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How Long Do Brake Pads Last? – Here’s What You Need To Know

How Long Do Brake Pads Last

When figuring out how long brake pads will last in your vehicle, you have to keep in mind what brake pads are, the symptoms of faulty brake pads, the cause of excess wear and tear, and how to prevent these issues from happening in your car. 

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What Are Brake Pads?


You might think that the only component of your car that can impede your progress while driving is the pedal beneath your foot while driving. However, there’s a lot more to the internal system than the brake pedal right in front of you – there is a complicated system of parts that end up translating into physical force to stop the car safely. One of these parts of the braking system is the brake pads. Learn about the brake pad’s function and the mechanism of how it works to answer the question of how long do brake pads last. 


  • Brake Pad Function



Brake pads are vital components of the braking system because they contact, apply pressure, and provide friction to a vehicle’s brake rotors. The brake rotors are an important part of the system because the vehicle’s clamp pads clamp down to stop the wheels from spinning. Brake rotors are just as important as brake pads. The average cost of rotor pad replacement ranges from $406-$559. Brake rotors may need to be replaced as soon as you notice the uneven brake pad wear, helping answer the question of how long do brake pads last. 


  • Brake Pad Mechanism



The brake pads applying pressure to the brake rotors and the brake rotors clamping down on the wheels play a huge function in helping slow down and stop your car. Due to how fast your car’s tires rotate while driving, brake pads undergo a significant amount of stress combined with your vehicle’s heavier weight. This stress can easily lead to uneven brake pad wear. Uneven wear and tear and prolonged stress can reduce how long brake pads last in your car. 


  • Different Types Of Brake Pads



Brake pads were originally made using asbestos to provide and absorb friction. Since the brake pads are exposed to a high amount of friction and a high amount of heat, the asbestos can work well to dissipate the heat and prevent overheating. However, when asbestos breaks down, it creates dangerous and hazardous dust that can affect your lungs and respiratory system. 


Unfortunately, brake pads create a lot of brake dust while they’re slowing or stopping, causing this dust to frequently arise and infect your lungs. Nowadays, brake pads and other parts in the braking system are made from organic materials. Using organic materials can affect how long brake pads last. 

Organic Brake Pads

Organic brake pads are found in over half of the vehicles sold within the United States and are a mixture of rubber, carbon compounds, glass, Kevlar, and other parts that have been bound together with resin. Resin is a highly viscous substance that is often used for glue to transfer stress between fibers. 

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads are another option in your braking system. These pads are made from ceramic that is similar to the type you might find in pottery but is denser and more durable. These types of pads utilize fine copper fibers to increase their friction and ability to conduct heat. 

Metallic Brake Pads

The last type of brake pad available is the semi-metallic brake pad. Metallic pads are built using a range of 30%-70% metals, with a combination of copper, iron, steel, and other alloys, to bind them together. These metals are combined with lubricants and fillers to create a stable brake pad. 

Symptoms of Faulty Brake Pads


There are some warning signs to look out for when determining how long brake pads last. By figuring out when and how to change your brake pads, you can prevent uneven brake pad wear from causing future issues in your vehicle. 


  • Screeching Noises


First, you might hear a screeching sound when pressing down on your brakes. This sound is caused by an indicator in your brake pad to alert you to any braking system problems. If you hear this while braking, you need to visit a mechanic for inspection. In addition, if your brakes are constantly exposed to wet conditions, a layer of dust can form on the brake pads. This debris built-up can lead to an answer to the question of how long do brake pads last. 


If this sound disappears after you use your car, it was just a build-up of rust on the brake pad. Brake pads are a routine replacement that you should use a trusted mechanic to carry out to prevent braking issues. If you do not adhere to regular braking maintenance, this can reduce the lifespan when asking how long brake pads last.


  • Grinding Noise


Second, there might be a grinding sound coming from your braking system. If you hear a deep and low noise, this is typically a sign that the brake pads are worn away and that your brake discs and calipers are currently rubbing against each other. This rubbing can be due to the uneven brake pad wear, reducing how long brake pads last. 


This is a metal-on-metal grinding, which can damage your braking system. This problem needs to be addressed to prevent further damage to your braking system and answer how long do brake pads last.


  • Stopping Time


Third, it might take longer for your car to come to a complete stop since the brake pads will not be able to press on the wheels. This longer stopping time can influence how long brake pads last in your car and your braking system’s effectiveness. 


  • Dashboard Warning Light


Lastly, your vehicle might have a warning light that will signal when it is time to replace your brake pads. Be sure to check your vehicle’s manual to see how often this is and the warning light. If your light comes on, you’ll have to bring your car to a mechanic to shut off the light. Noticing these signs can help you answer the question of how long do brake pads last. 

