How Long Do Brake Pads Last in Cars? | 4 Types of Pads & Life
Brake pads are part of the disc brakes that are used in automobiles. They are steel backing plates that maintain stopping power performance of disk brakes.
Do you know why your brake pads and rotors wear out? Have you ever wondered what affects the braking system on your vehicle? If not, then read this article to understand every action that may damage your pads.
What is the Brake Pad Life?
As stated above, brake pads are an essential component of disc brakes. They work as friction buffer between the rotor and the brake caliper. Being always squeezed on the brake rotors by the brake caliper, they are most susceptible to damage.
In general, It is estimated that the brake pad life lasts for around 40,000 to 50,000 miles run of your vehicle. But many factors influence the longevity of the braking pads. Neither the quality nor the use can estimate the time alone.
According to Mr. Conrad, there are various factors responsible for the life of your pads and rotors. For understanding the durability of the pads, it is essential to study all the factors related to it.
Hence, below mentioned are the significant factors that work closely with the pads or influence their duration. A right amount of knowledge about the elements is beneficial. They will help you to determine the approximate time for which your pads will last.
Brake Pads Wear and Operation
You might have seen people doing stunts with their cars and bikes. The way they rotate the bikes and suddenly come to the stationary mode. Well! We all love watching such activities and yes they are exciting as well. Have you ever wondered how your vehicle brakes can stop your car so quickly?
Thanks for all this to the disk brakes. If they weren’t engineered for the bikes and cars, then you won’t have experience smooth and immediate braking. Disk brake offers an excellent braking experience, and the braking pads play a vital role in them.
Brake pads are the components that face the disc brake rotor, and this is the reason why you have to ensure their rigidity over time. Any negligence can lead to a fatal accident. So, you should always get them checked and changed over time.
Different Types of Brake Pads
Depending upon the use of the automobile, the braking pads are divided into many types. As of now, we know how vital are brake pads and rotors for safety.
Hence, it becomes our responsibility to choose the right pads for our vehicle that not only correctly supports well but also last for a long time. Adding incompatible braking pads to your auto can lead to severe issues in its braking system.
You can take the advice of automobile engineers to select the best braking pads for your auto. The vehicle brakes system constitute different components, and braking pads are one of them.
Any wrong choice in your pads can lead to a severe issue in your drum brakes, and their efficiency will be affected. Hence, it is vital to know the number of pads in details.
According to technician academy, there are three types of braking pads. Finish with all the types of details for the right amount of knowledge about the brake types.
They are the most common type of braking pads. You can find them easily in the vehicles because they are crafted of a unique metal. Most metallic pads provide strength and durability. They are affordable and preferred for a smoothly driven auto, and they are specially designed for small autos.
As the name suggests, they consist of natural pad materials like glass, resin, and rubber that act as the binding agent between the pads.
In old times asbestos was the primary material used in organic pads because of its quality to dissipate the heat well. However, the effect of the dust produced by them was hazardous to the environment. Thus, the replacement of natural material took place.
If we compare organic with metallic pads, you will find them less noisy and light in weight and ideal for small vehicles. They are very soft, an this is why you have probably noticed fast brake pad wear.
Both the above pads are preferred for small vehicles that are used for the smooth driving experience. In case you are looking for a high-performance automobile, then ceramic pads are recommended for you.
Whether you take sharp turns, drive high speeds, and stop your car at the frequent interval, it won’t affect the ceramic pads much. They are expensive pads. They are highly recommended for racing autos only.
An excellent choice of braking pads is a significant factor that decides how long do brake pads last?
Characteristic of a Perfect Material
Different types of pads consist of varying material types. The material composition of brake pads decides the overall characteristic of the pads. It is crucial to pick the right material for designing the right stuff for you. The different factors that are considered for selecting a brake material are as follows:
- Response to Heat: The effect of heat on the material of the pads is an essential factor that determines the quality of the material. The material you choose should resist high heat. It should be able to produce the same efficiency as it provides at an average temperature.
