I had an intermittent rotational grinding noise in the 3 lately, sometimes when driving at low speeds, sometimes when braking, sometimes both when I had more than myself in the car.

I knew the front pads were getting low when I bought the car, and noticed the rears were low when I changed the shock mount last month.

Problem is, just the RIGHT REAR is worn low enough to concern me, and the fronts looked okay so I thought the rear was the culprit.

So I took all four wheels off, and found the INNER right front pad to be metal-on-metal. Strangely it wasn’t making noise all the time. The inner left front was nearly as worn as well. But the outers still had some life in them. Meh.

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I started with spreading the caliper:

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Then removing the retaining spring clip:

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Then using the wrong type of tool (Torx instead of hex head) to remove the slide pins. But it worked, so NYAH:

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This is what I found when I pulled the inner pad out:

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Now here’s the part where you all point and laugh at me.

When I bought the car I had them replace the left front wheel bearing. In doing so they had to destroy the rotor to get it off, so I got a new one of those.

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In my pile of belongings I took with me when I left the Mazda dealer was half a set of pads...

See where I’m going here?

Yep. I did a “pad slap”. And not only that, I ONLY replaced the front inner pads on both sides.

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I know, I know, I’m a cheap ghetto bastard. But I don’t know when I’ll have time to work my car again, and I didn’t feel like running to the parts store for pads Saturday afternoon. And you know what? It drives and stops just fine. No more noise.

I’ll replace them with new pads, and a new right front rotor (I might even cut the left front!) eventually. Add that to the list that’s no including rear brakes, parking brake cables (stretched & only the right rear grabs... probably why those pads are worn but the left rears), rear shocks (weak), left front axle (torn boot), and motor mount (leaky and noisey).