What Causes Uneven Brake Pad Wear? How to Prevent

To slow down a vehicle, the function of brake pads is crucial. When you push the brake pedal while driving, these pads create friction by pressing against the brake rotors. As you keep on using these pads, they wear out with time. Mainly, they are damaged evenly. However, in certain circumstances, uneven brake pad wear is also seen.

Many drivers don’t know the causes, so they replace all the pads. This is costly because they end up changing the pads working perfectly. It is, therefore, essential to know what causes uneven brake pad wear.

 uneven brake pad wear

What Causes Uneven Brake Pad Wear

Given below are a few reasons for brake pad damaged in your vehicle:

1. Rotor/Disc Thickness Variation

Whenever a vehicle has a rotor or disc that does not have even thickness, the brake pads will always erode out unevenly. There will be a greater number of flat spots on the rotor with which the pads will slide during the drive. This could be the reason why the brake pads wearing unevenly. The minimum thickness of brake pad should remain in the vehicle for better braking performance.

2. Slide Pins

The brake calipers in a vehicle move forward and backward with the help of slide pins. These pins are made of metal, and when they rust, they stop the back-and-forth movement. As a consequence, they stuck at one position, thus causing uneven parts at that spot.

3. Sticky Clipper Pistons

Dust, dirt, and rust make the clipper pistons sticky. This stickiness does not allow them to slide correctly. This results in their uneven contact with the spinning rotors and eventual uneven brake wear.

4. Misalignment

The reason for wearing unevenly could also happen when their alignment is not even. The problem appears within a few weeks after changing the brake pads. Do not wonder why they are acting up already, instead focus on the misalignment.

5. Different Types of Brake Pads

To avoid uneven pad wear, consistently use one of the brake pads for your vehicle. Different pads have a different lifespan, and different rates at which they damage. All items must have same model, and thickness so that they wear out evenly throughout the braking activity.

6. Warped Rotor

Another reason that worn brake pad unevenly is the warped rotor. Such a rotor is uneven, deformed, and has waves in it. The brake pads slide through high points at some points and remain in full contact at other points. Thus, causing irregular brake pad wear.

Preventive Steps to Avoid Uneven Wear

Given below are a few solutions for irregular wear. These solutions will also help your vehicle system work properly for a longer time.

1. Always Follow the Traffic Flow

You should first start by following the road rules. If you always drive with the flow of traffic, the unequal brake pad wear symptoms will not appear in the first place. Following the rules will help you avoid unnecessary heavy braking which is also one of the leading causes of this problem in braking systems. It will also save you from accidents and other dangerous consequences. Therefore, it is best in all situations.

2. Plenty of Following Distance

If you keep plenty of distance from the vehicle in front of you, it will allow you to stop the car smoothly. This will remove the unnecessary use of braking pads. Even if you have to use the braking system, it will not damage the parts due to minimizing friction. The pressure will distribute evenly on all pads when you smoothly push the brake button, and the vehicle takes its time to stop.

3. Minimum Weight on Vehicle

You should carry a minimum amount of weight on your vehicle. In many cases, what causes misaligned pad wear because the brakes require greater push to stop the vehicle? It also causes an imbalance in the car due to which the brake caliper could wear out unevenly upon braking activity. Find out the recommended amount of weight that your vehicle could bear, and follow it strictly.

4. Keep the Speed Low

You should keep your vehicle at the right speed while driving. It should be slow especially in heavy traffic. If you drive harshly or at high speed in high traffic zones, you will be using the braking system repeatedly. Thus, the chances of brakes wearing out quickly become very high. The slower speed will help you avoid sudden braking that can cause unbalanced damaging parts.


1. Why would one brake pad wear more than the other?

It is normal that the front and rear brake pads erode differently. The front faces more strain than the rare ones at each braking activity. However, if the right side is wearing faster than the left or vice versa, you should be worried about one of the causes given above.

uneven brake pad wear

2. Why did my brake pads wear unevenly?

If you want to know the causes of pad wear in your vehicle, the main reason is disc thickness variation. Another main cause could be the brake clipper stickiness which could occur due to corrosion of clipper material. Also, dust or dirt deposition could be the reason behind it. You should observe the braking system thoroughly to pinpoint the main cause behind brake pads wearing unevenly.

3. How much does it cost for replacing calipers?

The cost varies according to the type of vehicle. For passenger vehicles, it could be between 100 to 500 dollars. However, the larger and longer vehicles could cost you several hundred to thousands of dollars for such replacement.

4. Can uneven brake pads cause vibration?

When the disc of your brake system is wearing unevenly, the pads come in contact with flat spots of the rotor. The brake pads wearing on one side will be more than the other side. As a result, the unequal brakes start causing vibration.

5. Why do my brakes feel bumpy?

It is most likely that your brake system has warped rotors that are causing the brakes to feel bumpy. The braking activity not only wears out the material of discs as well. To eliminate this problem, you should remove the brake rotor and tune it at a brake shop.

6. Can I change the brake pads on one side only?

When the brake pads damage faster on one side than the other, they become uneven. To save cost, many drivers try to change the pads of one side only. Well, this is not recommended because doing this could cause even more uneven wear out. In the end, it would not only cost you more, but the uneven brake wear would be far more dangerous than previous.


If you are facing problem with your brake pads, you should fix it immediately. The outcomes of continuously using the uneven brake pads could be hazardous. The braking system of vehicles is complex; therefore, it is difficult to identify what causes uneven brake pad wear in your car. The problem could occur due to several possible reasons. Look into your vehicle to pinpoint that problem, and fix it.


Mr. Rubel is an Engine Mechanic. He has more than 15 years’ experience on repair and maintenance of different kinds of vehicles. He is also providing training to mechanics and works as a Senior Mechanic of a well-known organization. He is sharing his knowledge to support the car lovers to solve the vehicle issues.

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