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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just about to order brake pads for my 2013 Mazda 6 wagon as they are all worn out. There is no wear indication on the dashboard though, and that got me thinking.

I would be happy with pads that only have acoustic wear indicators, but will I run into problems if I install these, i.e. will the electronic wear indicator potentially start alerting me? Moreover - I am by no means a mechanic by profession, but the operation (judging by Youtube) seems pretty straight forward - are there some common and known problems and pitfalls to take into consideration?

I will be selling the car within short, so I would rather not overspend on expensive pads...
 

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If there's a sensor it is typically a wire embedded in the pad material that is broken when the pad reaches the wear limit. Thus, if you replace with a pad that doesn't have it, the vehicle end plug will be open and the light will be on the dash. You could cut the connector off the old pad and short the wires in it, which would prevent the light from coming on, then wire-tie or otherwise secure it out of the way.

The acoustic "wear indicators" are fine. It's not difficult to change pads and rotors but there are things to be aware of and inspect, and if you find wear there they need attention. In particular the slider pins need to be lubricated with brake-specific grease (it's a high-temp silicone based material; ordinary grease will overheat rapidly, fail and stick the pins which will trash the pads in very short order) and the dust boots, if deteriorated on the slider pins, need to be replaced. In addition you may need a special tool (which you can get from Autozone or similar if you don't have one; they'll loan it to you) to "wind back" many rear calipers as they will NOT go back in if pressed back in straight. Finally do check and make sure the dust boots on the pistons are not torn or deteriorated; if they are they can be replaced BUT doing so typically requires removing the piston from the bore and often you find deterioration in the bore and wind up replacing the impacted caliper anyway. You also need to wire-wheel the hub surface to make sure any debris or rust is off it so the mating surfaces are completely flat before putting the rotor on or you're asking for an immediate pulsation problem. In rust states it can also frequently be "fun" to get things apart.

The brake fluid should be changed when you're doing brakes if you haven't been doing it on 2-year intervals (and you should be); it's a LOT easier and faster to do that and to bleed the brakes with a power bleeder although it's not strictly required (a helper is sufficient with a bit of attention.) Again, in rust states it's not uncommon to find the bleeders frozen and occasionally it's impossible to loosen them without breaking them off, especially if the brakes have been neglected. If you have NOT been changing the fluid on a regular schedule it's VERY common that when you reset the caliper back in you'll get a leak on one or more of them as there's corrosion in the bore beyond where the piston is currently sitting. When you reset the piston back for the new pads that corrosion scores the piston and creates a leak, forcing either a caliper rebuild or (usually, due to time requirements) replacement.

I don't particularly care for the "wired" monitors since people get complacent instead of checking them somewhat-regularly and a common failure mode for brakes is for the slider pins to stick, especially in rust belt states, due to the boots deteriorating undetected and contamination getting in the bore. Then one side of the pad wears MUCH faster than the other. If that's the side without the wire you get no warning until you're out of pad and then it's "scrape-scrape" time. Brake condition should be checked by appearance when the tires are rotated, at most on every second oil change or annually (whichever is first); since you have to take the wheel off to get a good look at them having a good look-see when you're rotating the tires takes just a few extra seconds.
 

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Many, many thanks for this very extensive reply @tickerguy - it clarified a lot! I have checked the rotors when changing for winter tires, and they look fine - so they'll be staying on. As you indicate there naturally might be other things needing attention once I start - but I sure hope not...... The Mazda is my only car and finding spare parts with short notice in Sweden (where Mazda is very uncommon) is a bit of an expedition that would need to be done on electric scooter. I believe I might need to reconsider this plan, as plans have a tendency not to match reality when the disassembly process is initiated.
 
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