(Updated on April 17, 2020)
Brake pads are associated with the disc braking system. When the wheels of the vehicle are spinning, the brake rotors are spinning as well. If you want to slow them down, you step on the brake pedal which causes the brake pads to rub up against the spinning brake rotors.
Every time you step on the brake pedal to perform this action, the brake pads become a little bit worn down. Eventually, the brake pads become so worn down that their friction material is no longer there. This creates heat and damage to the rotors if the brake pads are not replaced soon.
There are a lot of factors which determine how long brake pads last. For instance, how often do you slam on the brake pedal to slow down? Do you regularly drive in stop and go traffic, such as city driving? These things can make a huge difference as to how long your brake pads last. People who do a lot of interstate driving where they don’t brake so much will have longer lasting brake pads.
Average Lifespan of Brake Pads
On average, your brake pads should last you anywhere from 25,000 to 65,000 miles. Again, this is a rough estimate which is influenced by how often you brake when you drive.
The 25,000-mile estimate is more realistic for drivers who take a lot of short trips around town every day. The 65,000-mile estimate is more likely for drivers who do most of their driving on the freeway with little traffic.
4 Things That Shorten the Life of Your Brake Pads
Some brake pads are stronger than others. You can also factor in the type of brake pads you have and the make and model of your vehicle too. But overall, consider the following factors very carefully if you want your brake pads to last a long time:
1) Riding the Brake Pedal
A lot of drivers like to ride the brake when they’re driving and some don’t even realize they’re doing this. Riding the brake means that you are resting your left foot on the brake pedal while you drive.
By applying slight pressure to the brake pedal at all times, you are not only wearing out your brake pads at accelerated rate, you’re lowering your gas mileage. To fix this bad habit, simply use your right foot only when braking and accelerating.
Your left foot should only be used for the clutch pedal (in a manual transmission car) or resting on the dead pedal on the far left side.
2) Heavy Load
Do you carry a heavy load in your vehicle? The more weight you add to your car, the more wear you’re adding to your brake pads. After all, it takes a lot more force to slow down a heavier vehicle. This means your brake pads are working harder to slow the vehicle down when it’s heavy.
Therefore, take all your possessions and items out of the trunk and backseat. Free up as much space as possible.
3) Applying the Brake Prematurely
When you see a red light or stop sign in the distance, your natural reaction may be to start applying the brake pedal early. However, consider simply taking your foot off the gas pedal and letting the vehicle slow down naturally on its own.
This is called “engine braking.” Your vehicle will slow down if you don’t accelerate it. As you get closer to the stop light or stop sign, you can apply the brake as needed in order to stop.
4) Driving Too Fast
When you drive fast, you’re forced to use more braking power to slow down. If you’re the type of person who likes to drive 10 or 20 miles per hour over the speed limit on every road, then consider reducing your speed so you don’t exceed the speed limit or only be over by a few miles.
The slower you drive, the easier it is on your brake pads to slow the vehicle down.