How to Tell If You Have Bad Rear Disc Brakes

Written by zyon silket
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How to Tell If You Have Bad Rear Disc Brakes
Worn brakes are a safety hazard. (brake image by Jan Will from

The rear disc brakes found on many vehicles only complete 20 per cent of the vehicle's braking. The front disc brakes do most of the braking. This means your rear disc brakes will last up to 70,000 miles depending on driving conditions. Since rear brakes last so long, they are often overlooked until you realise your automobile no longer brakes like it used to. You can complete several quick troubleshooting steps to determine if your rear disc brakes are worn.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Jack
  • Jack stand
  • Tire iron
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Drive your car with the window down at approximately 35mph and listen for a chirping sound or a constant squealing sound. Most disc brake pads have a "wear strip" on the back that makes one of these sounds when the brake pads wear down too far.

  2. 2

    Place the car into reverse, accelerate to approximately 20mph and press on the brakes. Driving in reverse makes the rear disc brakes the primary brake system. If you feel the brake pedal pulsate under your foot, the brake rotors are warped and defective.

  3. 3

    Support the rear of the vehicle on a jack stand and remove the tire from one of the wheels. To complete this, you need a tire iron, jack and jack stand. Inspect the rotor for excessive grooving on the front face and the back face. Excessive grooving indicates a worn out rotor.

  4. 4

    Inspect the brake pad thickness with a ruler. If the front or brake pad is less than 1/8-inch thick, the pads are defective.

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