Brake pads are vital to one of the most important things your car needs to do…which is stop.

The first part of the brake system to show signs of wear and tear – a term that means no traditional factory warranty will cover them – you will know when your brake pads begin to fail.

What Are Brake Pads?

Brake pads are part of disc brakes, and are composed of steel plates with a friction-triggering material surrounding the brake rotors.

The plates and the material stop the car through that friction, or the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy, or heat.

Disc brakes generally tend to have two brake pads per rotor, so that’s eight brake pads that could require replacing if you don’t tend to brake problems as soon as you realize you might have something negative happening.

Any issues should also show up in any routine vehicle tune-up if you have a thorough, dependable mechanic.

Symptoms of Brake Pad Problems

Unwelcome symptoms of brake pad failure – or the beginnings of brake pads problems that can lead to failure – include:

  • Taking a longer distance to brake and come to a stop.
  • Hearing a grinding or screeching noise when you press your brake pedal. That’s the metal part the pad is meant to protect impacting your rotors.
  • Your brake wear indicator light comes on.
  • Your brake pedal feels spongy when you touch the brake pedal. An unstable brake pedal could spell serious problems for your vehicle and brake system, depending on the problem, which might not be related to brake pads.
  • One side pulls hard in that direction when braking.
  • There is a burning aroma when you apply the brakes of your car.
  • For those automobile aficionados who recognize them because they pay studious attention to their precious rides if there are scratches on the brake rotor surface you probably need new brake pads.

‘They’re Only Brake Pads. They Can Wait’

Brakes are important, so it comes as a surprise that traditional warranties don’t cover any portion of the brake, including the pads.

According to experts, brake pads can last about seven years, which is perhaps one reason why an auto manufacturer warranty doesn’t cover them. The warranty would most likely run out well before the pads, meaning you would pay for them anyway. But if you think about ignoring that noise that sounds so much like your brakes that you know it’s your brakes, there are myriad reasons why you shouldn’t.

Here’s the thing about brake pads. Replacing them can cost you as little as $115 or as much as $300 – the more high-end your car, the pricier the job will be – without an automotive protection plan.

But if the pads go bad (usually rear brakes begin to deteriorate first), and you ignore it, you run the risk of having your rotors warp or break, which could cause your entire brake system to overheat, leading your brakes to fail. That’s not something you want to have to occur while road-tripping along the narrow roads that curl through the Black Hills of South Dakota, or while coming close to a mailbox, a house, or anything other than a freshly-fallen snowbank, really.

What you want is a vehicle protection plan or extended warranty, so you don’t have to choose between being safe behind the wheel by purchasing new brakes or making a house payment.

Vehicle Protection Plans Save $$$

If you don’t have an extended warranty, you are left to pay the price for car parts and labor, the cost of which never seems to land on a payday when there is extra money available to more easily cover the expense. New brakes, which could include not only brake pads but also rotors and calipers, range from $300 to $1,000 (luxury models will be more), depending on the car make and model.

Car parts are never cheap, and although you can purchase more affordable parts online, there are so many outlets offering substandard products that taking your car to the dealership or a brake specialist is the smartest option in order to ensure the best results. An extended warranty will help defray the costs associated with the brake work. Otherwise, work you trust will be expensive.

And if you’re debating the benefits of an extended warranty shortly after you purchase a vehicle and hedging in any way, it’s smart to take time to think about future automotive needs. That includes having the type of warranty that will cover those needs, which will not only help you stay on the road longer, but also more safely.

Reasons to Consider an Extended Warranty

An extended warranty – if you purchase the right plan such as a high-end bumper-to-bumper warranty that covers wear, one of the costliest of automotive issues – can better ensure coverage for parts such as brake pads and other items, so they do not end up being be an out-of-pocket expense for you, especially if your entire brake system is close to complete failure, which as we’ve said, ramps up the costs considerably more than brake pads alone.

Extended warranties cover items that break down due to normal use – such as car parts that require replacement due to the wear-and-tear that are almost always excluded from traditional factory warranties – making them an important part of your money-saving arsenal.

While many a car owner has likely told you to avoid an extended warranty – with that air of expertise that suggests he or she knows much less than he or she thinks – having an effective vehicle protection plan, such as one that has connections to locations across the country so you can use them in an emergency, can save you many headaches on the road.

That might mean that while you’re enjoying the gorgeous sites the United States has to offer, the “expert” who advised you to skip the extended warranty all those years back can’t go on vacation, because his vehicle is giving him trouble and his factory warranty has expired.

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