Understanding the health of your car is essential for not just your vehicle, but the long-term safety of the user. If you look after the car, it will look after you. There is no internal component more important to car safety than the braking system, so it is crucial to know the fundamentals: how long do brake pads and discs last, what affects the condition of brakes and how to change them when the time comes. Our guide at Car Parts 4 Less will take you through each part of a car brake with our expert knowledge. Check out our range of car brake pads should you need to replace your old ones.
Brake Pads & Discs Lifespans
The average life of a brake pad can be between 25000 to 65000 miles, dependant on the car, driving conditions and driving style. Taking into account the average mileage of a driver in the UK is around 7400 miles, that means your car’s brake pads will need changing after about 3.5 years of use. Brake discs last considerably longer with a lifespan of around 50000 miles on average, but likewise this may be dictated by driving conditions.
Causes of Brake Failure
The gradual wear on brake pads and discs can vary greatly based on the individual driver’s circumstances, but there are common causes that impact brake health:
Driving style- overly aggressive braking is one of the biggest culprits to worn down brake pads and discs. Slamming the brakes when coming to a stop puts pressure on the plates, causing them to grind.
Car Load- the heavier the load on a car, the harder brakes have to work to generate friction and keep the car stable on the road.
Route- if you are driving on a route with many junctions and stops, you are braking much more frequently and therefore putting more wear on the brake pads and discs. This will be encountered also on motorways.
Identifying Worn Brakes and Discs
Now that you know what can cause faulty brakes and discs, it’s important to be able to identify when these issues arise and what the tell-tale signs are:
Vibration when braking- brake pad wear will often produce vibration through the braking system when applying pressure to the pedal.
Squeaky brakes- a sure sign of damaged brake pads is a squeaking sound when braking, a result of the pads becoming worn down. This can be a symptom of brake pads reaching the end of their natural lifespan or further damage caused by the reasons outlined in the above breakdown.
Grinding sound when breaking- the sound of scraping metal denotes brake pads and discs that need immediate attention. Some car models have built-in indicators when pads and discs require replacing.
Longer stopping time- this one can have serious, immediate impact on your driving and those around you. If you are taking longer to brake and stop, a mechanic should be contacted ASAP to check your brake system, as the pads or discs may be completely worn down or the brake fluid could be drained.
Brake warning light- most modern vehicles are equipped with a brake warning light on the dashboard. If this light is on and the parking brake is not set, there could be a deeper issue that needs investigation.
Experiencing any of the above?
If you feel like your braking system is experiencing any of the above, it may be time to change brake pads. Our comprehensive guide to changing brake pads will take you through each step of the process and what you need to tackle it yourself. You can also find our range of brake pads for various cars and manufacturers on our website.