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What Are the Causes of One Brake Wearing Before the Other Three?

by Justin Cupler

The brake system on a vehicle consists of a complex system of hydraulics, mechanics and friction. On occasion, a problem can occur and cause uneven brake wear when one set of brake pads wears out faster than the rest. This problem may occur for several possible reasons.

Caliper Failure

Uneven brake pad wear most commonly occurs as a result of caliper failure. The calipers contain a piston that presses on the brake pads to stop the vehicle. When the driver releases the brake pedal, a seal inside the caliper pulls the piston away from the pad. Made from rubber, this seal can eventually lose its ability to pull back. This condition in turn causes the pads to put constant pressure against one of the brake rotors and cause that brake pad to wear significantly faster than the others.

Brake Hose

Brake hose failure takes place when the metal brake line sustains damage from impact or the rubber brake hose collapses due to age. This problem can create pressure in the hydraulic system that can force the piston caliper outward, dragging the brake pad along the rotor and causing that pad to wear at a faster rate.

Brake Pads

Manufacturers produce brake pads in mass quantities, testing them regularly for proper function before releasing them. Even with the checking, some defective pads can make it to store shelves; defective pads can wear quickly.

Slide Pins

The slide pins are the metal pins that allow the brake caliper to slide back and forth with the wheels. When these pins become corroded, the caliper can no longer slide. As a result, the caliper becomes stuck in one position; if it sticks in the right position, it can cause the pads to wear more quickly on that side. Typically, a wire brush and some grease will take care of the corrosion.

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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Photo Credits

  • brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from