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How to check brake pads without removing the wheel

November 7, 2022
How to check brake pads without removing the wheel

How to check brake pads without removing the wheel: The brakes are the most important part of any transport, because if it malfunctions it can end up causing an accident putting you and the other people on the street at risk. For that reason, the precautions have to be the maximum when it comes to brakes.

We bring you this article on how to check brake pads without removing the wheel. In addition, we will give you tips and extra information on how you can tell if your brakes need any changes, and what safety checks are necessary before starting to ride the bike.

This information on how to check brake pads without removing the wheel can be used for ebikes, and common bicycles but not for other types of transport. In case you are looking for information about a car or other type of transportation, then you should take it to a professional mechanic.

What is needed for the brakes to work properly?

In the case of bike brakes, different things are needed for them to work well and save you any kind of problem. We recommend you do a regular check yourself, at least once a week if you use your bike very often.

To work well, the brakes need the bleed to be good, the pistons have to do their job correctly, and the disc should not be worn, nor the pads. Of the whole set, the pads are the component that wears out the fastest.

Even if you haven’t used your bike for a long time, the brake parts can still wear out (for example, the bleed can dry out). For that reason, you should always do checks on them.

How to check brake pads without removing the wheel

We should start this point by saying that it is possible to check brake pads without removing the wheel, but now if you have to remove the pads and put in new ones, then you will have to remove the wheel.

For checking the brake pads, removing the wheel will always give you a better look, as you are completely clear of any obstacles and can pay attention to any detail on the brake. In any case, other ways will help you detect failures in the brake in general and in the pads in particular.

How to detect failures in bike brakes

Certain ways allow you to check the brakes of your bike, in this way, if you detect any problem you can solve it before going out on the road. You do not need to be an expert mechanic, but if it is your first time doing it, we recommend that you take your bike to a professional from time to time to check everything.

As far as the brake pad is concerned, to know if they are good, it is necessary to check if there is friction between their support and the disc.

The first faults that can be felt in the brakes of a bike are the following: that they make a lot of noise when you brake, and that it be in a high-pitched tone. Also if the pistons are very protruding or the feel of the lever is not the same as always, they are one of the biggest red flags for bike brakes.

Beyond these initial failures, others are more dangerous. For example, if you notice that you can no longer brake as well, that you need the help of your feet to brake the bike (that is, the brake is not enough), or that it takes a long time to brake, these may be signs that it is time to change any of the parts.

If you haven’t used your bike for a long time, before going out for a walk on busy streets you should do some tests on the brakes. You can find a park that allows bikes, or a street where cars do not pass and try walking to see how the brakes really work.

How to identify wear on brake pads

The pads of all bicycle disc brakes have three distinct parts. The first is a metal pad support, which keeps the pad surface fixed and aligned concerning the disc, using a pin screwed into the calliper. The second is the spring or crossbow, which keeps them separated inside the calliper and facilitates their removal.

Therefore, when inspecting the pad, you should always look at this surface, the one in contact with the disc. Measure its thickness with a calliper or ruler. As a general rule (although it depends on the recommendation of each manufacturer) if it is less than a millimetre, even if it is not uniform for the entire surface, it will be replaced.

As for the degree of cleanliness, if this surface accumulates a large amount of dirt or traces of grease, we also recommend changing them for new ones.

How often should I change the brake pads?

When it comes to the life of the brake pads or how often you should change them, there is no single answer. It all depends on the use you give it and the terrain in which you use it (for example, it wears out faster in nature than on city streets).

With proper use of the brakes and regular maintenance, they can last for several years without completely wearing out, if the brakes are of a certain quality. If you ride your bike regularly, or even competitively, then the pads might last a couple of months.

In conclusion

The brakes are one of the most important parts, so you must take care of them. You can check brake pads without removing the wheel and without any kind of problem since other signs allow you to recognize wear or even faults in the brake pads, even if you can’t see them directly.

Any sign that your brakes are not working as well, or making noise, is enough for you to take the option to remove your wheel and change the brake pads for new ones.


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