How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

by Jerel Jacobs

Despite their diminutive size, brake pads are one of the most important parts on an automobile. These small devices are designed to stop a vehicle again and again for thousands of miles without failing or malfunctioning.

Considerations

The life expectancy of your brake pads depends on you as a driver. Many brake pads are rated to last from 40,000 to 100,000 miles. However, the biggest influence on brake pad lifespan is individual driving habits behind the wheel.

Function

Brake pads work by squeezing against the brake rotors to create friction. This friction slows down the vehicle, but at the same time, this wears down the pads.

Speed

Constant hard slow-downs from high speeds can reduce the life of brake pads. It is not uncommon for aggressive drivers to need to replace the brake pads more often than cautious ones, sometimes in as little as 12,000 miles.

Quality

The quality of a brake pad can influence its service life. Inexpensive brake pads made from inferior materials tend to wear out quickly; whereas brake pads made from quality components can last tens of thousands of miles longer.

Weight

Heavier loads require more friction to stop, wearing out brake pads faster. Installing heavy aftermarket components such as large speakers, tires or rims add significant weight to a vehicle and can shorten the brake life by thousands of miles.

Identification

To find out how long your brake pads are expected to last under "ideal" conditions consult your vehicle owner's manual if you are using the original equipment manufacturer recommended pads. If you are non original equipment pads, the estimated life expectancy is often written on the box containing the pads.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images