How Often Should You Change Your Car’s Brake Pads?

Your brake pads are essential for your safety. Not only that but if they wear out completely, you will have a much higher auto service repair bill on your hands.


How often should you replace your brake pads? Here is what we suggest.


When to Change Your Brake Pads


Grinding and squeaking sounds are a good sign of worn brake pads. When you come in for regular maintenance, we’ll check your brake pads and tell you if they are worn out.

Corrosion and rust on your rotors can also affect your braking performance. Over time, rust can build up on the surface of the rotors, reducing their ability to grip the brake pads and slowing down your vehicle.

Salt can build up on your brake calipers can cause them to seize up or become less responsive, leading to potentially dangerous driving situations. To prevent these issues, it’s important to have your brakes inspected regularly and to address any signs of corrosion or rust as soon as possible.


We approach it from a functionality standpoint. We don’t need to get your Honda ready for cross country! We’ll perform and recommend maintenance that is right for your vehicle and how you use it.


The answer depends on two factors, the driver and the environment. If you drive in traffic a lot, you will use your brakes more often. Some drivers tend to “ride” their brakes no matter their environment.


Wear and tear occurs depending on how often the driver needs to press and depress their brakes. Brake pads likely require auto service between 30,000 and 35,000 miles for a vehicle primarily driving in an urban area. Vehicles that drive more on highways, which are less demanding on the brake pads, can last as much as 80,000 miles.


Your brake pads should be at least three millimeters thick. But if you have a big truck or drive long distances, consider brake pads between six and eight millimeters thick for high performance and optimal braking. Many mechanics recommend replacing them when only 20% thickness remains.


Brake Maintenance

Keeping your vehicle in good working order saves you money in the long term. That is why you should make car maintenance a priority. With your brake pads, checking on how they are doing can be lifesaving.


If you are not planning car maintenance soon, how do you know it is time for a brake inspection? First, it is best to understand what they are and how they work.


Brakes on Passenger Vehicles

Auto manufacturers include disc brakes and drum brakes on all passenger vehicles. Both types of brakes slow your vehicle with friction. However, there are significant differences.


Disc brakes use “pads.” The pads are pieces of friction material engineered specifically with ceramic or metallic substances. When drivers push on the brakes, they press against a “disc” or rotor. The friction slows the vehicle.


Drum brakes use a friction material, too, but they are attached to half-moon-shaped “shoes.” When you step on the passenger vehicle brakes, it pushes against the inside of the drum. The vehicle slows from the friction against the drum.


When Brake Pads Wear Out, Safety Is an Issue

A small amount of material will wear off the brake pads every time you step on the brakes. Therefore, the friction material will get thinner if you do not bring the vehicle in for brake maintenance. Eventually, the friction material will wear out completely.


This will expose steel parts. If the steel parts contact the brakes’ disc or drums, the discs and drums will incur damage. You will know your brake pads need replacing if you spot any of the following signs.


  • Squealing or screeching noises
  • Under one-quarter inch of brake pad left
  • Deep metallic growling and grinding
  • Indicator lights

If you see one of these signs on your vehicle, you must stop for a brake inspection and auto service.

Orrville’s Trusted Mechanic Shop

Depending on where you live, the roads you drive on, and how often you press on the brake, this will decide when to replace your brake pads. A great time to have them looked at is when you schedule your annual service.


Established in 1977, RNS Service is a family-owned auto repair business that treats you like family. They are founded on positive Christian values, integrity, and world-class service.


Don’t wait until it is too late for a brake inspection. Contact RNS Services today to schedule your appointment.