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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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