The sensor itself consists of a simple plastic enclosed wire loop. As pads wear down and pads become exposed to friction from rotating machinery, its wire becomes exposed and eventually cut by friction which breaks its circuit and triggers your dashboard warning light.
ECS Tuning has developed a direct-fit brake pad wear sensor bypass to mislead your vehicle into thinking its pads are still intact, thus disabling that pesky dashboard warning light.
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Brake Pad Wear Sensor Bypass
Brake pads are an essential part of any vehicle and it is imperative that they are in top shape for safe driving. Without working brake pads, an accident could occur that could result in death or severe property damage. Most cars contain a safety feature that warns drivers when their brake pads have become low; unfortunately this feature can become annoying at times as its warning light illuminates. Thankfully, bypassing this switch is easily achieved in just a few steps.
Disclaimer: Any modification to the electrical system of your car should be undertaken at your own risk! Any attempts at modification can cause serious damage and/or spark fires, so it’s highly advised that prior to undertaking any type of modification it would be wise to consult a professional.
If you have installed a custom or upgraded braking system, then you may have encountered an issue where your front brake pads wear sensor does not connect properly with its connector on the vehicle. When this occurs, the sensor won’t be able to notify its computer of low brake pads causing a warning on your dash board.
ECS Tuning offers an easy-to-install sensor bypass solution to this issue. It plugs directly into the factory harness connector and retaining bracket on your vehicle and deceives its electronics into thinking your brake pads have enough material without setting off dash warnings. It is designed for most modern VAG vehicles equipped with wear sensor wires.
Brake Pad Wear Sensor Replacement
Not like their older counterparts that only scraped along your rotor when pads were low, modern brake pad wear sensors provide additional functions such as monitoring the amount of material left in each pad, calculating remaining life, and working with other aspects of your car to predict when your pads will wear out completely. Therefore, it is imperative to replace your sensor as soon as possible to avoid further complications in driving performance.
For decades, cars lacked electronic wear sensors; instead they relied on metal fins scraping against the rotor when your pads reached wear threshold and would make a squeal that alerted you or your mechanic it was time for service. Since then, technology has advanced considerably; now many cars include an embedded sensor in each brake pad that will trigger your service light when its replacement becomes imminent.
The pad wear sensor is an electrical sensor equipped with a resistor circuit that can generate multiple-stage brake warnings through dashboard indicator lights depending on pad thickness. When its wire comes into contact with a rotor, however, its circuit breaks and thus the dashboard service light illuminates.
There is an easy and cost-effective solution available that allows drivers to fool their vehicle’s computer into thinking there is still enough pad material remaining, thus keeping the brake service light off. Unfortunately, ignoring it could eventually result in your pads wearing down to their metal parts, leading to metal-on-metal contact and creating loud grinding noises when stopping your car.
Installing a brake pad wear sensor correctly is also vitally important, as improper removal and reinstallation could damage the brake caliper piston and force its rebuild or replacement. For this reason, professional brake repair shops offer full brake service including wheel removal and fitting with new pads with sensors.
Brake Pad Wear Sensor Repair
For decades, cars relying on traditional metal tabs that would rub against your brake rotor when your pads were low to indicate when replacement was necessary. While this often caused annoying and distracting squeals when applying brakes, it did serve its purpose of alerting drivers that their pads had worn down significantly. Newer systems use electronic sensors which measure wear levels to monitor whether new pads should be purchased – giving an indicator in your dash when it is time for a set.
Unfortunately, sensors may become compromised while working on other parts of your car or by something as innocuous as wheel bearing failure. A broken sensor wire could result in your brake service warning light remaining illuminated even though your pads are intact.
Sensors are usually small plastic devices equipped with two wires connected at either end to create an internal closed circuit. When pads are new, sensors should be located nearer the center of each pad rather than closer to its face for best performance; as pads wear down however, their proximity increases and chances increase that contact will occur thus breaking off the circuit and opening it back up again.
Sooner or later, new sets of pads wear down enough for their sensor to activate a brake service warning on your dashboard. The exact amount of wear depends on factors like vehicle, driving habits and pad type you use – the latter of which may vary significantly between drivers.
As brake pads can reach their final state before triggering a dashboard warning light in as little as 1000 miles, many drivers prefer installing an ECS Tuning direct-fit front brake pad wear sensor bypass kit in their vehicle’s factory harness connector and retaining bracket. This kit will fool the electronics into thinking there is still sufficient pad material in your brake pads – thus avoiding an unnecessary dashboard warning light from appearing.
This solution won’t provide a permanent fix – as it will simply stop the brake service warning light from staying illuminated – but it does provide a short-term fix by helping you determine when pads require replacement without manually checking them on a regular basis and risking rotor damage or an accident. Just be sure to replace the sensor wire after any brake job so the car continues functioning normally; inspect pads regularly regardless!
Brake Pad Wear Sensor Installation
Most modern cars use sensors in the brake pad to help determine when it’s time for replacement. These small resistors communicate with a computer module and inform it how much life remains in the pads, wear rates and whether replacement should occur – this helps avoid costly rotor damage while keeping drivers and passengers safe on the road.
These sensors work simply. A wire runs between two wear blocks at the top of a pad. When these blocks wear down enough to where their wire touches the brake disc, their circuit breaks and your car’s ECU illuminates your brake light.
However, sometimes even thick pads don’t register with the car’s computer and continue sending warnings of low pad thickness – leading to flashing brake lights and further annoying motorists.
Although replacing and resetting the ECU code to turn off the brake warning light is possible, this approach should be avoided as it is costly and will still not address the root of the issue. A better solution would be using a brake wear sensor bypass device which offers an economical yet straightforward approach that works on all BMWs.
To install the sensor bypass, first take one rear brake pad out and locate the sensor which should be clipped into a spring on the inner brake pad. To unclip it from this spring and release the anti-rattle clip. Pulling on this clip releases it from its spring attachment; open one end of its two ends so as to reveal its plug end and insert into a hole on your wear sensor, clip back into its original place before installing your next pad.
Sensor bypass devices should fit seamlessly into most modern VAG vehicle harness connectors and retaining brackets, fooling their ECU into thinking there is still enough brake material present to avoid warning lights. While it might be tempting to bypass safety features yourself, doing so can be very dangerous; always consult a professional mechanic when bypassing safety devices.