- Effect on Water: Many pad materials can’t respond well to water. If you have not picked a material that is responsive to water as well, then your pads will fail. Brake pads can’t afford the failure, and you might end up in a big issue.
- Ability to Synchronize and Recover Fast: You pads material should be selected considering that it synchronizes with any situation and recover in any condition. Fast recovery pads are best suitable for your auto.
- Smooth Contact With the Rotor: The material that you have chosen should be able to build a smooth contact with the rotor to ensure smooth braking. Warp rotors will cause you auto wheel to wobble when pressing the brake pedal. If you have this warning sign, then you should talk to your mechanic to check if you have warp rotors problems. Most of the time, the issue relies on a front brake.
Different kinds of Brake Pad Materials
The choice of material for brake pads is made considering the above factors that justify the worth of material. While choosing the material, you should keep in mind efficiency. The performance of the pads depends directly on the pad materials.
A wrong decision can impact the duration of brake pads, and you might have to change them soon. The material of the pads can be categorized into the following four types:
As the name tells, it is entirely metallic. Sintered steel with synthetic additives is what defines this category. It lasts long but is highly preferred for racing cars only. Metal brakes are high in cost and produce a loud sound effect.
It made with the combination of soft synthetic material. Require less force on the rotor. If you are looking for the best material that lasts longest, then this not a choice for you. Metallic brake pads last longer, but it is not recommended for regular cars like Toyota Camry, or Ford Mustang.
Semi-metallic pad materials are a mixture of synthetic material and flaked metal. If we compare the efficiency, then we can conclude that they require more force to generate torque.
With longer life and resistance, they are preferred over non-metallic materials. The cost of the semi-metallic pads material is high, which directly influence the pads cost.
Ceramic materials are a mixture of porcelain and clay. They are bonded with filaments and copper flakes, which add durability to them. They do not dissipate any heat that is the primary reason for the warp of other parts in the brake in a short time. They did not produce any noise and preferred for ceramic pads.
The above are the core factors that influence the life of pads. Many other factors are collaborated with time to study the duration of the braking pads. Let us get into the details to know how long our brake pads last?
Environment and Climate
Environment and climate are also the factors responsible for defining the longevity of your brake pads. If you live in a big city and use your private vehicle to travel to work, then you will lose your pads soon. Traffic is a significant problem in big cities. Braking regularly can reduce the efficiency of the pads with time.
Similar is the situation at high altitude. The steep slopes lead to more wearing out of the parts. In the mountains, you have to apply your vehicle brakes consistently to control the auto. Water is also the enemy of your brake pads.
You tend to lose the grip of your pads in case of the rainy season. The more exposure of your pads to water, the lesser will be their longevity. In short, we can conclude that many environmental factors are responsible for determining the life of your brake pads and you don’t have control over them.
Also, if you leave in a state that snows a lot, winter tires and tire chains are a rule of thumb. Both of these items will allow you to have better control when it comes to the stopping distance. An auto like the Toyota Tundra or like the Ford F-150 will perform better when winter comes.
A vehicle needs maintenance not just before road trips. Proper cleaning, maintaining the level of brake fluid, having oil changes are some of the regular requirements. These are the things that should be practiced at regular intervals. Your vehicle maintenance guides state the time or the miles after which you should get them done.
If you don’t get your auto maintenance on time, then you might lose some of its parts early. Maintenance increases the duration and smoothness of the parts for a long time. A properly cared vehicle remains smooth for a longer time. Thus, maintenance is also a way of ensuring how long will your brake pads and brake system last.
Brake pads and rotors are the hardest working parts of your complete vehicle system. The wear out is this part is mostly due to its usage. It converts the kinetic energy of the automobile into heat energy through the force of friction.
Now, hard brake means more force, and more force means more friction. In short, the summary of the life of your pads depends on the usability and the braking system. The braking system contains a liquid called brake fluid.
