How Many Brake Pads Per Wheel? (Explained)

You could experience a couple of issues when you want to use the brake. This problem may be from the brake pads. After a certain period, the brake pads may be worn out and need replacement. When replacement is required, one might ask, How many brake pads per wheel?

This article answers this question and more, so keep reading.

Old model vehicles used drum brakes to bring the car to a slow-motion or halt. To apply brake pressure, these models of vehicles did not rely on brake pads; instead, they relied on the shoes of the drum brakes.

However, recent car models use components that slow the vehicle down with combined efforts. These modern vehicles use disc brakes with a caliper, two brake pads, and a rotor. Also, some cars function using a combination of disc brakes and drum brakes.

If your vehicle possesses only four brake pads, the car has drum brakes at the back and disc brakes on the front wheel. Also, in a situation where four wheels use the disc brakes with two pads per wheel, you will have eight brake pads.

Also Read: Do You Have to Bleed Brakes After Changing Pads? (Explained)

How Do Brake Pads Work?

How Many Brake Pads Per Wheel

The brake structure of vehicles is essential and comprises many diverse parts. For example, very recent models of vehicles make use of disc brakes. This feature means that the braking system includes a brake disc connected to the wheel and rotates at about a similar speed, two brakes, and a caliper.

When pressure is put on the brake pedal, the fluid in the brake goes into the caliper. The reason behind this is the fact that brakes are formed using a hydraulic system. As a result, the brake pads are pushed towards the discs by force coming from the back of the caliper. This action brings about the abrasion that brings the vehicle to a stop.

Inner and outer pads are the two brake pads found in each wheel. However, when the caliper clogs around the rotor, the brake pads are forced against the spinning rotor. As a result, most cars have drum brakes at the back and disc brakes in the front. But, in recent models of sports cars, one may probably find disc brakes on front and back axles.

A particular wheel possessing a brake rotor makes use of two brake pads. Therefore, if all four wheels of your car have been installed, the number of brake pads will amount to eight. However, some cars don’t possess up to 8 brake pads because not all vehicles use four discs.

What Is the Difference Between Disc and Drum Brakes?

Brake pads in one’s vehicle depend on the number of disc brakes it uses. Drum brakes can be found on all the wheels of old models cars, and brake pads are not included in the system components.

Drum brakes comprise a drum, springs, brake shoes, and wheel cylinders instead of the caliper and brake pads. In vehicles that use drum brakes, pressure on the brake forces fluid from the brake to be transported into the Pistons located within the wheel cylinder, and these, in return, drive the springs into the brake shoes.

When the brake shoes have been pushed out, friction is created, slowing the vehicle down. As you may notice, no rotor, disc, or brake pads are used in these brakes. Instead, the function is to bring the car to a stop; this is generated by the drum and brake shoes.

Lately, very few cars have had drum brakes since disc brakes were invented. This manufacturer’s decision was made because disc brakes have impressive stopping power, which is superior to drum brakes. This innovation has led to reduced interest in drum brakes. Also, overheating is an unpleasant thing that happens to drum brakes.

Drum brakes overheat because many moving parts are inside the drum. But, in the disc brake system, all functional components are uncovered; as a result of this, overheating is prevented. Also, the accumulation of debris and dust is avoided.

Recently, various car models possess drum brakes at the back wheels. Wherever the pressure is put on the brake pedal, the vehicle’s weight moves towards the wheels in front. Therefore, it is understandable that these wheels possess disc brakes because they undoubtedly have better performance.

When you have drum brakes on your rear wheels, you need not fear because you are not at risk. Drum brakes still work well, but if you desire higher stopping power while on high speed and steering, the best option would be the disc brakes.

Also Read: Bad Brake Rotors (Symptoms and Solution)

What are the Types of Brake Pads?

How Many Brake Pads Per Wheel

Brake pads in your car differ in terms of how durable they are:

  • Organic pads have a short life span but are the cheapest.
  • Low metallic pads possess a slightly longer life span than organic brake pads, but they can be noisy.
  • Sintered or semi-metallic pads use merged metal particles like bronze, copper, and other components. As much as the life expectancy and braking performance are relatively commendable, they might wear the brake rotors down faster than other pads.
  • The pads that have more resistance and last longer than the other ones are the ceramic brake pads. The only setback with this type is that it is the most expensive.

Signs of Worn Brake Pads

In this year, 2022, drivers mostly find disc brakes as their use is now widespread. The brake pad, caliper, and rotor provide excellent car stopping. Also, they are less prone to overheating or rust.

Brake pads don’t last forever. After a certain period, when the material that helps generate friction starts to get worn out and the metal backings become uncovered, the brake pads need replacement. In addition, the caliper or rotor will most likely be damaged significantly in a situation where metal rubs against metal, especially when the vehicle is at high speed.

It is necessary to be aware of the symptoms of tear and wear of the brake pads, regardless of whether your vehicle has four or eight brake pads.

Below are the most common bad brake pad symptoms;

  1. Whenever the pedal of the brake is pressurized, it vibrates.
  2. When pressure is put on the brake pedal, one can hear squeaking or screeching noises.
  3. The vehicle tilts to a particular angle when the brake is used.
  4. The braking process takes a longer time
  5. A clicking sound would also be noticed.

Whenever one notices any of these signs, it is advised to go for replacements. However, driving a car with worn-out pads is still very dangerous because it becomes hard to slow the vehicle down.

It is necessary to change all the pads on the same axle and the pads on the wheel anytime you decide to change the brake pads.

