Should the brake pad wear indicator go on the inside or outside?

Should a brake pad wear indicator go on the inside or outside? I mean what’s the right way to install these squealers into your motor vehicle’s braking system? First things first, here’s a little bit about motor vehicle brake pad wear indicators in general;

There’s no doubt that these metal tabs, normally installed near the tops of brake pads, come in handy when it comes to a vehicle’s braking system.

They alert you when your brake pads are worn down and need replacing by making a squealing or grinding noise whenever you hit the brakes.

Unfortunately, not all brake pads are equipped with them, even though they can be easily added to such.

So, where does the brake pad wear indicator go—on the inside or outside?

On the inner side of the brake pad, which makes contact with the rotor whenever you hit the brake pedal to slow down or make the car come to a halt.

Does It Matter Where The Wear Indicator Goes On the Brake Pads?

Yes, very much. Remember that the brake pad has two sides;

The inner side—makes contact with the rotor whenever you step on the brake pedal. This creates friction between the two surfaces, slowing down wheel rotation and the vehicle or bringing it to a halt.

The outer side—attaches to the caliper. The latter fits like a clamp above the rotor and it houses the brake pad and piston each of which has a distinctive role in the braking system.

Due to the rigorous work that the inner side of the brake pad does, it’s subjected to more friction force than the outer side of the pad that attaches to the caliper.

Consequently, it wears out faster than the latter. Yet it needs to have a better grip than its counterpart for the brake to work effectively.

This is why it’s the most important brake pad side to monitor its wear and tear status. And this is why it does matter where the wear indicator goes on a brake pad. You want to install it on the inner side as opposed to the outside of the pad.

Does The Brake Pad Wear Indicator Go On The Top Or Bottom?

It should go on the bottom due to a few good reasons. First, this position ensures that the indicator doesn’t get caught on any burr(imperfection) on the rotor.

Secondly, it also makes sure that the squealer is louder because if it(the indicator/squealer) is on the top, it compresses. Thirdly, it ensures that the indicator doesn’t wear down together with the brake pad as it(the indicator) is in a better position to elongate.

The squealer should be in a position to elongate as it drags across the rotor, and most of the time, that position is at the bottom side of the caliper.

Can A Brake Pad Wear Indicator Go Wrong?

The short answer is yes. This system can go wrong due to many reasons including but not limited to;

  • Improper installation whereby you install the indicator in the wrong location within the wheel.
  • A wiring issue may hinder how the system works and its ability to be in sync with the computer.
  • The wear indicator has come loose, consequently getting damaged by the rotor.


Due to the rigorous nature of work that they are normally subjected to, brake pads often wear faster than any other components of a vehicle.

Unfortunately, worn-out pads hinder the efficiency of a car’s braking system in general. This can put your safety and that of your passengers at risk, so it’s recommended that you be always on the lookout for worn pads.

This is where brake pad indicators come in handy. Fitted on the brake pads, these systems continuously monitor the wear status of the pads, alerting the driver with a squealing noise each time they step on the brake pedal, so long as the pads are dangerously worn out.

Some brake pads come with in-built indicators whereas others allow you to install your own.

N/B: An indicator should be installed on the inner side of the brake pad that makes contact with the rotor.

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