When Should I Replace my Brake Pads?

By: Kacie Harlan

Like many other topics in the car care industry, replacing brake pads does not have a set in stone mileage interval. It is normal for brake pads to wear thinner until they need to be replaced; but it can depend on many factors such as how often you drive the vehicle, where you drive (city vs. highway), the weight of the vehicle, how hard the driver(s) brake, etc. On average, brake pads will last 30,000-35,000 miles. At Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center, we offer free brake checks to let you know when it is time to service your brakes.

It is up to the vehicle owner to familiarize themselves with their vehicle as some have brake sensors that are tripped when the wear on the brake pads gets to be too great. However, if you do not have a vehicle with a brake sensor, applying pressure to the brake pedal causes a grinding sensation, you start hearing squealing or metal rubbing as you brake or discover any other noticeable effect of hitting the brake pedal, it is recommended that you have your brakes inspected immediately. Other indicators of worn brake pads may be a lower brake pedal because the brake pad has to move further in to make contact with the rotor, or a shaking in the steering wheel from warped rotors causing the wheel to affect the steering system. Why is it so important to change the brake pads when they should be replaced? Because prolonged exposure to the metal under the worn down brake pad rubs grooves into the body of the brake rotors.

In extreme cases, the grooves become so deep the pad no longer makes contact with the rotor, therefore not stopping the vehicle in a safe amount of time and space. The pocketbook is another aspect to keep in mind with this topic because the cost for fixing brake pads is much lower than replacing the pads and rotors both. It is suggested that both brake pads be replaced at the same time to make it easier to keep both of them in working condition. When you come to Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center to have your brake pads replaced, we also turn the rotors to keep any hot spots from developing and causing further damage to your vehicle with every application of the brakes.

In the attached photo, the rotor on the left is a new rotor with no wear marks on it. The one in the technician’s hand on the right had to be replaced because of the grooves on the outer ring. This is the result of waiting too long to replace the brake pads and letting them rub on the rotors for too long.

Photo Credit: Kacie Harlan, Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center, 11.05.15