How Often Should Brakes Be Replaced?

Brakes perform a vital function for the driver and need to be well maintained to work at their best. The brake caliper, brake pads, and brake rotor are the primary components of car disc brake systems. The brake pads and rotors on all cars wear out eventually, but brake wear varies based on a number of factors, including:

  • Driving habits: How hard a driver pushes their brakes greatly affects how long the brake pads last. Some drivers ride the brakes and stop abruptly, while others gently coast to a stop. Smooth, gradual braking increases pad lifespan, but of course it's important to brake abruptly when safety calls for it.

  • Environment: Due to stop-and-go traffic and traffic lights, driving in the city is harder on brakes than driving out in the country or on long straight roads because braking is required less frequently. Driving in mountainous areas with steep elevation changes can wear brakes out quickly as well, because it's often necessary to ride the brakes to control downhill speed.

  • Brake pad hardness: Brake pads are available in different compounds to suit different driving needs. Hard compound brake pads last longer, but usually need to be warm before they perform well, and are more common on performance cars. Soft compound brake pads perform better at low speeds, like in urban areas. Too much heat can melt pad compound onto the brake rotor and reduce brake performance if the driving gets too extreme.

  • Materials: The materials that make up the brake rotor and brake pad also factor into the brakes’ durability. Carbon-ceramic brakes last longer than standard metal brakes, for instance, but they need to be warmer than the alternative to be effective. However, carbon-ceramic brakes are extremely expensive and found almost exclusively on high-performance sports cars. Steel or other metal brakes are much more common and still more than adequate to suit a variety of driving conditions.

How to tell if your brakes need replacing

Generally, brake pads need to be replaced after about 50,000 miles. Some need to be replaced after 25,000, while others can last for 70,000 miles – it all depends on the factors listed above. To get a more accurate number for your car’s specific needs, consult the owner's manual. Other warning signs communicate that the brake pads are wearing out, including:

  • Brake pad thickness. Inspect brake pad thickness regularly. Whenever the tires are rotated or the oil is changed, have the mechanic take a look at the brake pads too.

  • Squealing or scraping noise. Brake pads have small metal hairs at the very bottom to let the driver know when they are about to run out of grippy material; they start making a squealing noise. Replace immediately.

  • Jittery braking. If braking becomes jittery then the rotors may be warped. Some treatments can either clean or grind down the surface of the rotor in order to make it flat again. Most of the time though, it is easier, less expensive, and safer to just replace the brake rotor.

If the brakes look worn out or lose performance, they should be replaced. If there are any unusual noises or sparks coming from the brakes, have them inspected by a mechanic right away. Good, functional brakes are key to safe, predictable braking and safe motoring!


Next Step

Schedule Brake Rotors/Discs Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Brake Rotors/Discs Replacement. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Brake Rotors/Discs Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(3,192)

Rating Summary
3,049
74
23
8
38
3,049
74
23
8
38

Tinashe

13 years of experience
605 reviews
Tinashe
13 years of experience
Toyota Camry L4-2.4L - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front) - Ellenwood, Georgia
He is soooo awesome super understanding I was very satisfied with this gentleman, honestly trustworthy and very knowledgeable and informative. I will be using him again in the future
BMW 750Li xDrive - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front, Rear) - Woodstock, Georgia
Tinashe showed early and immediately went to work on my car. He did a great job and worked fairly fast in the scorching heat. The job was fantastic. A by the way, I'd seen how the job is done on YouTube, so I had different expectations in the process from his approach. Overall great job! I would definitely have him work on my car again and he comes highly recommended. Great job Tinashe!

Mathew

6 years of experience
54 reviews
Mathew
6 years of experience
BMW 528i xDrive L4-2.0L Turbo - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Rear) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Amazing tech and great overall person. He really went out of his way to make sure my car was in tip top shape. I messed up the appointment and mathew still made it work. Best bmw tech on the road!!! im will be booking again and telling anyone who needs a great tech!!!
Hyundai Santa Fe - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Rear) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Matt was GREAT! He was on time and he solved the problem with my vehicle. Matt gets the job done. I already booked my next appointment. Thanks Matt.

Pierre

9 years of experience
308 reviews
Pierre
9 years of experience
Buick LaCrosse V6-3.6L - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front) - Brockton, Massachusetts
Pierre was very professional, polite, very friendly and respectful. He IA very knowledgeable about his job and the tasks put in front of him. I feel extremely confident with his labor in repairing the issue of my car
Toyota Corolla - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Rear) - Brockton, Massachusetts
This guy isn't just friendly and outgoing and very knowledgeable. He goes out of his way to go beyond help you may need. I want to thank him for a great service and more to come.

Luis

29 years of experience
91 reviews
Luis
29 years of experience
Infiniti QX60 L4-2.5L Turbo Hybrid - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front) - Chicago, Illinois
very professional, arrived on time, work done within the time frame, very polite, and excellent job done!!!
Saturn Ion - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front) - Des Plaines, Illinois
Arrived early, finished quickly and let me know about future maintenance I might need. Excellent mechanic

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Deal With Glare While Driving at Night
Driving Driving at night (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-drive-your-vehicle-safely-at-night-by-cheryl-knight) is hard enough without having to deal with glare. Glare is usually caused by dirty windows or mirrors, bad vision, and the improper use of lights by other drivers. Luckily, you can take some steps...
How to Choose a Safe Car
When in the market to buy a new or used car (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-buy-a-car), the vast array of brands and models from which to choose can make the process confusing. Of course, there may be a style or some particular features that...
How to Adjust Drum Brakes
Many vehicles come equipped with drum brakes (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-drum-brakes-work). For many years, disc brakes have been used at the front of the vehicles...

Related questions

How do I fold the side mirrors on a 2012 Toyota Corolla?
The side mirrors can be folded in towards the car, to help protect them, or to lower the width of the vehicle. To fold the mirrors, simply grab them and push them toward the side windows until they fold into...
How do I unlock the seat belt?
The seat belt will occasionally lock, which will keep you from being able to pull it any further. When this happens, release the seat belt until it has fully returned to the retractor. Wait a few seconds, then slowly pull...
New brakes squealing bad new rotors replaced and all lines bled and all shims in place
If you are not using OEM pads, rotors and shims, that can account for the squealing. If you want to attempt to resolve it as is, Permatex Disc Brake Quiet (Part No. 80729) might work. Use that compound sparingly though...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com