How Often Should Brakes Be Replaced?

Schedule Brake Rotors/Discs Replacement
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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!


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Recent Brake Rotors/Discs Replacement reviews

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YourMechanic Brake Rotors/Discs Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

2,386

Rating Summary
2,272
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2,272
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Robert

20 years of experience
13 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Volkswagen Beetle - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Rear) - Concord, California
This was perhaps the best experience I could have hoped for- very warm, friendly and knowledgeable. Flexible with getting me scheduled and overall really happy with the job!
Mazda CX-9 - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front, Rear) - Oakland, California
Robert was professional, personable and efficient. He arrived 10 minutes early for a 7:00 AM appointment, had excellent diagnostic skills, made suggestions regarding logistics that proved to be on point, was thorough and careful in his work, and made sure I understood everything along the way. In the time it took me to complete a single work phone call, Robert had replaced my rotors and all four discs, test driven the car, and completed a 50 point inspection. This is the guy you want wrenching on your mom car!

Pardeep

20 years of experience
633 reviews
Pardeep
20 years of experience
Honda Pilot - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front, Rear) - Mountain View, California
Pardeep was an excellent and very efficient mechanic. He was very knowledgeable with all the right tools to get the job done correctly and efficiently. He showed up early, worked smart, quickly, and was thorough, a tough combination to master. I'd hire him again.
Mercedes-Benz C300 - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front) - San Jose, California
Pardeep is very experience and friendly. He has explained whatever doubts I have on my car, and did the scheduled maintenance job very well. I really appreciate his patience.

Willie

23 years of experience
23 reviews
Willie
23 years of experience
Jeep Compass - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Front, Rear) - North Hollywood, California
I made an appointment to have my brake rotors/disc replaced. On the day I scheduled my car services- it ended up raining. Willie checked in, moved my appointment, and continued to communicate through out the day until he was able to come work on my car. He took great car to make the repairs ANNNDDD SAVED ME MONEY by only doing what was necessary (only one of the rotors needed replacing). A blessing.

Simon

26 years of experience
43 reviews
Simon
26 years of experience
Dodge Journey - Brake Rotor/Disc Replacement (Rear) - Alexandria, Virginia
Simon is always helpful and knowledgeable! He takes his time to explain everything to me and answer my questions.

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