Bike Brake Pads Slipping (Reasons & Solutions)

Bike Brake Pads Slipping

One of the most common brake problems is the slipping of brake pads. When bike brake pads cannot stop the bike again, it is time to change them.

It is not uncommon for bike brakes to need repair or even a change. However, if you are experiencing problems with brake slippage, it is high time you change or repair them.

Bike brake pad slipping is mainly caused by a failing wheel cylinder or caliper. However, it can also be caused by worn rotors eating up the pads. Slipping is another term used for glazed brake pads, which means that the pads have lost their effectiveness in stopping the bike

Reasons and Solutions For Bike Brake Pads Slipping.

Bike Brake Pads Slipping

For obvious reasons, brakes are essential safety features on your bike. Different things are responsible for the slipping of the bike brake pads.

Since they are used constantly, they tend to stop working effectively over time. Below are some of the reasons why your bike brake pads stopped working well:

#1. Low Fluid

This is the primary cause of the slipping of bike brake pads and other brake problems. It simply means there is a low amount of brake fluid in the master cylinder of the bike.

Low brake fluid usually results in compression loss and eventually leads to braking loss. On the other hand, inadequate brake fluid increases the risk of total brake failure and other problems. 

It causes air to fill the gap in your brake line, leading to soft brakes.

Likewise, when there is a low amount of brake fluid in the bike, the bike shows some significant signs like slipping the brake.

Other signs include the brake warning light being on, the brake fluid appearing low, the brake pedal feeling spongy, and the car taking longer than normal to brake. 

To solve this, remove the cap of the master cylinder and top up the fluid in the brake. Avoid this if the cylinder is empty. Pouring fluid into an empty cylinder will push more air into the system.

If the brake fluid is below or at the “MIN” line, remove the reservoir cap and add brake fluid till it reaches the level below the “MAX” line. Ensure you do not overfill the cylinder.

#2. Worn Out Brake Pads

Worn-out brake pads or drums constitute a significant problem in bikes. According to physics, brakes use friction to the top when applied.

As a result of frequent use, brake pads experience wear and tear. This makes them ineffective when applied.

One of the noticeable symptoms is a squeaking sound whenever you want to apply the brakes. If the problem is not attended to on time, it can cause damage to the drums and rotors of the bikes. 

Replacement of the brake pads is the only solution to fixing this. If it has been occurring for a while, there will be a need to replace the drum and rotors.

Getting a professional to fix this is advisable to avoid making mistakes and fixing them wrongly.

The best thing is to get the pads fixed immediately you notice a problem to avoid it affecting other parts.     

#3. Problems With the Master Cylinder and the Wheel Cylinders

A working master cylinder is fundamental to proper braking. The master cylinder, a major bike component, is where the brake fluid is stored and sent to each of the wheel cylinders when pressure is applied.

When the brake pedal is pressed, the brake fluid applies force to the brake pads. 

When there is an issue with the master cylinder, the brake pedal will no longer be effective when pressed. This endangers the life of the operator.

Another sign of a bad cylinder is leakage. The leakage will initially start at the top of the cylinder and gradually go down to the brake lines.

For example, problems with the rear brake pad result from leakage around the rear cylinder.

Also, a bad master cylinder causes the brake fluid to be contaminated. The master cylinder creates a sealed environment for the brake fluid because the fluid is hygroscopic.

When the master cylinder goes bad, gas will begin to form in the cylinder.

The presence of gas in the brake line will not cause compression of the brake fluid to happen, resulting in the brake losing its braking ability.

After properly diagnosing the problem with the master cylinder, repairing the master cylinder is straightforward.

Likewise, the cylinder for the front brakes is easily accessible and easy to repair. The rear one is also straightforward to replace, but it might not be easily accessible. 

Take the bike to a certified mechanic shop to have an expert replace the cylinders. The mechanic will ensure that the replacement is done properly.

After fixing the cylinders, the brake fluid should be replaced with the recommended one. It is not advisable to put a used brake oil to avoid problems.

After putting the fluid, ensure you go through the process of bleeding the brakes. This involves getting air into the system to avoid the brake getting ineffective when applied. 

#4. Frozen Caliper

A frozen caliper means the piston of the hydraulic pump in the bike hydraulic disc exerts pressure once and becomes frozen after exerting the pressure.

This will cause the brake not to grip at all. To solve this, check the hydraulic pump and detach the caliper in order to apply the brake.

This will unfreeze the hydraulic ram’s piston and return to its original position.

#5. Distorted Rotor

The most common way to notice a distorted rotor is when the bike is producing strange sounds when moving.

The smooth rotor of the bike can get broken, which can lead to loss of brake effectiveness and other problems. 

To solve this, the rotor should be modified, and the surface should be scrapped. Most times, the solution to a bad bicycle disc brake rotor is the replacement of the rotor.


The brake is one of the essential features of a bike. Brake pad slipping is one of the major problems affecting a bike.

Keeping an eye on the brake is essential because they are exposed to elements that can make them degenerate over time.

Bile brakes slipping s a significant issue that could result in injury and accident when the brake eventually fails when riding the bike.

Josh Matthews

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