Brake pads play an essential role in your vehicle’s braking system. The brake pads clamp onto your rotors and slow your car down with friction. Certain pieces, like your brake pads, should be replaced at regular intervals for your system to keep functioning.
So, how often should your brake pads be replaced? The answer will vary based on your brake pads, driving habits, and other factors, but a general range would be every 10,000 to 60,000 miles. We encourage you to consult your owner’s manual for a more accurate range and have your brake pads inspected every 5,000 miles to ensure they are in working shape. Keep reading below for advice on extending the life of your brake pads and how to better identify the signs that your brake pads need replacing.
What Impacts The Lifespan of Brake Pads?
Brake pads wear down through friction and won’t work effectively if they get too thin. However, not all brake pads are created equal, and their lifespan may be affected based on these factors.
– The Material They Are Made Of
Ceramic pads generally have the longest lifespan. Semi-metallic pads are the next best, followed by organic pads with usually the shortest lifespan.
– Driving Conditions
Areas requiring excessive braking, like mountainous roads or places with stop-and-go traffic, can wear brakes faster from increased friction.
– Vehicle Weight and Size
Larger, heavier vehicles need more help to stop their momentum. Tow trucks are usually equipped with heavy-duty brake pads, but commuter vehicles that commonly haul loads may experience shorter lifespans for their brakes.
– Personal Driving Tendencies
Drivers that follow too closely behind other vehicles will have less time to react, leading to more abrupt braking. Drivers that apply smooth, steady pressure to their brake pedals will likely see an increase in the lifespan of their brake pads.
6 Warning Signs That Your Brake Pads Need Replacement
1 – Squealing or Grinding Noises While Braking
Today, many modern brake pads are manufactured with built-in wear indicators. Wear indicators are metal tabs placed near the top of the brake pad. As the pad wears down to the replacement limit, the wear indicator will scrap against the rotor. This distinct sound can warn you that it’s time to replace your brake pads.
2 – Vehicle Pulls To One Side While Braking
Your brake pads won’t all necessarily wear down at the same rate. When this happens, your car may pull slightly to the left or right as your brake, depending on the difference in wear for each side.
3 – Takes Longer Than Normal To Stop
When you push the brake pedal down, do you get little to no resistance? Do you have to press the brake pedal harder than usual to stop? Worn-down brake pads take longer than expected to slow a vehicle since there’s less material to absorb the shock.
4 – Brake Pedal Vibrates When Pressed
If your brake pads are contaminated with dirt, oil, or another substance, pedal vibration will occur during the clamping of the pads onto the rotor. Additionally, damaged or excessively worn brake pads can also be one of the causes of a vibrating pedal.
5 – Brake Pads Less Than 1/4 Inch Thick
If the friction material on your brake pad is less than 1/4 inch thick, consider having your brakes at least inspected. It is better to be safe than sorry when replacing your brake pads.
6 – Dashboard Indicator Light Is On
Some modern vehicles have an indicator light when something is wrong with the braking system. Check your owner’s manual to see if your car is equipped with this indicator light.
Schedule Brake Pad Replacement Service with McCullough NAPA Auto Care
McCullough NAPA Auto Care offers complete brake repair service in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Our ASE-certified technicians are trained in maintaining and servicing front and rear brake systems. This includes all accompanying components like brake pads, brake shoes, parking brakes, rotors, drums, and hydraulic systems. If you experience any of the warning signs above, contact us online or call us today to have your brakes inspected immediately.