What is the General Brake Pad Life?

Brakes work by using the inherent stopping power in friction. However, this causes wear in the brake pads. So, what is the general brake pad life for this system?

Most modern vehicles run on disc brake systems. At their core, the systems work by pressing brake pads against a spinning rotor. The rotor is made of steel and the pads are made of a variety of materials. Friction causes massive wear. Replacing rotors is far more expensive than pads, so the system is designed to have the brake pads wear out well before any damage occurs to the brake rotors.


So, what is the brake pad life? The phrase refers to the number of miles the pads are expected to last. The exact figure is entirely dependant on the type of vehicle you drive. The brake pads on a Toyota Camry are generally going to last much longer than those on a Chevrolet Corvette. Why? The Corvette is designed with bigger brakes, but the car tends to come to much quicker stops.

Can we put any range on brake pad life at all? Well, you should look up the specs for your specific car, but we can generally say the pads on a commuter car should last in the 40,000 to 50,000 mile range. A sporty car that tends to go through quick stops can have this figure reduced to the 20,000 to 30,000 range. It really depends on how fast you drive.

The wear on your brake pads is something you must pay attention to. Why? Well, brake pads are not an expensive repair, but brake rotor replacements are. Your brake pads some with a small metal warning strip built into them. When the pads wear to a point requiring replacement, the strip will poke through and come in contact with the rotor. This will not hurt the rotor, but will make a squealing noise. When you hear it, get your car to a mechanic before the pads wear more and cause rotor damage.

If you are unhappy with your general brake pad life you can look into buying higher quality brakes. Brake kits from Brembo and other manufacturers will stop your car quicker and last much longer.

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