What Causes Brake Pads to Crack?

When you experience a crack in the brake pad of your vehicle, it is a sign that parts of the brake are beginning to wear off and may need changing. When this happens, you must determine what causes brake pads to crack. It could result from rust, low-quality brake pads, faulty calipers, failing brake parts, and more.

When you notice the cracks in the brakes, you need to have a brake overhauling done immediately and have the problem fixed. 

what causes brake pads to crack

What Causes Brake Pads to Crack?

A brake pad crack could happen after some time of using your brake pad. Some brake pad manufacturers refer to it as a regular occurrence that would happen to your brake pads. It is not valid. There are many causes of cracks in brake pads; one of the most common ones is inferior quality brake pads.

Below are some of the common causes of cracked brake pads.

1. Rust

One of the common causes of brake pad cracks is dust in the brake pad or brake rotor. The brake system is exposed to many foreign elements like rain, snow, dew, and other conditions, which make the rotor rust. When the rotor begins to rust, it affects the brake pad causing rust to also develop on the brakes. Due to this, the brake could generate cracks on the surface.

2. Overheated brake friction

Another common reason a brake pad could get cracked is high friction between the brake pad and the rotor. There is meant to be friction between these parts but not too much. When the friction is high, it causes overheating.

When the brake pads are too hot, as they begin to cool down, the pad’s surface begins to crack up, or a glazed surface will be created. It is why you need to lubricate your brakes frequently to avoid this.

3. Inferior brake pads

An inferior brake pad is one of the most common causes of cracks on brake pads. Brake pad surfaces are made from many materials, including semi-metal and ceramics materials, and some may include glass or fiberglass. Inferior or cheap brakes use more metal materials, making them prone to cracks when exposed to friction. Also, this material could damage your rotor. 

4. Defective brake pads

Some brake pads come defective from the manufacturer. They may be cracked from production or may not be made well. When this happens, you can expect cracks in the brake pads.

5. Damaged Caliper or Pin

The caliper can get damaged after using them due to the movement of the part and exposure to external elements. The caliper could get worn out or experience other types of damage. When this happens, it affects the way the brake pad functions and can cause it to crack.

Signs of Cracked Brake Pads

A cracked brake pad has many signs indicating something is wrong with the brakes. You must pay attention to your vehicle’s brakes for signs to avoid being in a difficult situation caused by your brakes.

Below are signs that your brake pad has cracks in them.

Faster wear

When you have fast worn out brakes, it may mean that your brake pad is cracked, and you need to find out the cause fast. Cracked brake pads lose the materials on the surface of the pad. As the brakes are pressed in the rotor, the loosened surface begins to wear off faster. 

Inner pad wear

Innerwear occurs when excessive wear happens within the brake pads. The cracks in the pad could cause the pad to rub on the rotor even after the caliper has been released. What causes this are rust, faulty brake caliper, and more. When this happens, it could be time to change the brake pad and the caliper.

Contaminated brake pad

Contaminated brake pads are also a sign that there could be cracks in the pad, which could cause friction contamination. When your brake pads have cracks, they can easily get contaminated. When oil, brake fluid, and grease get into the caliper and eventually get to the brakes, the contamination of the pads becomes worse due to the cracks. It can enter into the cracks and loosen brake material.

Defective maintenance or broken parts or fluid lines mainly cause contamination.

Overlapping pad wear

Overlapping wear in the pad is when the pad edge overlaps when it makes contact with the rotor. It usually happens when the brake pads experience extreme cracks. Other causes may include damaged or worn out caliper bracket, wrong brake pad, or rotor and damaged caliper bracket.

Cracked Brake Pads You Tube

How to Fix Cracked Brake Pad

If you want a brake pad fixed, you need to figure out the cause of the damaged brake pad caused by the cracks. To be able to do this, you have to examine the wheel of the vehicle physically. Take out the tires and examine parts of the wheel. You can start with the calipers. If you can identify rusted parts of the caliper or broken parts, then you need to get it replaced as soon as possible.

Check the brake pads and the rotor for rust; if the rotor’s rusted parts are not extreme, you can get it cleaned and then lubricated properly. If the rust is extreme and affects the surface of the rotor, you have to change the rotor. Remember to do the same for the brake pads.

Furthermore, check the brake pads; if they are glazed, you need to know how to fix them. You will need sandpaper or any smoothening material to get the pad deglazed. Once you can unmount the wheel and get to the glazed brake pad, use the sandpaper to remove the glazes by rubbing the sandpaper on the pad’s surface using a swirling motion. Do the same to the surface of the rotor.

Also, check your brake for oil spills, you can check the brake caliper, brake pad, and rotor for any sign of grease, engine oil, or any other fluid then should not be there. If you also find fluid, you need to check the brake fluid line, check for engine oil leaks, and perform general and proper maintenance on your vehicle.

Avoid buying bad brake parts for your vehicle, which come with many disadvantages compared to how cheap you can get them. If you want your cracked brake pads fixed permanently, avoid buying cheap ones.

Can You Drive With A Cracked Brake Pad?

You can drive with a cracked brake pad, but only for a short time. Cracks on the brake pad may not cause significant damage to your vehicle or its wheel. Ensure to follow the brake pad wear chart and change the brake pad at the recommended mm. Usually, you are meant to change the brake pads when it reaches 3 mm. When you notice a crack in the brake pad, please pay more attention to the pads as they will wear faster.


What causes brake pads to crack? The cracked brake pad indicates something wrong with the braking system and can ensure the quality of the brake pad you are using. When you notice that your brake pads have cracks, it is time to have a brake overhauling. Ensure that it is done correctly, or you could get a professional to do it for you.

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am Akindayini Temiloluwa, an automotive expert writer and car enthusiast. I have over three years of experience in the automotive writing niche and have completed over 300 pieces of content from 50 projects. I have vast knowledge and skill in vehicle repairing, all mechanical work, car upgrades and maintenance. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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