The disc braking system of an automobile depends on its brake pads. The wheels of your vehicle have discs attached to them. Whenever you drive your vehicle, these discs spin rapidly.
When you step on the brake pedal to slow down the vehicle, the brake pads squeeze against the spinning discs and create friction. It is this friction which slows down the spinning discs which, in turn, slows down the rotating wheels.
Brake pads take a lot of abuse each time you step on the brake pedal. The caliper and friction material of each brake pad will eventually wear out. Once that happens, you will have no choice but to replace the brake pad.
Usually, you will need to replace all the brake pads at the same time because you don’t want to have some brake pads that are in worse condition than others. That will throw off the stability of the braking system.
Now, the big question is… how long do brake pads last? A lot of car manufacturers might give you different answers about that. Just to be on the safe side, the average manufacturer will recommend that you change your brake pads at least every 70,000 miles.
Some may even want you to change them as early as 30,000 miles. However, if you drive your vehicle carefully and don’t slam on your brakes too often, your brake pads might be able to last up to 100,000 miles.
Brake Pad Factors to Consider
Your driving habits play a huge role in the lifespan of your brake pads. For instance, if you normally drive in a lot of stop-and-go traffic, you can expect your brake pads to get worn out rather quickly. This is due to all the constant braking and accelerating that is required in stop-and-go traffic.
Some drivers, especially those who drive with two feet, tend to ride the brakes as they drive. This means that they are constantly applying gentle pressure to the brake pedal by simply resting their foot on it. Not only is this not recommended, you will go through brake pads at a much quicker rate.
But if you are someone who normally drives on the interstate at fast speeds, you probably won’t wear out your brake pads that much. In fact, this is the type of driving that could possibly allow you to get up to 100,000 miles before needing to replace your brake pads.
The other major factor to consider is the type of brake pads you are using. The four main brake pad types include organic, metallic, semi-metallic, and synthetic. The differences between them have to do with the material they are made from.
The strongest but most expensive brake pads are synthetic (aka ceramic pads). The second best choice is semi-metallic because of its ability to resist heat.