I had my brakes re-done this spring. When summer rolled around & I had the windows down more, I noticed a front end rattle. I recently took my car into a different place for a different problem & asked them about the rattle. They said when my brakes were done they neglected to put shims in, so now the pads rattle against the rotors. The first place is going to fix this, but my question is: Have my pads been damaged or their life reduced by rattling around for months without shims?
I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. The main reason the hardware is there is to prevent the noise. The second reason is to prevent wear on the pad mounting surface of the steering knuckle. I have seen the pad slides on the steering knuckle wear out on vehicles that use no brake pad shims, but it takes many years to put any significant wear on the parts. A few months isn’t going to do anything damaging to your car. I say get the hardware installed and forget about it.