Brake fluid is responsible for maintaining the smoothness of brake. In case you have lesser fuel or a brake fluid leak then you have to press the brake hard and repeatedly to apply brakes.
This directly affects the pads and rotors. Regular and hard application of your vehicle brakes reduces the duration of brake pads. So, it becomes crucial to maintain a proper amount of brake fluid in your auto to avoid brake pad wear.
Checking if your automobile has a brake fluid leak will help you to maintain the pads for the right amount of time. Always get your auto basic requirements updated over time to avoid their effects on the working of other parts.
Maintaining the brake fluid in full will help you avoid having to replace brake pads regularly.
Brake Pads Warning Signs of Wear
If you feel that you press the brake pedal and each time it takes more stopping distance to come to a complete stop, then this is one of the few warning signs of brake wear.
Most people depend on autos to get to work and fulfill our necessities. Everything has a lifetime, and your brake pads and brake caliper is no exemption.
Your brake pad life is around 40,000 to 50,000 miles. Besides of pad wear, other warning signs are brake noises, warp rotors, brake fluid leak, front brake burning smell, and a familiar feeling that you always have to ride the brakes to come to a complete stop.
Don’t hesitate and visit your local car care for a brake check. Other things that you can also get done while you are at the body shop are car battery check, wheel alignment, wiper blades check, and oil changes.
Does Your Driving Habits Affect The Brake Pads Life?
Your driving style affects your automobile as well. A smooth driving will keep the parts younger for a longer time. But in case you are a rash driver, you have to bear high maintenance cost.
Brake pads are profoundly affected by the way you press them. Many of us tend to apply hard brakes and stop the vehicle abruptly. Some people are smooth drivers who like to use soft and coast breaks.
Gentle and smooth braking increases the lifeline of your pads. Hence, if you are a considerate driver, then your pads will not ditch you.
Also, if you want to keep your brake pads and rotors, health and efficiency maintained for a long time then practice smooth braking but do apply abrupt break in case of need.
If not used, then you have to bear the cost of complete automobile repair. Be alert and be gentle while driving your vehicle.
How to Check Your Brake Pads at Home
It is not easy to determine how long do brake pads last? There are a lot of factors responsible for it. They are personal as well as a core factor.
To determine the status of your pads, you can book an appointment for service and can get a auto brake check. It is essential to keep them in good condition to avoid pad wear. If you want to know how to check the brake pads at home, then you can refer the following video:
It will also explain to you how brakes work. It will give you the details on checking pads with proper instructions. Last, I would say that we couldn’t control the environmental factors.
But if we improve our driving habits, we can ensure a long life to the brake pads. Buy quality pads and get them replaced on time for the safety of your loved ones.
How Often Should I Check The Brake Pads?
As a rule of thumb, you should consider checking how your brakes perform on a daily bases. No matter if you have a car truck or SUV, your vehicle brakes are the most crucial feature that we all need to make sure it performs at its peak levels.
Also, besides your car brake system, there are some other things you might want to check before going on road trips. Consider checking your wiper blades, auto battery, and car tires.
It is always an excellent idea to balance your tires and get a wheel alignment. If you are traveling from Florida to a Northern State in the wintertime, consider renting an auto that has winter tires instead of using your automobile.
Brake Pads In Modern Cars
Most modern autos use disc brakes, even though some still use drum brakes on the back wheels. No matter what king of brake system your vehicle has, make sure they always work.
Remember the most common warning signs are brake noises, the need to push the brake pedal hard, brake rotors malfunctioning, and brake fluid leak.
Your driving style affects how brakes perform in your vehicle. If you are regularly riding the brake, then your going to have to replace the brake pads frequently. This rule of thumb applies to every car truck or SUV.
So if you have any of previously mentioned warning signs, schedule an appointment with the nearest auto care center for a brake check. You want to ensure you have enough stopping power in case of an emergency.
Is better to replace pads that have have been worn out soon. This will reduce the number of brake noises, and it will keep you safe.
Last Updated on: September 23, 2022