can't help you otherwise
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Old 07-25-14, 08:40 AM   #9
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The factory pads will squeak in ours if I'm applying light braking pressure. Usually this occurs when pulling gradually into the garage or other flat surface gentle roll in. Otherwise, ours are quiet.
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