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How Long Do Brakes Last?

Car braking on road

December 1, 2021 Topic: Safety Tips

There’s nothing more important than having properly functioning brakes on your car. How long brakes last is dependent on a few factors: what kind of brake pads your car uses, how you drive, and where you drive. Learn about how to know your brake pads are worn out, when you need to replace them, and how to make brake pads last longer in this guide.

How Many Miles Do Brakes Last?

There’s no standard answer to this question. Car manufacturers estimate that brake pads can last anywhere between 20,000 to 70,000 miles. On average, most car owners replace their brake pads after 40,000 miles to ensure they’re still in good shape. A few factors can determine how fast brake pads wear, so we’ll explore those next.

Why Do Brake Pads Wear?

Ultimately, brake pads wear because of friction. Day to day use, car mileage, the environment, and the driving habits of the driver all take a toll on brake pads.

Drivers that live in busy cities and experience stop-and-go traffic are more likely to wear down their brake pads than a driver that lives in a rural area. Braking at a lower speed means your brake pads won’t have to exert much force to get your vehicle to stop. Braking at high speeds, on the other hand, can take a serious toll on your brakes. The front of your vehicle handles a greater weight transfer than the back of the vehicle, causing your front brake pads to wear down faster than your rear pads.

The type of brake pads your car uses can also determine how long they’ll last. There are three main types of brake pads: organic brake pads, semi metallic brake pads, or ceramic brake pads.

Organic brake pads typically have the lowest lifespan of all three types of brake pads since they are made from a mixture of materials like rubber, carbon, glass/fiberglass, secured together by resin.

Semi metallic pads have a better durability since they are 30%-70% metal. You can expect a semi metallic pad to last for about 50,000 miles.

Ceramic pads are made from ceramic materials mixed with copper fibers. These car brake systems are usually found in luxury cars and are meant for comfortable braking. They aren’t meant for high-performance conditions, but generally have a long lifespan when used in the right conditions.

How To Know When Your Brake Pads Are Worn Out

There are a variety of warning signs that can indicate your car may need new brake pads including:

  1. Indicator light turns on. Some modern vehicles have an indicator light that flashes when a sensor in the brakes has determined that the brake pads are too thin.
  2. Squeaking or squealing noise coming from brakes. As the brake pad surface wears down, you’ll eventually hear a squealing noise because the pads and rotors are making contact.
  3. Vibrating brake pedal. Damaged or excessively worn pads can also be one of the causes of brake pedal vibration.
  4. Deep grinding metal sound. The metal-on-metal sound is typically caused by excessively worn down brake pads grinding on the rotor.
  5. Brake pads appear less than a ¼ inch thick. If your brake pads appear thin, they have reached the end of their recommended wear limit.
  6. Car pulls to one side of the road when you brake. If your brakes have worn unevenly (stuck brake caliper), your car may begin to pull to one side as you brake.
  7. Brake pedal is less responsive when pushed. If you feel like your car takes longer to stop after applying pressure to your brake pedal, your brake pads may be worn out.

How To Make Brake Pads Last Longer

A few small changes to your daily driving routine can help lengthen the lifespan of your brake pads. Here are some tips to making your brake pads last longer:

Brake Pad Replacement at Brakes To Go

If your car is due for a brake pad replacement, contact the experts at Brakes To Go. Get a free quote today to fix all of your brake issues with top quality service and unmatched convenience.

Next, learn what to do if your brakes fail while driving.