How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

How long do brake pads last? A question many drivers ask. This is because of its importance in the brake system. The brake system helps your car to slow down or stop. A single fault with it can endanger your life and that of others.

Because of this, most people make sure that their brake system is intact and that includes knowing the lifespan of the brake pads and ensuring they are changed at an appropriate time. Brake pads will typically last 30,000 miles. However, it can be higher or lower depending on your driving habits and other factors.

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

Generally, brake pads will last for 30,000 miles. But depending on usage and other factors (will be discussed later), it can last between 20,000 to 60,000 miles. These factors could range from driving patterns, environment, brake pad quality, car model, etc. 

When you hit the brake pedal with your foot, it sends a signal to the brake pads. The pads, in turn, come in contact with your brake rotors which transfer pressure and friction to your wheels and cause the car to stop. This continuous process and how often it takes place tell how long the brake pads will last.

How long do brake pads last?

Below is a detailed explanation of factors that determines the longevity of brake pads.

Driving Patterns

Your brake pads will wear faster If you always apply your brakes. This is true, especially for drivers who drive too close to a car in front of them in traffic. Because you will have to halt any time the car in front halts.

So it means that if a car in front stops ten times, you will have to apply your brake ten times. In this situation, it is advisable to distance your car from other cars to avoid too many stops and go.

Again, driving at high speed and halting suddenly due to an obstruction in front could also cause pad wear. This is because you will have to press the brake hardly to quickly stop your car. Driving too fast and hitting the brake suddenly will cause your brake pad to use too much power to stop the car. Hence, increasing brake wear.

Slower driving will prevent your brake from using much power in bringing your car to a stop. As this happens, wear is reduced, making your brake pads last longer.

Type of brake Pad

There are three main types of brake pads, each made with different materials to suit specific purposes. While some cars use organic brake pads, others use semi-metallic or even ceramic brake pads. The quality of brake pads in a vehicle determines how long they last.

Organic brake pads wear faster because of the materials used in producing them. The materials include glass, rubber, fiber, and Kevlar mixed with resins. Semi-metallic brake pads are made for high performance, provide better brake response and last longer than organic pads. You can use it for as far as 50,000 miles.

The ceramic brake pads are found mostly in luxurious cars and provide effortless braking. While they are not made to be used in high-performance situations, they can last up to 60,000 miles.

Good examples of ceramic brake pads are centric brake pad 105, Carquest premium gold ceramic brake pads, duralast gold ceramic brake pads, stop tech street brake pads, and power stop Z36 truck &tow brake pads.

Type of transmission

Cars with manual transmission will have an extended brake pad life span than cars with automatic transmission. This is so because car owners with manual transmissions want to slow down by downshifting gears. They can use the engine braking process. So they don’t have to depend on the brake pads when slowing down. Remember, the less you use them, the longer they last.

Cars with auto transmission shouldn’t use the engine braking system as it will damage their transmission.

Driving Environment

If you live in regions with hills, you might use a brake frequently because of the climbs and drops you encounter. Even starting and stopping your car in normal heavy traffic causes you to use the brake more often. The more you use it, the more your lifespan shortens.

Brake Rotors And Calliper Conditions

The brake pads work together with other brake systems components like the brake rotors and caliper. If they are faulty, say the caliper is stuck or the rotor is warped, it causes brake pads to wear. For example, a stuck caliper will not allow your brake pads to disengage totally from the rotor. This means you will run your car with the pads slightly engaged.


Q: How Often Do Brake Pads Need To Be Replaced?

Ideally, brake pads should be replaced every 30,000 miles, but this is not the same for all cars. Every car comes with its recommendations. You can check your car’s owner’s manual to know when to replace brake pads for your car.

While you may want to follow your manufacturer’s recommendation, you should also note how often you use your brake. If you apply brake often, there are chances that your brake pads might wear out even before driving up to the recommended mileage. At this point, you may start hearing some strange noise when braking. Ensure you replace the pads ASAP.

Q: Why Do My Brake Pads Wear Out Quickly?

While many factors cause pad wears, the two most common factors are your driving habits and brake pad quality. Driving at high speed and halting abruptly stresses the brake pads as they use more power to stop your car.

If you drive mostly in heavy traffic, it means you will always start and stop. This action puts so much pressure on the brake pads and causes them to wear. Driving in hilly areas where you encounter climbs and drops also stresses the brake pads.  In a nutshell, regularly applying your brakes will make it wear out quickly.

Lastly, your car model determines the type of brake pad that comes with it. If your car’s brake pad is made with low-quality materials, your brake pads will wear quickly. An organic brake pad, for example, will wear more quickly than a semi-metallic or ceramic brake pad.

Q: Can I Just Replace the Brake Pads And Not the Rotors?

Yes, you can replace just your brake pads without replacing the brake rotors. But ensure that you have checked and that the rotors are in perfect working condition. You should check because the pads work together with the rotors. And there are chances that a bad brake pad will cause the rotors to go bad too.

So how long does the brake rotor last? This is another question you should ask. A good rotor should be about ¼ inch thick. So if the rotors are still good, you can replace only the brake pads; otherwise, change both.

Q: Should I Replace All 4 Brakes At The Same Time?

Before I answer this question, you should know about brakes. You have the front and rear brakes – two front and two rear brakes. And in most cases, as your car works, much pressure is applied to the front brakes.

This makes the front brake wear faster than the rear brakes. So you will need to change the front brakes more often than the rear brake. So you shouldn’t have to change all four brakes at the same time; only change faulty brakes. However, if, after proper diagnosis, you discover that all four brakes are bad, then you will need to change them.

Q: How Can I Make My Brake Last Longer

If you have a good quality brake, how you use it and how often you apply it will make it last longer.

Drive slowly: I am not asking you to drive like a snail. But too much high speed stresses the brake pads and causes them to wear faster. Slower drives will make them last longer because much pressure is not laid on the pads.

If possible, avoid hilly areas since it causes you to use your brake frequently because of the plunges and climb experience.

Reducing the weight of items your car carries will also avoid your pads from using much power. So long the brake system doesn’t exert much power to stop your car, the pad will last.

Using engine braking: This process involves removing your foot from the accelerator pedal and downshifting gear to slow down your car without using the brakes. So you will only have to use the brakes during an emergency or while you move in first gear.

The less you use the brake, the more your pads last. But this is good for only cars with manual transmission. While cars with auto transmission can use engine braking, it will damage the transmission.

Avoid parking your cars outside: Doing this allows the brake system to absorb dust which can weaken the pads and cause them to go bad quickly. If you are opportune, park your car in a garage.

Q: Do Better Brake Pads Make A Difference?

Yes, it does. The more quality brake pad you use, the longer it lasts. I have outlined the three main types of brake pads which include Organic, semi-metallic, and ceramic brake pads.

The materials used in producing the Organic brake pads are not too solid, so organic brake pad wears easily. Semi-metallic pads last longer than organic brake pads.

Likewise, ceramic brake pads such as duralast gold ceramic brakes are made with quality materials.  So if your car uses ceramic brake pads, you can use them for a long before it wears compared to the other two types.

Final Words

The brake pads are essential because they are part of the brake system that helps to slow or stop your car. This made drivers be cautious of its usage. Hence, they ask, how long do brake pads last? Subaru brake pads, for example, can last between 30,000 to 60,000 miles depending on driving habits.

While most brake pads can last between 20,000 to 70,000 miles, how long or how short it lasts is influenced by many factors. Your car model and how often you use your brake pad will tell how long it will last.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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