How long should brake pads last?
As all vehicles are different, and drivers treat them differently, so the useful “life” of brake pads can vary widely. Brake pads also come in many degrees of quality. First, make sure you are using an OE (Original Equipment) quality brake pad.
Brake pad life can be determined by three factors:
1. The vehicle type is a big factor. Are you driving a small car, sports car or a commercial ute/ truck? All vehicles are designed to do different things; therefore they have brake systems designed for that function.
2. In what environment are you driving? A vehicle that is primarily on the highway will have brake pads that last 2 to 3 times longer than a vehicle in the city. Heat is a factor of environment as well.
3. YOU. The person driving this vehicle is the biggest factor. Everyone has different driving styles. An experienced driver may not wear out brake pads as fast a teenage driver. A construction worker will work the brakes with heavy loads while a soccer mom will not. The driver will make the most impact on brake pad “life”.
How do I know when I need new brakes?
1. Do you hear noise when braking? Is it a grinding, screeching, growling, or chirping?
2. Does your brake pedal feel lower or does the pedal travel further than it used to?
3. Front brakes average 45,000ks. If you live in a hilly area or you do much city stop- and-go driving, it could be much less.
4. Rear brakes usually wear much slower and have up to 60,000+ ks on average. Hilly areas or frequent stop-and-go driving will decrease the life of your braking components.
Recently I have noticed that my car has become increasingly harder to stop and the brake pedal seems to travel down a lot farther than it used to. What could be wrong?
The problem could range from a simple adjustment, air in the brake system or the most severe - total brake failure. Having a professional perform the necessary bleed, adjustments and inspection to determine the exact nature of the problem would be advised. Due to anti-lock brakes and the ever-increasing complexity of brake systems, it is not a good idea to allow a “shade-tree” mechanic or yourself to risk damage to extremely expensive components. It is better to allow a certified technician to perform the task.