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Recently, my car began to make very loud noises whenever I used the brakes. At first, I didn't suspect the brake pads because I thought they were still able to undergo a few thousand kilometre. To be sure, I checked the pads and the discs.

  • Left wheel, inside : No pad. Metal against metal, disc feels like a vinyl
  • Left wheel, outside : Pad OK (3/4 left), disc OK
  • Right wheel, inside : 1/4 pad left, disc OK
  • Right wheel, outside : Pad OK (3/4 left), disc OK

Do you know why the inside left pad could have gone so quickly? I have metal swarf (glitter?) everywhere. When I check the disc with my finger, it feels very rough and uneven, worse than an old vinyl.

I ordered new brake pads, but I don't know if I should change the discs as well. My car is very old and near death (Renault, 380.000 km). I only use it for very short distances, and it never reaches more than about 100 km/h.

Do you think this would be a safety concern? I'm thinking the pads will take the shape of the disc and wear out more quickly, but this isn't a problem for me, as long as security is not involved.

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It wouldn't be a "security" concern, but it IS a safety concern. You are talking about your safety and the safety of those around you. If your vehicle does not stop as it should, your reaction time is increased, so you will not be stopping as soon as you would think you should, which could cause unanticipated results.

My suggestion is that you update the pads and rotors. This will most likely be the last time you'll have to do it on this car. While getting the car to go is great, stopping the vehicle is much more important. You are right that the pad will wear out quicker. If you don't want to pay for the cost of replacing the rotors, you could see if there is enough of the rotors left to resurface them. You should do one or the other in order to perform a viable brake job. The thing about resurfacing, though, is that to get this done will cost about the same (probably just a little less) than replacing them. While this may save you a little money, personally I opt for replacement in most cases just considering what my time is worth. If I have to spend time to take the rotors to a shop to get them replaced, is that worth what the difference would be if I just got a brand new set from the parts store while I'm there getting the pads.

You didn't mention how long this set of pads had been on the vehicle, but obviously the inside wore quicker on both sides. I'm fairly sure this is because this is the side of the caliper which has the piston. If the caliper doesn't slide very well, it will not equalize the braking between the two pads very well and the inside one will do most of the braking causing it to wear faster. When the brake job is done, ensure the caliper slides are lubed correctly.

  • Sorry i'm french and missused "security". I meant "safety". – mimipc Mar 6 '15 at 12:06
  • @mimipc ... I figured you might have, but no worries. It was mainly to help others understand. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 6 '15 at 12:15
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I suggest getting the rotors turned before replacing them (if they haven't been turned too many times before) You will save money this way depending on where you get them turned. Get new pads on both of the insides, and check the calipers. There is a good chance (depending on how old your vehicle is) that you may need to replace them. Check your brake pads for uneven wear, and check to see if the caliper pistons are retracting properly by compressing them in with a C-Clamp, and feel how resistant they are. All of these things are fairly simple to do, anyone with access to youtube and a patient mentality could easily figure it out themselves. Uneven rotors are dangerous, and should be fixed as soon as you have a chance.

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