How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

  • Aug 22,2018
Firestone technician working on a brake pad Firestone technician working on a brake pad

How long do you think the brake pads on your vehicle should last?

  1. 25,000 miles
  2. 50,000 miles
  3. 70,000 miles
  4. All of the above … maybe … sometimes?

The truth is, there’s no easy answer for how long brake pads should last. That’s because it’s different for every driver and driving style—similar to how different driving habits can burn gas faster than others. Quick starts, short trips, city driving: all burn gas faster than smooth and steady freeway driving.

The same general principle applies to your brake pads. Manufacturers offer a wide range for the effective “life” of their brake pads, typically between 25,000 and 65,000 miles. But the way you drive can have a big impact on brake pad wear. If you want to get the most miles out of your brake pads, consider the following four suggestions.

Help Your Brake Pads Last Longer

1. Slow Down

Driving fast goes with braking fast like peanut butter goes with jelly. That fast braking generates a lot of friction, which increases wear on your brake pads and shortens their lifespan. Driving fast also burns more gas, so it’ll wear out your wallet too!

Saving money is a win in anyone’s book. In addition to the brake pad-saving tips here, check out this free online maintenance schedule to keep every other part of your ride humming along.

2. Don’t Ride Your Brakes

Heading down a steep hill? Don’t push the brake pedal all the way down. Instead, downshift (if you drive a manual) if you want to slow your roll and work on perfecting the art of coasting (if you drive an automatic).

Feeling lazy? Your brake pedal is meant to stop your car, not act as a footrest. Yes, people do this. And yes, riding the brake pedal can wreak havoc on your brake pads, shortening their life! It also confuses drivers behind you, since pressing the pedal, however lightly, activates your brake lights. Rest that foot on the floorboard to the far left, instead.

3. Lose Some Weight

Shed extra pounds, if possible. Not you — your car! Driving around with a heavy load means your brake pads have to work harder to stop your vehicle. Sometimes you can’t avoid this, like when you’re driving around with friends or moving furniture. Other times, though, you can avoid it! Removing anything from your trunk, backseat, and/or roof cargo carrier that you don’t need can help give your brakes a much-deserved break. Less weight means you could improve fuel economy, too!

4. Use "Engine Braking"

When you see that you’ll have to brake shortly, whether from a red light or heavy traffic, take your foot off the accelerator. Doing this disengages the engine and lightens the load on your brakes when you do eventually have to stop. "Engine braking," as it's called, helps slow your car without applying the brakes. This means less wear and less heat on your brake pads and brake system!

Know When to Replace Brake Pads

No matter how cautiously you drive and care for your brake pads, you'll need to have them replaced at one point or another. Replacing your brake pads at the right time can even save you money! Take it from one of our lead technicians, Alex.

"If you let your brake pads wear down they get hotter and they ruin the rotors. When they ruin the rotors, that becomes a big job. Most manufacturers put little brake squealers on there. They're little metal clips and when the brake pad gets too close, that squealer comes in contact with the rotor. Listening for noises is very important, but replacing the brake pads early enough will save the rotors. If you save the rotors, you save money."

Visit Firestone Complete Auto Care

Stop by your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a free brake check. Experienced technicians will check your brake pads, calipers, rotors, wheel cylinders, and so much more! If your brakes need repair, you’ll be taken care of promptly with the best brake parts and be back on the road with brakes you can rely on. Fixed Right, Priced Right, Right on Time. That's Firestone Complete Auto Care.

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