Are you a motorcycle owner? If you are, we don’t blame you!
Motorcycles are fun, flashy, and practical. No wonder the number of riders is on the rise!
Chances are you love your ride and want to maintain it to keep it on the road. If you haven’t been practicing regular maintenance, now’s the time to start.
Whether you drive a Honda VTX 1300C or something else, proper maintenance ensures your bike is safe and runs like it did when it rolled off the assembly line. Plus, it will extend the life of your bike.
Your bike’s brakes are important, so you need to check them regularly. If you don’t know how to do that, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how to check brake pads on your motorcycle.
How Brake Pads Work
Brake pads are an important component of your bike’s brake system. They’re responsible for helping your bike stop when you tell it to.
To make your bike stop, brake pads use friction. The pads consist of materials that cause and build up friction when they’re pressed against the rotors.
Because of how they work, brake pads will eventually wear down. If you don’t replace them, it becomes a safety hazard and could lead to serious injury.
Reasons to Replace Brake Pads
There are several reasons you should change your bike’s brake pads, safety being the main one.
If the brake pads have worn down too much, your brakes may not work properly. This could present a serious danger for you and/or other people.
Brake pads help you slow down safely and quickly. If your brake system isn’t up to par, you may not be able to stop on time. This could result in auto, pedestrian, or other accidents.
If you don’t change your brake pads, you risk damaging your bike’s rotors. This means you’ll have to pay more in repair costs.
Your brakes may become loud and squeaky if the pads wear down. You may also hear a grinding noise. This sound alone may be enough of a reason for you to change your brake pads unless you like a lot of attention.
If you feel a vibration when you apply the brakes, you may need new brake pads. If this occurs, inspect your bike and change the pads if needed.
You may have noticed that your bike doesn’t have as much brake power. That’s an indication that you should check and change your brake pads.
You may also need to change them if you have better brake power than usual. This can happen for a short time after your pads wear down, but when it stops you’ll have a problem.
How to Check Brake Pads
Establish a schedule to make sure you check your brake pads often. This could be as simple as a visual check each time you wash your bike or change the oil.
It’s a good idea to do a quick check every time you go for a ride. Better safe than sorry! It only takes a few seconds, so don’t skip it.
Look at the brake pads. How much of each pad remains? If there’s a 1/8 inch or less, you need to replace your brakes.
If you have more than a 1/8 inch pad left, you’re good to go.
The easiest way to do this is to check the indicator groove. This is a groove cut into the pad that shows when the pad has too much wear. If you can’t see the groove anymore, it’s time to change the brake pads.
If your brake pads didn’t come with an indicator groove built in, go by the 1/8 inch rule. You’ll still be able to tell if your brake pads need replacing.
You can also run a feel or sound check. If you ride your bike a lot you’re familiar with how the bike feels and sounds when it stops.
Go for a ride in a safe place and get a feel for how the brakes are working. Listen for squeals or grinding. Feel for slower stopping, harder stopping, or vibrations.
Any of these things could mean you need new brake pads.
Check the Rotors Too
While you’re checking the brake pads, make sure you check the rotors too. These are just as important, so make sure they’re in good working shape. If you see any warps or cracks in the rotors, replace them.
If you need any assistance, use the bike’s owner’s manual. You’ll need to be able to locate the brakes and rotors and assess if they need replacement or not.
Get Help if Needed
Brakes are such an important part of bike safety that you have to maintain them. If you’re concerned at all that you aren’t checking, repairing, or replacing them correctly, ask for help.
A friend, neighbor, family member, or professional can help. If you do want to do it on your own, it isn’t hard to learn. Checking you bike’s service repair manual will help.
Check Your Brake Pads Today
Motorcycle brakes take a beating, so it’s important to know how to check brake pads. This is especially important if you ride your bike often.
Bad brake pads are a one-ingredient recipe for disaster. The results of not checking your brakes? Danger and damage.
It’s important to check your brake pads to limit the amount of danger to you as well as others. And, you’ll save yourself repair costs if you fix brake pad problems early.
Do you own vehicles besides your bike? If so, you have to maintain them as well. Check out our post on car maintenance tasks you can do yourself.