1 mm Left on Brake Pads – What should I Do?

If you suspect you have 1mm left on brake pads, you should replace it immediately. Otherwise, it will damage your discs and you can also face risky braking.

Having 1 mm brake pads show that the pads are worn out and will not be able to provide adequate braking for the vehicle. In such a situation, the car will experience uneven braking, and sometimes, the pad will damage the car’s rotor.

We recommend regularly inspecting the brake properties to identify and replace thin pads.

1 mm left on brake pads

Should I Drive With 1 mm Left On Brake Pads?

The brake pad minimum thickness should be more than 2 mm, and you should change it before it attains this level. You should avoid driving your vehicle with a pad thickness of 1 mm. With only 1 mm thickness left, the brake pad lifespan is critically near at its end. Such wear and tear signal an urgent need to replace them with OEM parts, ensuring compatibility and optimal performance. Driving with a brake with a lesser extent of thickness could be dangerous. The brake would not be effective, and it could also cause damage to the rotor. Thus, brake pad will be loose in caliper which will impact braking efficiency.

New brake pads have a thickness of about 8 mm to 12 mm. With this level of width, it can take your vehicle between 30,000 to 70,000 miles. Some can last up to 100,000 miles. However, due to many factors and conditions of the wheel, the pads may only be able to last for a while.

When your vehicle’s pad thickness goes below 3 mm, you should change it. However, the brake will still be able to function in this condition, but mechanics from experience have been able to conclude that it is best to replace or use anti-seize on it then. Once the pad thickness goes below 3 mm and is heading to 1 mm, it could be dangerous to your wheel and rotors. If you pay attention to the pad’s thickness, you might spend more than intended to fix your rotor.

How Long Does 1mm of Brake Pad Last?

Before understanding how long a 1 mm brake pad can last, you should first consider how many miles per mm of the brake pad. Typically, each mm on brake pads should last between 4,000 to 7,000 miles depending on its type and the condition of the parts of the wheel.

A brake pad with about 1 mm of thickness left should last as long as every other millimeter. Unfortunately, that is only sometimes the case. A brake thickness with 1 mm lefts always tends to wear faster due to some factors.

One factor is that the brake is worn out and loose in the caliper. A loose caliper will fasten the level of wear in the pads.

Also, a 1 mm brake pad wears faster. The thicker the pad, the more it can withstand the friction from the application. As the brake becomes thinner, it begins to lose its ability to withstand friction as it used to.

You should not expect much from a 1 mm thick pad. Instead, get it replaced as soon as possible. If you waste too much time, it could also be risky for your vehicle and you. According to the brake pads thickness chart, it should be changed immediately.

Signs of 1 mm Worn Brake Pad

Identifying signs of 1 mm brake pads is critical for vehicle safety. Here are the key indicators:

  1. Reduced Braking Efficiency: The most noticeable sign is a decrease in braking efficiency. If your vehicle takes longer to stop or requires more pressure on the brake pedal, it could indicate severely worn pads.
  2. Squealing Noises: Brake pads often have a small metal shim known as an indicator, which produces a loud squeal when the pad is worn down to a critical level. If you hear persistent high-pitched noises during braking, it’s a strong sign that your pads are near or at 1mm thickness.
  3. Dashboard Warning Light: Many modern vehicles have brake pad sensors that trigger a warning light on the dashboard when the pads are excessively worn. If this light illuminates, it’s advisable to check your brake pads as soon as possible.
  4. Pulsation in the Brake Pedal: When brake pads wear unevenly or are extremely thin, they may cause the brake pedal to vibrate or pulsate when applied. It is due to the reduced surface area of the pad making uneven contact with the brake disc.
  5. Poor Brake Response: Along with reduced efficiency, you might notice that the brakes respond poorly or feel ‘spongy’. This can be due to the lack of material on the pads affecting the hydraulic system of the brakes.
1mm brake pad

Remember, driving with a 1 mm brake pad is dangerous and can significantly increase your stopping distance. It is important to address this issue immediately to ensure the safety of you and others on the road.

What Is The New Brake Pads Width?

A new brake pad size should be between 8 to 12 mm. It varies because some cars use a particular size. It could also be the brand that you are buying.  

Furthermore, you must check the pad width before buying one to know how long it will last. A specific brake pad suits particular vehicles, and you must consult your vehicle’s manual to see the type that will fit your vehicle.

How to Check Brake Pad Thickness?

If you want to check your vehicle’s brake pad thickness mm, you can do it yourself. All you have to do is follow the right procedure, and you will be done within a few minutes.

Below is an easy step to check the thickness of your brake pad.

1. Park your vehicle on a safe and level surface and apply the parking brake. Ensure that you park on a smooth surface.

2. Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel. Do not remove the nuts.

3. Jack up the vehicle, and ensure that it is the part of the vehicle that you will be checking. Before jacking the car, place wheel stops or anything that could stop the tire from moving.

4. Remove the tire by removing the lug nuts and unmounting it.

5. You can visibly see the pads through the side of the caliper, which means that you do not need to remove them.

6. You should be able to see both pads; if you can only see one, then the other is completely worn out.

7. You can quickly pivot the caliper and measure the exact thickness of the brake pad. Although measuring them is not necessary, you can quickly determine the width level by just looking at them.

8. After determining the brake pad’s thickness mm, you can then go on to reinstall your tires and lower the vehicle.

If the pads are at 3mm or below, you may need to install new brake pad as soon as possible.

Should I Replace Brake Pads At 2mm?

According to the brake pad wear chart, your brake pad is due for servicing after it hits 3 mm. So if it has a 2 mm thickness, then you need to get the brake changed. The minimum thickness of brake padsthat your vehicle should have should be between 1.5mm and 2mm.

If, after checking your pad’s thickness, you realize that the thickness is below 2 mm, it could be bad for your brake performance.

When Should I Replace My Brake Pads?

Every driver must change their brake pad between 30,000 to 70,000 miles of use. Doing this allows you to keep the wear and damage caused by worn-out pads at a minimum. However, some may require a much longer time to change and may last up to 100,000 miles.

replace brake pads

The millimeter of the pad thickness comes with could determine how long it will last. A good brake pad thickness is between 8 mm to 12 mm. Those with an 8 mm brake thickness might only last for a short time as those with a brake pad width of 12 mm. Thus, if you notice the brake pad thickness is 2 mm or less, change it immediately.


Brake pads are an important part of the vehicle, and an idea of the size of its thickness is essential. The pad thickness level tells you when to change it. According to the thickness chart, you are expected to change the pad soon when it goes below the 3 mm level of thickness.

Ensure that you are not driving your vehicle with 1mm left on brake pads. It is dangerous and could affect the quality of braking on the car. It could also damage the wheel’s rotor if not changed immediately.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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