For instance, the rear brakes carry less load than the ones in the front. So, naturally, the front ones wear out faster. Therefore, to keep your brake’s functionality smooth and to make the wearing process uniform, it is advised to have all four front axle brake pads and two on each wheel changed.

Also, when the rear brake pads are due for a change, all four will have to be replaced and not necessarily the brake pads in front.

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

The life span of brake pads may last for like 30,000 to 70,000 miles or even more. There are no set principles for this. However, a crucial factor regarding how long a set of brake pads can last depends on how the car is used.

What Factors Can Affect How Long Your Brake Pads Last?

How Many Brake Pads Per Wheel

For you to note the life span of the brake pads in your car, it is fitting to highlight these factors:

1. Where You Drive

Your brake pads will last longer if you drive mainly on the highway than if your routes are shorter or within inner cities. When you embark on Urban trips, you must make specific stops. For example, at junctions, roundabouts, and traffic lights. In this journey, your car brakes are used more than when driving on the highway.

2. The Weight of Your Car

The weight that your vehicle often carries is also another factor that causes brake pads to wear. E.g., Towing a caravan, multiple passengers, fully loaded boot, etc. It is easier to slow your vehicle down with lesser effort from the brake when your vehicle has lightweight. A family car that carries about four to five people is heavier than the one used by two people.

Brake Pads Replacement Cost

To replace your brake pads, you could spend between $80 and $300. But this depends on how much labor you would cost and your vehicle’s model.

Usually, brake pads range from $30 to $100, while the labor cost ranges from $50 to $250. Therefore, rear brake pads are usually less costly than front ones.

However, in a situation where the brake rotors need replacement, you may need to have them replaced at the same time as the brake pad. Also, you will need diagnostic equipment to replace the rear brakes if you use an electric parking brake.

If your vehicle doesn’t have an electronic brake, you might as well fix your brake pad yourself. You only need a little information and insights because the replacement procedure is straightforward. After this, you will have to force the piston’s position back using diagnostic equipment.

Brake Pads Replacement Cost

How Often Should Brake Pads Be Replaced?

How you drive your car and how frequently you drive it determines how often you need to change your brake pads. For example, rough driving puts your brakes under a lot of pressure.

This statement means that when you drive at a very high speed and instead of slowing down gently, you prefer to slam the brakes, your brake is put under more pressure than it should handle.

However, a car owner who drives his car every day must change his brake pads more frequently than a driver who drives twice a week.

Although this varies from vehicle to vehicle, brake pads should be changed approximately every 10,000 to 40,000 miles.

Also Read: Brake Pedal Squeaking (6 Causes & Solutions by Expert)

Frequently Asked Questions – How Many Brake Pads Per Wheel?

Do I need two or four brake pads?

The front and back brakes can be replaced simultaneously and in pairs. Your mechanic can always fix your brake pads that need replacement or repair one after the other. However, the rate at which the rear and front brakes wear off differs.

Are there two brake pads per wheel?

Average vehicles possess two pads per wheel (the back and front). Also, some cars use eight pads because they use two pads per wheel. In addition, the cars possess about four places, and some vehicles contain two calipers.

Are drum brakes on all four tires?

The vehicle can slow down because of the abrasion against the drum. In recent car models, drum brakes can be found only on the rear axle. But in older car models, drum brakes were usually installed on all four-wheel positions. It is necessary to inspect your brakes to keep their conditions in check because it doesn’t matter which you use (shoes or pads). Both of them still wear down.

How many brake pads does a car need?

Although a car usually needs four to eight brake pads, the number of brake pads your vehicle needs is based on the car’s braking system and the car’s manufacturing company. So whenever your car develops metallic or screeching noise, it is about time you had your brakes examined.

Should you replace all four brake pads at once?

One may ask, “when changing brake pads, should you do all four at once?” The back and front brake pads should be fixed simultaneously. They should wear down at relatively the same rate unless there is an issue.

Why do some cars have four brake pads?

It is necessary because when discs are used on all four wheels, it is essential to remove the extra cost of brake shoes and a parking drum system. The drum brake is set up in light cars, and regular driving is entirely proper.

Do brake pads come as pairs?

Brake pads usually come in pairs. Therefore, replacing only one side is highly discouraged.

How many front brake pads do I need?

Each particular wheel always needs two brake pads. Therefore, these brake pads should always be replaced simultaneously. In addition, the brake pads on each car wheel of the same axle should always be replaced. Consequently, one might need to purchase two sets of brake pads, and the brake pads on the two wheels should be replaced simultaneously.

How many brakes does a front-wheel have?

A front-wheel has two brake pads. Therefore, you can find eight brake pads on vehicles that use disc brakes on the back and front axles. However, once your car uses disc brakes, each wheel will have two brake pads, regardless of whichever wheels they are on.

Conclusion – How Many Brake Pads Per Wheel?

Vehicles using disc brakes always possess two brake pads per wheel. Furthermore, not all cars possess up to 8 brake pads. Therefore, in totality, there should be four brake pads, 2 per wheel, in vehicles that use drum brakes and disc brakes.

High-performance and race cars always utilize the superior stopping power of 8 brake pads. The reason is that they often possess disc brakes on both axles.

It is necessary and worthy of note that you should never let your brake pads get worn out too much, regardless of whether your vehicle uses four or eight brake pads.

To bring the rolling car wheel to a stop and to slow the rotor down, the material that creates friction should be able to provide the needed braking pressure. So when you notice disturbing noise or have problems bringing the car to a stop, it means that replacement of the brake pads is due.

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