Car brake pads should be changed on average every 24,800-37,200 miles. But mileage may vary depending on driving style, weather conditions, road conditions and the quality of the parts you use to service your vehicle.
Timely replacement of brake pads is extremely important because brake discs can be damaged due to pad wear. It is also unsafe to drive a car with worn out brake elements. This may cause the vehicle to react unexpectedly when the brake pedal is pressed. If you are not going to throw your car in the trash and are not looking for a car scrap value calculator, then this article is for you. We will consider the factors that affect the frequency of brake maintenance in a car.
How Often Should a Car Owner Change Brake Pads?
Let’s say you drive a car under normal conditions, do not accelerate it beyond the allowed limits, do not press the brake pedal hard and prefer a quiet ride. The weather in your area is mild, the car is stored in a garage or covered parking. Your average mileage is 20,000 km per year. You also service the car at a good proven station with the purchase of expensive spare parts. In this case, you will need to change the brake pads every 3 years or every 37,200 miles.
If you prefer active driving and like to brake hard right before the traffic lights, the brake pads wear out much faster – about 24,800 miles or 1-2 years.
If you know how to brake with the engine, drive very carefully and rarely touch the brake pedal, your brake pads can last much longer, and they may need to be replaced every 5 or even 7 years (over 62,100- 74,500 miles).
Why Do Brake Pads Wear Out Quickly?
If your brake pads are wearing out too quickly, there may be several reasons:
- the brake system is poorly tuned (brake pads always come into contact with the brake disc and therefore wear out faster);
- you prefer active driving (during hard braking, the brake pads get very hot and wear out faster);
- regular braking on the highway (stopping at high speed provokes heating of the brake pad and disc);
- you buy bad brake pads (if you save on parts, cheap brake pads will have to be changed more often).
Signs Your Car Needs Brake Pads Replacement
You can always use the scrap car value calculator and sell the annoying car. However, if you want to avoid scraping your vehicle, you should look out for signs of brake pads wear. Let’s take a look at the most common signs.
- Thin linings on the pads. If you have alloy wheels, you can see the pads without removing the wheels. Look at them and compare them with the size of a new pad. If the linings are too delicate, it is worth replacing.
- Vibration. If your vehicle vibrates when braking, this could be a sign of worn brake pads. But vibration can also be caused by other problems, such as unbalanced wheels or suspension problems.
- Less effective braking. If you notice that it takes more time to stop the car, check the pads. They can reach a point where braking performance is no longer optimal.
- The creak of the pads. Sometimes it’s normal for brake pads to squeak or squeal a little. It’s all about the materials from which they are made. But if you hear a strong creak, it is better to check the pads, they may be worn out.
- Low brake fluid level. When all 8 brake pads in your car wear out, they become quite thin. They require more fluid to press against the disc, so you may see a slight drawdown in the brake fluid system.
- Error indicator on the dashboard. Many cars show a special indicator on the dashboard when the brake pads give out. But the system isn’t always accurate, so don’t rely solely on it.
- Wheel scraping. If you hear a rattle, it is better to stop the car and find out the reason. Often this is due to worn out brake pads, which start to slowly scratch the brake disc and kill it.
- Service interval. Service intervals are a safe way to keep your vehicle running without major breakdowns or problems. If the service manual says that you need to replace the brake pads at a certain mileage, it’s better to do it.
Brake Pad Wear Sensor is Not a 100% Indicator
Owners of cars equipped with a brake pad wear sensor should not wait for activation
icon on the dashboard. Since on many cars electronic indicators are not on all wheels. Depending on the layout of the brake circuit, the sensor is located on one front and one rear wheel.
This means that if there are problems in the operation of the calipers and wear occurs unevenly, then you can miss the moment when the thickness of the brake lining is at its limit. The “pad wear” error will not appear and the outer and inner pads on the same wheel wear unevenly. Accordingly, it is necessary to perform a preventive inspection of the brake pads visually.
The brake pad wear error in the ECU memory, followed by the activation of the lamp on the dashboard, may also occur due to a break / short circuit in the wire of the sensor itself. Many masters in car services note that the sensor works correctly only if more or less new brake discs are used on the car. That is, their thickness is quite large. If, for example, the third or fourth set of pads is used with the disc, then it is likely that the pad wear icon will either not light up at all, or, conversely, will work falsely.
Thus, the wear indicator is, in fact, a safety device that indicates that the pads on the car are completely worn out.
It is necessary to regularly monitor the condition of the brake pads and check them in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The operation of the pad condition sensor is not necessarily a signal for an urgent replacement. A visual professional inspection is recommended. If you are the owner of an old car that does not please you, you can scrap it with the help of JunkCarsUs. Use the car scrap value calculator on the company’s website and get rid of an unnecessary vehicle in any US city.