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We replaced the brake pads on the back of my car one month ago, but now the brake pads on the driver's side is chewed up badly, but not the other side. Why is this?

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  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Did you have this done at a shop? Was there any consideration given to breaking in the new brakes? Can you provide a picture of what the brake pad and rotor look like now? Was the rotor replaced with the pads? Commented May 18 at 16:26

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So there could be many reasons for this, but here are a few things you should check:

  1. Make sure that your caliper slide pins (also called caliper guide pins) are properly lubricated; simultaneously check to make sure that a) your slide pin boots are properly seated, b) that your slide pin boots do not have any tears, rips, or holes that could permit outside dirt to enter and degrade the lubrication, c) that you used the proper lubricant on the slide pins (silicone-based greases are best), and 4) that you do not have an swollen rubber piece around a section of the guide pin (in case your car's slide pins use one).
  2. Make sure that your break pads have worn in properly. Typically a quick way to find out is by examining the rotor for deep, curvilinear groves.
  3. Make sure that the bolts you used to fasten the caliper bracket to the knuckle and the caliper slide pins were torqued using the right amount of torque. I used a Pittsburgh torque wrench that snapped on me while attempting to tighten down some brake banjo bolts (it was not fun). Make sure your torque wrench is calibrated. Ensure that the bolts you have fastened are tightened evenly, and ideally with some medium strength threadlocker.
  4. Make sure you have the right pads! Sometimes you are buying someone else's mistake that they simply decided to throw back into the box; now their mistaken or fraudulent return is in your hands.
  5. Make sure your caliper is functioning as intended. It might not be at the point of failure to where your newly installed brake pads are smoking your rotor (I unfortunately had a situation like this happen to me once where the rotors got so hot that they instantly gave me burns by merely touching the rotor); however, your caliper piston on that side could still be moribund and sticking, causing excessive pad wear. This may particularly be the case if the piston appeared to be rusty throughout, or if the boot sealing the piston is torn or damaged in some way.
  6. Make sure your brake fluid is actually clean! Dirty fluid can result in improper hydraulic pressure within the lines, leading to uneven application of hydraulic pressure in your brakes.
  1. Make sure the solid parts of your brake fluid lines and the softer brake hoses are not kinked at any point going to the problematic wheel's brakes.
  2. Make sure the pad hardware is not undergoing rust-jacking and that there is at least some lubricant between the pad 'ears' and the pad hardware; you want to make sure the pads can move freely; if dirt or rust absorbs in the lubricant, it can cause a pad or pads to bind and wear improperly.

I think if you have done all these things, you should identify your problem. Of course, there are other sources of issues that may contribute to this problem, such as out-of-round rotors, out-of-round hub assemblies, improperly/unevenly torqued lug nuts, e-brake shoe malfunction... but you should try to look at the steps above and see if that helps. Keep us up to date!

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