Which Brake Pad Goes On The Outside

which brake pad goes on the outside? If you don’t know the answer to this, then read it here.

Last week while I was driving my pickup truck, I could hear the squealing sound when pressing the brake pedal. The noise was telling me it was time I changed my truck’s brake pads. The last time when my truck’s brake disc needed a repair, I took it to the body shop. But it cost me a fortune to get the job done and left me dissatisfied. 

This time I planned to do the job all by myself, but honestly, the job was tedious and took quite some time. The major confusion was between the type of brake pads. I learned that the inner and the outer brake pads are entirely different from each other. And if I mix up the pads, the caliper can hit the wheel spokes and damage the entire braking system. 

Hence to spare you the horror, I will help you understand which brake pad goes on the outside. You will also learn which brake pad goes on the inside. Also, how can you differentiate between the inside and outside brake pads?


Which Brake Pad Goes On The Outside

Which Brake Pad Goes On Which Side?

Whenever you order or, say, buy brake pads, you will get two brake pads together. One shall always be an inside brake pad, while the other will be the outside brake pad. It can be challenging to understand which brake pad goes on which side

Some brake pad manufacturers stamp them with I and O. Where “I” indicates inside and “O” indicates outside. This way, you can easily figure out which brake pads go on which side

However, some manufacturers don’t practice the same and leave us to identify the inside and outside brake pads. Here you need to be very careful and look at the size of the pads. The larger one goes outside and the smaller one inside. 

If this doesn’t help, you can also look at their design. Some manufacturers at least take the burden of designing the two pads differently. The inner pad often has two ears on the pad’s top which match the positions of the brake calipers. But the outer pad does not, which helps to identify them separately. 


Which Brake Pad Goes On The Outside

Does The Brake Pad With The Tab Go On The Inside Or Outside?

A metal tab attached to the pad assembly is the brake’s wear indicator. The indicator indicates when the brake pads have thinned. What happens here is, as the brake pads wear out, the tabs start rubbing against the rotor. This constant rubbing creates a squealing sound when brakes are applied

Hence, the brake pad with the tab goes on the inside. style=”font-weight: 400;”> The tab should be positioned so that the rotor contacts the tab before it contacts the brake pad. The pad with this wear indicator should be on the inside of the caliper since the inside pad wears faster than the outside pad.

Does The Orientation of The Brake Pads Matter?

Yes, it does matter which way brake pads are installed. If you plan to do all the repair and installation work yourself, you must take extra care upon installing brake pads or servicing any other part of the braking system. The braking system is the working system of the vehicle. It helps you control the vehicle and keeps you safe, and allows you to stop when needed. If the pads are installed incorrectly, problems may arise in the future when driving the car. Hence, extra care and vigilance are essential.

As discussed earlier, a brake pad comes in two units: inside brake pads and outside brake pads. It is always advisable to install the inside brake pads to the inside of the caliper and vice-versa. If, by chance, you install them the wrong way, your brake pads will wear faster than expected. It will resultantly rub the aluminum rotor and produce a squealing noise and damage the rotor. Hence it does matter which way brake pads are installed.


Which Brake Pad Goes On The Outside

Brake Pad Problems You Should Watch Out For?

If you don’t know which brake pads go and resultantly install them incorrectly, certain sensations and sounds can tell you that your brake pads need attention. Some of these sensations and sounds are:

Brake warning light

If you install brake pads incorrectly, the brake pads start thinning vigorously. As soon as the pads start rubbing the rotor, the dashboard indicator lights could come on. There can be several other reasons for the indicator lights to turn on, such as low brake lube level, problems in the brake’s hydraulic system, or parking brake engagement. Due to all these reasons, the brake system may work inefficiently. But predominantly, if you don’t know which brake pads go and install them incorrectly, the brake warning light will turn on.

Sensation in the steering wheel or shaking of the brake pedal

Incorrect installation of brake pads causes the brake pads to rub against the rotor, which damages the entire brake system before you even realize it, because of which shivers and shakes in the steering wheel or brake pedal can be felt. This can be dangerous while driving.

Squealing noise

Metal-on-metal rubbing produces a sharp squeaking sound. This is a clear indicator that you did not install the brake pads correctly. 


Which Brake Pad Goes On The Outside

How Often Should Brake Pads Be Inspected?

Brake pads need regular attention; hence after your car has covered 5000 miles or it has become five months old (whichever is earlier), you must get the brake pads inspected. Or, if you encounter any of the above three problems, you must give quick attention to your car’s braking system. 

Wrapping Up

Our car is our asset, and it is our duty to keep it in good condition. Hence whenever you plan to change the brake pads, make sure you place the correct pad in the correct place. This will ensure the long life of brake pads and keep you and your family safe. 

I hope you found the above information useful. If I could be of any help, do write it in the comments section. Suggestions are also most welcome. 


Safe Driving!

Photo of author

Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

Leave a Comment