What Does 10B Mean for Your Brakes?

So you just got your car back from the mechanic after a brake inspection, and the report has a mysterious “10B” code on it. What gives? Like many confused drivers, you find yourself wondering: what on earth does 10B mean for my brakes? Don’t sweat it, we’ve all been there. Brake codes can be confusing, but I’ll walk you through exactly what 10B means and what it says about the state of your brake pads.

Here’s a quick answer:

The “10B” brake code refers to bonded-style brake pads with 10mm of remaining friction material thickness. The “B” indicates bonded pad type, while the “10” means 10mm remain on the pad. This is slightly worn but still safe for braking. Plan to replace pads at 5mm or below to prevent brake issues through continued wear and tear.

Decoding the Brake Pad Codes

The “B” in 10B stands for “bonded.” This indicates the type of brake pad you have installed. Bonded brake pads have the friction material bonded directly to the metal backing plate. This differs from riveted pads that use metal rivets to attach the friction to the backing plate.

Now for the numbers. The “10” refers to the current thickness of your brake pad’s friction material in millimeters. Brand new pads typically start out with thickness ranging from 10mm to 12mm.

Here’s a handy cheat sheet to interpret those thickness measurements:

Bonded Brake Pad Codes

  • 10B = 10mm remaining
  • 11B = 11mm remaining
  • 12B = 12mm remaining

Riveted Brake Pad Codes

  • 7R = 7mm remaining
  • 6R = 6mm remaining
  • 5R = 5mm remaining

So in plain English, 10B means you have bonded-style brake pads with 10mm of friction material left. Pretty simple, right? As the pads wear down from use, that number will decrease with each brake inspection.

Why Brake Pad Thickness Matters

Monitoring brake pad thickness helps determine when they need replacement. As the pads wear thinner, they lose braking power and fade faster. You need adequate friction material for full braking capacity.

The general recommendation is to replace pads when they reach 3-4mm remaining. At this point, their ability to stop the vehicle declines rapidly. Of course, every vehicle is different, so check your owner’s manual for the pad thickness specifications for your make and model.

Pay attention if you start to notice changes in braking performance too. It could be a sign that your 10B brake pads are too far gone, even if they haven’t hit the minimum thickness yet. Symptoms include:

  • Longer stopping distance
  • Increased effort to brake
  • Spongy brake pedal feel
  • Brake pedal vibrations
  • Squealing or grinding noises

If you experience any of those issues, it’s smart to get your brake pads inspected right away. Worn pads left unchanged can lead to damaged rotors and brake failure, putting you in unsafe situations.

Interpreting Your 10B Brake Pad Report

Armed with the knowledge that 10B means you have 10mm of friction material left, what does that say about the current state of your brake pads?

Brand new pads tend to start at 11-12mm thickness, meaning 10mm is on the lower end of the spectrum. At 10mm, your pads likely have some miles on them depending on your driving habits and brake pad compound.

The good news is 10mm remaining should not raise any red flags yet. You’re still well above the minimum replacement threshold of 3-4mm on most vehicles. Of course, keep monitoring them at future brake inspections.

Here’s a general guideline based on measurements:

  • 8-12mm: Brake pads in good condition
  • 5-7mm: Brake pads worn, schedule replacement soon
  • 3-4mm: Worn brake pads, replace immediately for safety

So your 10B report suggests your brake pads, while worn in, still have ample friction material for safe braking. But be proactive and start budgeting for a pad replacement once they near 5mm or so.

Maximize Your Brake Pad Life

Want to stretch every mile out of your 10B bonded brake pads? Here are 5 easy driving habits you can build to maximize pad life:

  1. Avoid Aggressive BrakingRepeated hard braking heats up the pads dramatically, causing accelerated wear. Apply smooth, steady pressure instead for better pad life.
  2. Coast More to StopLook and plan ahead so you can simply lift off the gas to gradually slow your car. Combining this coasting technique with less aggressive braking saves your pads.
  3. Clean Wheels RegularlyBrake dust buildup on wheels leads to rust between the pad, rotor and caliper. This increases binding and drag during braking. Keep wheels clean to prevent premature wear.
  4. Carry Less WeightThe more mass in your car, the harder the brakes must work to decelerate. Lighten the load which lets pads last longer between replacements.
  5. Check Brake Fluid LevelsLow fluid levels indicate potential leaks or worn pads. Top it off to maintain proper hydraulic pressure for your brakes.

Doing brake inspections and pad replacements promptly is also key. But implementing those smart driving strategies helps you safely get every mile out of your 10B bonded brake pads.

The Bottom Line on 10B Brake Pads

I hope this breakdown demystifies the meaning of 10B on your brake inspection report. In review, here’s what you need to know:

  • The “B” stands for bonded brake pad style
  • The “10” indicates 10mm of friction material remains
  • 10mm is worn but still safe if braking seems normal
  • Plan replacement once 5mm or less is remaining
  • Adjust driving habits to extend pad lifespan

Monitoring brake pad wear by thickness is crucial for staying safe on the road. So take note of the measurements during inspections, and look for changes in braking performance too. With a grasp of what 10B means and smart driving, you can master the maintenance schedule for your brake pads.


What’s the difference between bonded and riveted brake pads?

Bonded brake pads have the friction material bonded directly to the backing plate, while riveted pads use metal rivets to attach the friction to the plate. Bonded pads tend to be less noisy but also more expensive.

Do the numbers for thickness measurements vary by vehicle?

Yes, the safe minimum and maximum thickness recommendations can vary depending on the make, model, and manufacturer specifications for your vehicle. Always check your owner’s manual.

My brake pads are at 7mm remaining. Is it time to change them?

At 7mm for riveted pads or 5-7mm for bonded pads, you are getting close to the danger zone. Schedule a replacement soon even if they haven’t quite reached the 3-4mm minimum yet. Don’t risk worn pads.

What are some driving habits that prematurely wear down brake pads?

Aggressive braking, not coasting to stops, insufficient brake system maintenance, carrying heavy loads, and ignoring brake fluid level warnings can all accelerate brake pad wear.

How can I tell when my 10B bonded brake pads need replacement without measurements?

Listen and feel for symptoms like squealing noises, a spongy brake pedal, increased stopping distance, vibrations, or extra effort required to slow your vehicle. Any of those signs mean your 10B pads could be compromised.

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