How Often Should We Change Our Car Brake Pads?

Most people wait too long before doing maintenance work on their cars. It is even more complicated when different car parts require different maintenance schedules. Part of the problem is not knowing with certainty how often a certain car part should undergo maintenance work. For instance, how often should we change our car brake pads?

Car Brake Pads

1.When The Brakes Begin To Lose Their Efficiency

This should be a no-brainer. Sometimes, a time-based brake pad maintenance schedule may not always work out since we stay in different places with wildly varying braking demands, which means the pads will not wear out at the same pace. So, when you feel that your braking system is losing its edge in terms of responsiveness, then it is definitely time to have the pads changed, it does not matter that you have only had them for a lot shorter than you had anticipated. Continuing to drive your car while the braking system is obviously failing poses a serious security threat to you and other people.

2. After Reaching A Particular Mileage

Many of us are generally not very aggressive drivers, but other people's driving behaviour may consist of short bursts of speed marked by hard braking. In such cases, the pads may last much less. But for the average driver, mileage can be used as way of knowing that a car needs its brake pads replaced. In generally, a car will go for about 20,000 miles to about 60,000 miles before requiring you to change the pads. Of course, if another factor dictates that it is time for your current brake pads to go, then you do not have to wait to attain the mileage requirements.

3. Change Front Brakes Pads More Often Than Rear Brake Pads

Some people are surprised to learn than front and rear brake pads wear out at different rates. Front brakes do most of the work, which means they wear out much faster than rear pads. Therefore, do not expect that all the pads will need replacement all at once. Once your brakes begin to have reduced responsiveness, then it might be that it is just the front pads that need replacement. As you get more familiar with your car's braking system, you will soon understand how often to replace the pads on the front wheels and how often to replace the rear pads.

4.When They Start Screeching

Sometimes your braking system will tell you when its time to replace your current brake pads in a big way. If every time you step on the brake pedal, your car comes to a screeching stop, then it is time to change the pads. The screeching sound means that your brake pads have run their course and that the metallic part of the pads is coming into contact with the metal on the wheel drums, which is the last thing you want if you value your safety and don't want to spend a lot of money on additional repairs. If you keep using such brake pads, you will end up replacing more than just the pads when you finally visit your mechanic.

Note that after a while, the screeching may stop, but that does not mean you are out of the woods yet. Brake pad manufacturers put a metal piece, called an indicator, in the brake pads. This metal scratches against the drum to produce a screeching sound. Eventually, it falls off and the brakes may appear normal for a while after the screeching stops, when in fact, they are wearing thin to the point of being dangerous to other car parts. So, whether the screeching is still there or if it has just stopped, you still need to replace your pads as soon as possible.

5. When The Brake Pedals Starts To Vibrate

In most cases, you will have plenty of signs that your brake pads need immediate replacement. But you might still miss all the signs, especially if your car does not screech when you brake as the brake pad linings wear thin. In such a case, a vibrating brake pedal could be the sign you need to know that it is time to replace your pads. Your steering might also begin vibrating when you brake. Usually, this is a bad sign since it often indicates that your brake linings are gone entirely and the pads are grinding against the drum.

6. When The Thickness Of The Brake Pads Reduces By More Than Half

If you can manage to check on your brakes once in a while after they have been replaced, checking how far they have gone can be a sure fire way of telling if it is time for a new set of brake pads. The general rule is that if the thickness of your pads falls by about half, then it is time for new pads.

7. Every Time A Brake Warning Light Comes On When You Start The Car

Cars now have sensors that can help determine if the brake pads are in tiptop condition in order to inform you when it is time to replace your existing pads. When it is time to visit your mechanic for brake pad replacements, a warning signal will light up for a few seconds when you start your car. However, you should know that when the warning light comes on while you are driving, it is a sign that your brake fluid is running low for one reason or another, including a leakage.

8. When The Brake Pads Begin To Make Scores On The Brake Rotor

As the brake pads wear out, they can make circular grooves on the rotor called scores. This basically means that it is time to swap your current brake pads for new ones. You should do this as soon as possible since the scores can run deeper and eventually you would have to replace the pads as well as the brake rotor, which would substantially increase your maintenance costs. If the scores are slight, you can have them smoothed out, which is basically less expensive than having to purchase a new brake rotor altogether.


Unfortunately, there are few easy and certain indications that your brake pads need replacement, which is why it is critical to be on the lookout for as many signs as you can remember in order to avoid endangering yourself or incurring heavy repair costs. Mileage can be a rough measure, but it varies with driving behavior. So, you should be on the lookout for other signs, including screeching sounds, a warning light on your car, when the pads' thickness falls by over half, when the steering and brake pedal begins to vibrate and so forth.

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