How to Check Brake Pads Without Removing Tire?

Are you wondering how to check brake pads without removing tire? Checking brake pads after removing tires is no hassle at all. But, when you want to do it without removing the wheels, the task can often be a little bit tricky, but it is not unattainable.

When you know the correct method for brake pad inspection, you can do it without having any difficulty. In this post, we will share the top 3 effective on how to check inspect pads without removing wheel. Let’s dive in!

how to check brake pads without removing tire

How To Check Brake Pads Without Removing Tire?

How safe your car often depends on its braking system? A disc brake system would not be complete without brake pads, which need regular inspection. You always want to ensure the part is damage-free.

Things You Will Need

Things you should need to check your brake pads’ conditions may have already in your hands. They are:

  1. Car jack
  2. A torchlight
  3. A flexible ruler
  4. An indicator or marker
  5. Anything with a markable measurement

Method 1— Visual Inspection

When it comes to cars or any motor vehicles, it is always a thumb-up gesture to check their components visually before jumping to other solutions.

Upon closer inspection, you can figure out few holes and dumps in the tires. You might use a torchlight for a better assessment of brake pads.

Additionally, if you want a more detailed view with a particular angle, use the car jack to properly raise the tire position and check your brake pads.

Method 2—Inspection of Brake Pad Thickness

Have you figured out anything after the visual inspection? If not, you should check out your brake pad thickness. Plus, depending on only a regular check-up may not give you a reliable result.

Thankfully, you can know how thick or thin the brad pad has become without removing the tire. In order to measure the brake pad thickness, you should use a delicate and thin substance such as a thin hollow tube of paper or plastic.

Measure the brake pad using the hollow tube from one side to another side. Now, use the indicator or marker to mark the hollow tube till the last point it reaches. Make sure to take precise measurements by taking the tube closer to the pad.

Next, cut the hollow tube at the last point where you marked the area. Don’t think the marking point is equal to the thickness level of brake pads. You can achieve more precise measurements by following another step.

The ruler’s number 0 should be 5 mm away from the measurement point. The brake pad’s thickness is determined by the remaining hollow tube from your 5 mm subtraction.

If the hollow tube’s conclusive measurement is more than 4 mm, you don’t need to change brake pads. So, the minimum brake pad thickness to pass inspection is more than 4 mm.

But, if the brake pad measurement is equal to or less than 4 mm, you must replace it. So, this is the correct method to know how to check brake pad.

Method 3— Irregular Quality Deterioration

We have discussed two pro methods for checking your brake pads’ conditions without removing tires. However, all these methods can be applied only on a single tire where you need to inspect each tire separately.

But, do you know how to check brake pad thickness for all tires at a time? In this case, examining irregular quality deterioration is the suitable method to check all the brake pad.

While checking the deterioration quality, you might observe that the rear brake pad is having some issues even though the front one is working perfectly.

After that, you need to check the thickness difference between the damaged brake pads on your vehicle’s each side. That means you will have to change all brake pads from each tire even if there is a slight difference in the thickness.

Signs Of Brake Problems

Apart from checking your brake pads’ condition, you always want to be careful about the early indication of car brake. If you encounter any of the following issues, your brake pads need some maintenance.

1. Excessive Noise in Metal Squeal

If you notice excessive noise in the metal squeal, you have to change your brake pads. The louder sound is an early indication of quality deterioration of brake pads.

2. Grinding Issue

If you find any grinding sound in the brake pedal, you want to replace brake pads as early as possible. As it is an emergency, you should not drive the vehicle unless you fix or change it.

3. An Odor of Burning

When your car brake becomes excessively hot, you may experience an odor of burning from the brake. Too long usage without giving any break may cause this issue.

When the brake is too much heated, you should give the machine rest. Otherwise, you will notice brake pads wear quickly. Overlooking the problem may cause accidents.

4. Physical Deterioration

It may be hard to find out any tear and wear of new brake pads or other parts by looking at them every day. However, when you observe them after weeks or months, some visual difference may come closer.

One common thing you will notice is some marks or scratches on your brake rotor. It is an early sign of tear and wears for brake pads; you should take it seriously and take care of it.

5. Lack of Instant Response From Brakes

If your car brake doesn’t stop immediately after commanding it, there might be some issue with the brake. The brake failure may incur multiple reasons, but the most common is a leakage issue in the braking system. You may need to bleed your car brake system.

Things to Note While Inspecting Brake Pads

  1. Never check brake pads after driving the car. Let the brake pads cool down for a minimum of one hour.
  2. If you are unsure about brake pad thickness, you should replace them to prevent unavoidable accidents.
  3. Checking your brake light will give an idea of whether the brake is working or not.
  4. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the brake fluid. It is better to replace them if it becomes too dark.
  5. If you observe an excessive vibration on the brake, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic.
  6. The excessive softness of the brake bad while driving might be an indication of a leakage issue in the brake fluid.

FAQ (how to check your brake pads)

How often should you check your brakes?

According to most experts, it is better to examine your brakes once every six months. In most cases, while changing or replacing tires, people also do this check-up for brakes.

check brake pad

What are the best brake pads?

Many top-quality brake pads are available in the market. Here are the three popular brake pads you can check out:

  1. ACDelco 17D1367ACH
  2. Power Stop Z36-1399
  3. Bosch BC905

What is the purpose of checking brake pads?

A vehicle cannot function without its brakes. You want to inspect the car brake for smooth operation regularly. You should fix a time to examine your car brake to ensure a risk-free driving experience.


Knowing how to inspect brake pads without removing tire can help you detect braking issues. However, make sure you implement the method correctly. If you are confused about whether your brake pads are okay or not, you should seek professional help. Hopefully, you have learned how to check brake pads without removing wheel.


Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer. He has both on hand and managerial job experience of 15 years in automobile maintenance field. He served as Captain in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corp of Army, Technical Head in Taxi Cab business, Head of Plant in Car assembly plant. He is writing automotive contents to share his expertise knowledge to car lovers for solving their vehicle issues.

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