therry/iStock/Thinkstock Subject to tremendous friction and heat, brake pads wear down and must be replaced as part of a car's regular maintenance. In disc-brake systems, the brake pads are the friction material the caliper squeezes against the rotating disc, or rotor, to slow the wheel's rotation and stop the car. In drum brakes, the pads are called shoes How do I know when to change my brake pads and rotors? Squeaks, squeals and metal-to-metal grinding noises are typical signs you're past due for new brake pads and/or rotors. Other signs include longer stopping distances and more pedal travel before you feel significant braking force. If it's been more than two years since your brake parts were replaced, it's a good idea to have the brakes checked at every oil change or every six…
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