3 FAQs On Brake Pad Sensors
Here’re answers to some common questions regarding brake pad wear sensors:
1. What Is A Brake Pad Sensor?
A brake pad wear sensor or brake pad indicator is a safety feature in your vehicle. It can help keep track of your brake pad thickness and alert you when it’s time to get a pad replaced.
Typically there are two types of brake wear sensors found on vehicles:
- Mechanical Wear Sensor.
A mechanical sensor (also called a wear indicator) is a metal plate designed to come in contact with the rotor or brake disc when the wear has reached the desired pad thickness.So, when you hit your brake pedal and hear a sharp screeching sound, it’s your pad wear sensor indicating that it’s time for a brake pad replacement.
- Electronic Wear Sensor
An electronic pad wear sensor contains a resistor circuit that monitors the brake pad wear.
When the thickness of the pad material decreases, the sensor wire comes in contact with the rotor or brake disc. As a result, the circuit breaks and illuminates the brake indicator light on your dashboard.
A vehicle can have one or more sensors installed (one on the front brake pad and a rear sensor on the rear brake pads). These sensors also come with their own software and algorithm to predict the brake pad life.
Some vehicles may even have an electric pad wear sensor built into the OEM pads, or they could be attached separately to aftermarket pads.
2. When Do I Need A Brake Pad Sensor Replacement?
Since a pad wear sensor is a part of your brake pad system, it doesn’t need to be replaced on its own.
You can simply get a new sensor installed whenever you get a new pad.
It’s also recommended to get your sensors inspected as a part of your regular brake service and allow a pad change when necessary.
3. How Do I Change A Brake Pad Wear Sensor? (Step-By-Step)
Whether you own a Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen AG, or an Audi, replacing an electronic brake pad wear sensor as a DIY repair is not difficult.
But hiring a professional mechanic or taking your car to the dealership for this brake job is always better. Wrong placement of any brake component can damage the whole braking system and endanger your safety on the road.
If you still plan to do the wear sensor replacement yourself, here are the steps to replace an electronic brake wear sensor.
Note: You should follow these steps once you’ve already replaced your brake pad.
- Jack up the vehicle and remove the required wheel to expose the wheel hub. If replacing the rear brake pad wear sensor, jack up the passenger side (right rear) wheel. Likewise, jack up the driver’s side wheel if replacing the front sensor.
- Locate the brake pad wear sensor. It’s usually installed within the inner brake pad of front or rear brakes. However, the number of brake pad sensors and their placement can vary from vehicle to vehicle.
- Now, use a flat head screwdriver to pry out the old sensor.
- Next, unhook the wear sensor from the brake caliper release valve.
- Pull out the sensor wire from the strut bracket.
- Open the black box mounted on the wheel well and pull the connector out of the box.
- Press the release tab on the connector to separate the sensor wire.
- Install the new sensor in reverse order. Ideally, you should get a sensor with the same part number as the old one. However, it’s not mandatory.
- Set the wheel back on the car and remove the jack stand.
- Once done, follow your vehicle’s OE-recommended repair procedure to reset the brake indicator light.