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Old 10-25-2005, 10:41 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 178
Flickering yellow brake pad warning light

It happened today on my way to school. First it came and went that I thought it was just some reflection, but then it came on again and disappeared. Some times the light is faint, sometimes bright but never stayed on very long. It does this while I'm driving (no braked applied). I just did a search and understand I'm due for new pads. My main question is how many miles do I have before rotor damage and other nasty things happening? I read somewhere that I may have 5000 miles more? That's a lot! Of course, I don't plan to keep driving until the maximum (or even the minimum) miles have been reached. I just don't have much time atm and will need to use the car for a bit until I have time to take it to the shop. I need some reassurance that I can still operate the car after this warning light has come on. I don't want to be driving and constantly being in fear that the brakes will give out! Thanks, y'all!

Forgot to ad that after I got off the freeway, which was a downhill ramp, the light did not come on as I applied the brakes, at times with full pressure. It just flickers intermitently atm.

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Old 10-25-2005, 10:57 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
Take the wheel off and measure the amount of friction material remaining on the pad. Min thickness is 2mm. How long you have depends on a lot of factors.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel
2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Merlin Extralight w/ Campy Record
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Old 10-26-2005, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Holland, MI
Posts: 1,316
Originally Posted by frosty
...My main question is how many miles do I have before rotor damage and other nasty things happening? I read somewhere that I may have 5000 miles more? That's a lot!
Well, it's like trying to answer the question "How long will my money last?" It depends on how you spend itl.

You have a given thickness of pad left. The amount that is removed each time you apply the brakes depends on the amount of energy that must be absorbed, which depends on how hard you press and for how long.

If your driving involves a lot of cross-country cruising, you could to many thousands of miles. In a large urban metro area and agressive driving, you might be able to go 100 miles.
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Old 10-26-2005, 12:39 PM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
Well, consider the worst case.

Even if you were to deplete what is left of your pads, it is unlikely that you will not be able to stop.

Stopping power may not be ideal in an emergency, and things may get loud, but it will not be that bad under normal braking circumstances.

Realistically, I would bet you have at least 1000 miles (probably more), depending upon usage patterns.

If there was any chance of not replacing the rotors with your next brake job, this will no longer be possible if the pads are depleted.

I never get more than one set of pads through a rotor anyways, so I would not be concerned about this part.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 10-26-2005, 03:45 PM
G-Benz's Avatar
Razorback Soccer Dad
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
I'll answer the question that really is quite subjective...for a typical daily driver, you have about three more months of usable pad life left before metal and rotor shall meet! You translate that however you want in terms of mileage.

I generally replaced my pads within a month of getting the first "blink" out of the pad wear indicator.

However, this past summer, I knew I was going to do a full-circle brake job, so I let the light illuminate the cockpit for nearly FOUR months before I finally pulled the wheels. There was still enough meat left on the pads for another month when I replaced them!

My daily driving involves a hybrid of city/highway miles totalling 50 or so per day, 5 days a week. My ML cruises the streets on weekends...
2009 ML350 (106K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (80K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (138K) - My daily driver
2016 Mustang (32K) - Daughter's car
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Old 10-26-2005, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Posts: 1,946
It flickers first.

Eventually it will be constant.

Kent Christensen
'07 GL320CDI, '06 SLK350
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