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Top 8 causes of uneven brake pad wear and solutions

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Top 8 causes of uneven brake pad wear and solutions

Generally speaking, the front and rear brake pad uneven wear are different. Because the braking force of the car will put more pressure on the front pad, it causes them to create more friction, with front brakes wearing faster than the rear. We must check if the brake pads need to replace in time. If it is not replaced in time, it will cause a long braking distance and lead to accidents.

However, what causes uneven wear on brake pads?

Let’s dive in.

How do you know your car brake pad is worn unevenly

  1. The braking distance becomes longer
  2. Whenever you press the brake pedal, your brakes squeak or make a faint scratching or humming sound.
  3. Scratches appear on the brake discs

The common 8 causes of uneven brake pads:

Misalignment in the Brake pads

The correct alignment of the brake pads ensures that it squeezes the discs evenly

But, if the brake pads are not installed incorrectly, it will cause the brake pads to wear unevenly.

If your pads are misaligned, you’ll notice braking problems weeks or months after installing new pads.

What should you do about it?

If you think the pads are misaligned, the best is to check with the workshop master about the installation. They may ask you to press the brake pedal and check if both pads squeeze the disc at the same time. If not, they can readjust them.

Misalignment in the Brake pads

Corroded Slide pins

Sliding pins allow the calipers to slide back and forth so that the pads can come into contact with the discs.

When these sliding pins are corroded or the piston gets stuck, they prevent the calipers from sliding smoothly. As a result, the calipers get stuck in one place, causing the brake pads to wear out faster.

How to solve this corrosion?

A quick solution is to use a wire brush and some grease to remove corrosion. If the sliding pin cannot be repaired, it is better to replace it with a new one.

Sticky Caliper Pistons

The brake caliper includes a piston, the piston applies pressure to the brake pads and then stops the car. Sometimes, rubber seals that pull the caliper piston apart will lose the ability to pull it back.

It causes the pads to be in constant contact with the discs, brake pads wear unevenly and will be faster.

How to solve the piston return?

The solution is to clean up the dirt and remove rust with lubricating oil. If it still can’t be repaired, to the repair shop to find a professional master to check and replace the new piston.

Caliper Failure

Sometimes, rust or debris on the calipers can cause stickiness of the piston and guide pins, the piston does not slide effectively, and it leads to increased wear of the brake pads. In some cases, corrosion from the outer calipers reaches the caliper holes and squeezes the bushing.

What should you do?

When it happened, go to the car repair shop, the brake calipers and guide pins checked by the repairman. Moreover, if needed, you can do a caliper modification or brake replacement.

Rotor Thickness Variation

The changes in brake disc thickness(DTV) is one technical term, it means the difference in the thickness of the brake disc

It is the testing video DTV:

The surface of the brake disc is worn unevenly, which caused the brake pads to wear out faster and more unevenly.

This condition can also be caused by jammed calipers, rust,  corrosion, and frequent slamming of the brakes.

Dirt and debris between the disc and pads will cause the disc to thick.

What can you do about this?

Firstly, polish the surface thickness of the brake disc evenly by the maintenance master.

Clean the discs with brake cleaner to remove brake pad dust or rust before reinstalling, all are the main causes of brake wear.

However, the maintenance master smoothed the brake disc several times, but can not reach the DTV required, the only way is to replace the brake disc.

And, if the brake discs and pads wear out due to repairs. It also needs to check the caliper piston and rubber sleeve, because They may not return properly.

Warped Rotors

Warped Rotors may have a distorted or wavy surface. It usually occurs when the brake discs are exposed to cold water at high temperatures.

And, when the brake pads contact the curved brake discs, the brake pads will only contact the high point of the disc. This can lead to uneven wear of the brake pads.

How can you avoid this happening?

To prevent it, avoid spraying water on the wheels immediately after a long drive. You should give the brake discs enough time to cool.

Dirty or corroded Rotors

Sometimes, new brake discs accumulate dust or grease during storage, which also caused uneven wear of brake pads.

What can you do about this?

To ensure that your brake discs remain clean, you can clean them with brake cleaner.

You can ask the repair master to apply rust reagents to the brake discs during regular car maintenance to prevent them from rusting

Different Types Of Brake Pads

You should avoid using brake pads of different formulations of different brands, because they may make the brake pads wear at different rates.

What is the solution?

The model number of brake pads and the thickness of the brake pads consistent with the OEM will ensure that they wear evenly.

Now that you know the cause of uneven wear of brake pads, let’s solve some common 
brake problems regarding this aspect.

Uneven brake pad wear FAQ

Here’re some common pad wear questions and their answers:


It is not a good idea to install new brake pads only on one side, because it will cause further uneven wear of the brake pads.

The best is to replace the two sides of the brake pads at the same time.

-When to Check Brake Pads

It is recommended to check the brake pads every 30000-50,000 km

But, we should pay attention to some special brake pad wear symptoms

  1.  The braking distance becomes longer
  2. Whenever you press the brake pedal, your brakes squeak or make a faint scratching or humming sound
  3. Scratches appear on the brake discs

When the brake pads wear to a certain extent, the electronic braking system will prompt also. If you feel that it is wearing out sooner than expected, the brake system should be checked or a complete inspection at a garage.

-Can uneven brake pads cause Vibrations?

It can cause varying degrees of jitter, and uneven wear of brake pads will cause different degrees of damage to the brake discs. Damage to the brake discs causes DTV change. Thereby, the car will vibrate.

If the above occurs, go to the auto repair shop to check and treatment as soon as possible

What are the types of Brake Pad Wear? 

  • Wear deviation
  • Widesteps appear on the edge of the friction material
Wide steps appear on the edge of the friction material

This is due to the improper matching of the model of the brake disc and brake pad, it is recommended to replace the brake pads or brake discs.

  • The brake surface appears grooved or uneven
brake surface appears grooved

When this happens, generally, the original brake disc has a gully, after the end of the run-in of the new pads, it appears or there are hard points on the surface of the brake disc. It will affect the Brake pads’ service life and generate noise. Our solution: brake disc groove is severe, replace the brake disc.

Are The Backing Plate On A Disc Brake And Drum Brake The Same?  

In disc brakes, the steel back is the metal on which friction materials are bonded or riveted.

The back plate in drum brakes plays a more critical role.

It is a metal plate, brake drum, and brake shoe attached to it. The metal back plate provides the necessary grip and stops the vehicle from friction.

How does it work?

When you press the brake pedal, Hydraulic oil (brake fluid) is fed through the brake line into the wheel cylinder containing two pistons. These pistons are located on top of the steel back. This squeezes the brake pads and discs to rub and stop the vehicle.

The brake fluid forces these pistons outward, pushing the brake shoes toward the brake drum. It causes friction and slows down the vehicle.


As you can see, there are several reasons for the uneven wear of brake pads. Brake pads are one of the most frequently replaced brake parts on a vehicle.

However, it is crucial to choose a high-quality, high-quality brake part.


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