How Often Should You Change Your Brake Pads?

by Carmelo PickelSeptember 23, 2022

Friction is responsible for the thinning and wearing down of your brake pads simultaneously as it slows your vehicle down. As the brake pads continuously rub against the rotor, it’s only natural that they’ll wear out. 

Worn-down brake pads will reduce your braking power and cause a screeching noise whenever you apply pressure on the brake pedals. Fortunately, you can already tell if your brake pads are in trouble before serious issues arise. 

You may notice a squeaking sound or a grinding noise whenever you brake. The brakes may also feel spongy and cause strong vibrations. If you also notice fluid leaking from under your car, then it’s best to bring it to the shop and get it checked by a trusted mechanic. 

If you wish to know when you should replace your brake pads, keep reading. 

Why Do Brake Pads Wear Down?

There are numerous factors that may affect the longevity of your brake pads. You may want to consider these factors to extend the life span of your pads. 

Brake Mad Material

There are four types of brake pads: semi-metallic, non-asbestos organic, low-metallic, and ceramic. 

  • Semi-metallic: This is considered durable and easier on the rotors. 
  • Low-metallic: This provides you with better braking power but is noisier and lets off a lot of black dust. 
  • Non-asbestos: This is an organic option that is quieter but wears down the fastest.
  • Ceramic brake: These pads last the longest and produce less noise despite being a little more expensive. 

Use Of Brakes

If you drive with a trigger-happy attitude towards your brakes, your brake pads won’t last long. It takes a lot of braking power to suddenly stop a speeding vehicle, which can increase brake wear. Also, your brake pads are more prone to wear if your vehicle weighs more. 

Caliper Malfunction

A stuck caliper will cause your brake pad to rub against the rotor constantly. This can wear down your brake pads very quickly. It can also even affect your brake rotors. If you notice a burning smell coming from your brakes, then it’s possibly being caused by a stuck caliper.

Bad Rotors

Brake rotors can also experience warping over time, which refers to an uneven surface caused by heat. Constantly applying pressure to your brakes or holding them down for an extended period of time can cause excessive heat to your brake discs. 

This can warp the surface of your rotor, wearing it down and making it less effective. Warped or worn-down rotors can wear down your brake pads quickly.

When To Replace Your Brake Pads 

It is crucial to constantly check your brakes for any signs of wear. The life span of brake pads can vary differently depending on various factors. However, as a general rule, it’s best to get replacements for your brake pads every 10,000 miles to 20,000 miles. 

This is to keep your brake pads in top shape all the time. However, some brake pads can last between 30,000 miles and 70,000 miles. If you’re unsure whether to replace your brake pads, you could get it checked out by a mechanic or look for the following signs:

  • Squeaking, squealing, or grinding noise whenever breaking
  • Soft or spongy brakes 
  • Stiff brakes
  • Leaking brake fluid
  • Brake lights come on 

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Founder, Editor-in-Chief Carmelo Pickel is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Keep Driving, with almost 20 years of experience working in the industry. Before founding Keep Driving, Carmelo held leadership roles for over a decade on top automotive dealership corporations across North America, handling various leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Incentives.
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