Brake Wear Sensors In-Depth

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June 07, 2018

Nowadays, electronic brake pad wear sensors are fitted to a wide variety of modern cars and especially European cars. They let you know when it’s time to swap out your brake pads for a fresh set. But how do they work? And how often do they need to be replaced?

Electronic brake pad wear sensors replace the traditional metal squealer tabs found more commonly in braking systems. These tabs work by rubbing against the rotor once the pads have reached the end of their service life. By making a loud squeal, it lets the driver know that the brakes are up for a service.

The downside to this apart from the squeal, is that most drivers tend to ignore the warning, thinking the sound will eventually go away. Electronic brake wear sensors eliminate this noise and give you a more accurate gauge on how much brake pad life is left.


Brake Wear Sensors In-Depth

The wear sensors are designed to break or complete a circuit once the brake pad has worn enough for the sensor to contact the brake rotor. A warning light will usually light up on the dash, indicating it’s time for a brake pad change.

Basic brake wear systems feature a sensor at each corner of the vehicle and is usually installed within the inner brake pad. However the number of wheels fitted with sensors and placement on the brake pad can vary from car to car. These systems simply consist of a loop of wire with a small of current running through it.


Modern brake wear sensors have gained a few more tricks up their sleeves. Not only do they warn the driver of a due brake service, but they can also estimate how much you’ll get out of your current brake pads. These trick sensors work using two resistor circuits running parallel at two depths, also known as twostage sensors. As the first resistive circuit breaks, the resistance in the sensor increases. This is used to gather information such as wheel speed, brake pressure, brake disc temperature, brake operating time and mileage to estimate the life left in your brake pads. This is usually displayed in your car’s information centre or as a warning light that varies in colour as the pad wears. Once the second circuit is broken, the circuit becomes open. This triggers the warning light that lets you know that it’s time for a brake service.


As brake pad wear sensors are designed to break or complete a circuit by contacting the brake rotor, they aren’t a reusable item. Brake pad wear sensors should be replaced with every brake pad change. Bendix supplies brake pad wear sensors to suit a wide range of vehicles. Our Bendix Euro+ Brake Pads also come with all of the necessary clips, shims and sensors for most popular makes, so that you’re fully equipped for your next brake pad change. Ask your mechanic for Bendix brakes at your next service.

Bendix’s brake wear sensors are a guaranteed fit for most common makes and models. To check with your nearest Bendix stockist for brake sensors to suit your car, visit

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