Why Are My Brake Pads Only Wearing on One Side?

  • May 18,2020
Firestone technician inspecting brake calipers Firestone technician inspecting brake calipers

Brake pads are essential to your vehicle's operation. So, when one set of pads wears down faster than the other, it's more than annoying — it could also compromise your car’s stopping power and cause you to need replacements prematurely! Here, we'll learn about brake pad wear, causes, and what to do if you think some pads are wearing faster than others.

Possible Uneven Brake Pad Wear Causes

Front and rear brake pads naturally wear differently. When your vehicle is moving, the forward momentum tends to put more strain on the front brakes, which can cause them to wear faster than the rear brakes.

However, if your brakes are wearing faster on one side of your vehicle – the driver's side vs. the passenger side, for instance – the issue is a bit more complicated.

Issues with the brake caliper

The brake caliper's job is to push the brake pads against the rotors, thereby slowing the car's wheels and stopping the vehicle. Sometimes, brake calipers can get stuck, which can cause the brake pads to stay pressed against the rotors and wear down faster than usual.

Issues with the surface of the rotor

In some cases, brake rotors can wear unevenly, causing what’s known as Disc Thickness Variation (DTV). DTV can be caused by different factors, such as sticking calipers, rust, slamming on the brakes frequently, or dirt and debris getting stuck between the pad and the rotor.

Misalignment in the brake pads

For brake pads to work, they must be aligned evenly so that the entire pad is evenly squeezing the rotor. However, brake pads can sometimes become misaligned – think "\|" vs. "| |" – which can cause them to wear faster.

If you suspect your brake pads are wearing on one side only, bring your vehicle into a Firestone Complete Auto Care near you for a free brake inspection. Our experts will assess what's causing the uneven brake wear, so you can get back on the road where you belong.

Can You Change Brake Pads on One Side Only?

It is not recommended to get your brake pads changed on one side only. While it may be tempting since only one side has worn down, replacing brake pads on just one side will only cause further uneven wear and could be dangerous. When getting your brake pads replaced, it is typically best to replace either both front or both rear brake pads at the same time.

Suspect Uneven Wear? Get Your Brakes Checked

Uneven brake pad wear can compromise your ability to stop and snowball into other brake problems. Schedule a brake service appointment at your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care, and we'll get to the bottom of your brake troubles. With expert service from our technicians, you can stop living with troublesome brakes, and start driving (and stopping) with confidence!

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