Reading the brake pads is simply checking to see how the brake pads have worn through their life. If uneven or premature wear has taken place, one of the objectives of the brake job would be to correct the cause of this wear. Simply hanging another set of pads isn’t going to correct the problem.
It is quite common for different pad wear patterns to overlap causing a wide variety of possible pad wear patterns. To further complicate the issue, each of the pad wear types seen can have more than one cause. If you factor all of this in, it is easy to see that when premature or uneven pad wear presents itself, a certain amount of diagnosis is in order.
Uneven or premature pad wear is not the fault of the friction. The “soft pad” theory that has been around forever, doesn’t hold water. If you want a long-term solution to this problem, diagnose and inspect the vehicle for the source of the wear before servicing it.
To aid in this process, below is a quick check list of the different types of pad wear and the most likely causes.