How long do brakes last?

  • By Lea Naiz
  • 28 Jun, 2017

Brake life is dependent on many factors. Some are beyond control of the driver, others are within your influence as the driver.

Things You Can Control

  • How late you brake every time you are required to slow your vehicle. Waiting to the last possible second to use the brakes causes accelerated wear of the brake pads.
  • Energy management – This is the art of carrying momentum to smooth the oscillations of speeding up and slowing down which is so characteristic of city driving. The goal of this has several direct benefits to you in the form of better fuel mileage, smoother movement through the city, less stressful driving, and LONGER BRAKE LIFE.
    • Look far ahead to read the traffic and traffic signals and accelerate so as to keep cars behind you moving without the slinky effect but not so quickly that you have to slam on the brakes at the next stop light.
    • Look far ahead to read traffic and traffic signals and slow accordingly without impeding cars behind you.

(All of this requires engaged driving)

  • In Colorado and the intermountain west long steep grades are common. Using engine braking to control your speed is a great way to extend brake pad life. (Read your owner’s manual for instructions on engine braking)
  • You can ask your car care professional for the best quality brake pads available – this usually renders the longest life span for brake pads.

Things You Have No Control Over

  • Vehicle weight – heavy vehicles such as SUVs will wear brakes more rapidly especially when used in stop and go traffic – as in city driving.
  • Brake system engineering – for the most part modern brake systems are well designed however there are certain vehicles where the brake system is simply not adequate for the weight of the vehicle resulting in accelerated brake pad wear.
  • The type of driving your are required to do – stop and go vs. highway driving. It’s no secret that stop and go driving will wear out your brakes sooner than if you run down the highway for hours on end.

Answers In Minimum Numbers
Brake Pad Life expectancy:

City Driving:                15,000 miles.
Combined Driving:      20,000 miles
Highway Driving:        30,000 miles.

If you cannot achieve these minimums there is something wrong with the vehicle, brake pad material, brake system, or your ability to manage the vehicle (Sorry folks – gotta tell it like it is).

If you are tired of getting the runaround and being treated like you haven’t got a clue, we invite you to try   Colchin Automotive  instead. Give us a call at 303-431-5421 for all of your automotive needs!

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