Causes of Brake Pad Wear


There are many situations in which your brake pads can wear down unevenly. In any one of these cases, your brake pad’s break-down can lead to further issues in your vehicle. When looking at the causes of brake pad wear, the most common reasons are improper rotor thickness, faulty caliper pistons, brake misalignment, dirty rotors, and warped rotors. 


  • Rotor Thickness


The thickness variation for your rotors or your discs means that the rotors in your car can have different widths, leading you to answer the question of how long do brake pads last. If there is a variation in the thickness level between your motors, this can cause your brakes and brake pads to wear out quicker. 


Since there is a difference in thickness between rotors, this can lead to the answer to how long do brake pads last. The different widths will cause the rotors to rub on the flat spots, increasing the brake pad surface’s breakdown and increasing friction. 


  • Faulty Caliper Pistons


Caliper pistons that have become damaged over time or due to increased wear can become sticky, meaning they are unable to flow through movement properly and lack the required lubrication. A sticky surface means the brake will not slide correctly, causing the brake pad to rub against the rotor, influencing how long the brake pads last in your car. 


By diagnosing and correcting the faulty caliper pistons, you can answer the question of how long do brake pads last in your car, since the caliper pistons can lead to increased brake pad friction. 


  • Misalignment


When you install new brake pads in your car, the mechanic might improperly install the mechanisms leading to misalignment and issues with the brake pads clamping down on the wheels. Whenever you have brake pads that are placed incorrectly, excess friction can cause overheating and answer the question of how long do brake pads last in your car. 


If you start experiencing performance issues after getting your brake pads aligned, then you can blame the mechanic for installing the brake pads incorrectly. 


  • Dirty Rotors


Dirty rotors that have become rusted over time due to extreme wear and tear can cause your brake pads to deteriorate quicker than normally. Ensure that during routine maintenance schedules, you clean any debris, dirt, or contaminants out from the rotors to ensure the brakes can function correctly.


If the brake rotors become clogged with debris and contaminants, they will not be able to spin and function to press down on the brake pads, stopping the vehicle in time. In addition, brake rotors that have become dirty over time will cause the brake pads to wear unevenly, leading to tire issues, wheel probes, and early replacements for brakes


To clean the rotors and ensure proper function, they must be cleaned with a special method so that you do not damage any other parts in the process. Using a special brake cleaner, you can help answer the question as to how long do brake pads last in my car.


  • Warped Rotors


Similar to the dirty and debris-filled rotors, rotors that have become damaged or warped can mean the brake pads are not touching the rotors correctly, meaning that they will press down harder in some spots and forego other spots altogether. This is since the warped rotors have an uneven surface, causing the brake pads to break down in different spots. 


  • Different Types of Brake Pads


If you frequently change the brake pads because you think you are adhering to your routine maintenance, you could still be harming your vehicle without knowing it. Using brake pads that are different from the brand or type you have used in the past can cause a quicker breakdown of the pads, leading to a quicker replacement schedule.


If you are changing your brake pads and notice that they begin to deteriorate very soon after, this can help you answer how long brake pads last in my vehicle.  

What If My Brake Pads Need To Be Replaced?


If your brake pads need to be replaced, then you might not have the money or the time to get your car fixed. If you ignored your brake pad issues, the problems could have spread to the brake rotors and the rest of the braking system, causing extensive damage and an expensive repair or replacement. This can help you answer the question of how long do brake pads last – if you stick to your maintenance schedule, they will last a long time!


If this is the case and you have skipped the repairs, your best option might be to sell your car to a reputable location to earn some extra money for your next vehicle. You can sell your brake pad set before selling your car since a brake pad set is one of the highest-priced options to sell from your vehicle. Bring your car to CashCarsBuyer to obtain a fair quote and sell your vehicle for a great price.


  • How Long Do Brake Pads Normally Last?



Brake pads generally last an average of 30,000-50,000 miles. However, it can vary depending on the vehicle’s make and model, the type of driving you frequently do, and the driving style. If you tend to drive in urban areas with high traffic and constantly stop and start, your brake pads will wear down quicker than slower, quieter drives on a  country road. 



The brake pads are key components of the braking system – the mechanism in your vehicle that slows down and stops your car as soon as you need it to. To make sure your brake pads last as long as possible, make sure you stick to routine maintenance, watch out for any symptoms of faulty brake pads, and ensure the causes of damaged brake pads do not continue to happen in your car. 

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