How Long Do Car Brakes Last?: A Definitive Guide

Did you know that the inventor of the first steam-powered road vehicle is Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769? Do you currently have a car, and are wondering how long your car’s brakes will last?

In this article, explore the answer to the question, how long do car brakes last? Read on to discover the answer to this question and more about your car and its braking system for better peace of mind driving.

How Long Do Car Brakes Last?

Before buying new brakes for your car, it’s important to understand how long they’ll last. First, understand that brake rotors last longer than brake pads.

Your brake pads should last between 25,000-65,000 miles. Different factors, such as your brakes wearing down, can impact the length of time they’ll last.

Why Do Car Brake Pads Wear?

Your car uses disc brakes to stop or slow your car down with brake calipers. Brake calipers are similar to clamps. These clamps squeeze the brake pads against brake discs (rotors).

When you use your brakes, this causes the calipers to clamp down on the brake pads, and squeeze the rotors. This squeeze motion causes friction in order to stop. When your pads rub against the rotors, they break down over time.

Not All Brakes Are Equal

Depending on your driving situation and environment, it can make your brakes wear out quicker. If you live in a hilly or mountainous area, it can cause more wear on your brakes than a flat location.

How Do I Know My Car’s Brakes Have a Problem?

The first sign you might need new car brake pads is if you hear any grinding, squeaking, or squealing noises when you’re driving. Pay attention to any high-pitched noises you’ll hear when you use the brakes. This is a sign that there’s wear on your brake pads.

Soft Brake Pedal

Do you notice a difference in the feel of the brake pad? If it sinks or feels softer this can indicate there’s a problem. It can mean a problem with the master cylinder, or that there’s moisture or air in the braking system.

Burning Smell

Burning smell after braking indicates you have an overheated clutch or brakes. You’ll want to pull your car over, ensure that the parking brake is released, and wait for the brakes to cool down. If you don’t let it rest, it can cause brake failure.

Perform Visual Checks

In order to know if there’s a problem with your brakes, it’s a good idea to do a visual check. Take a look at the wheel spokes. Check out where the brake discs touch the outboard brake.

You’ll want to see at least a quarter-inch of material on the brake pad. If there’s less than that, you’ll want to have your brakes checked.

How To Make Your Brakes Last Longer?

One way to increase the lifespan of car brakes is to reduce your speed while driving. The faster you go, the more pressure you’re putting on your brakes.

Carry Less

Ensure that your car is carrying less weight wise. The more items you have in your car, the harder your brakes have to work. Anything that you don’t need to keep in your car, find another home for.


Instead of riding the brakes, coast more often while driving. The more you brake, the more pressure you’re putting on your brake pads.

Use One Foot

Don’t use both feet while driving. Some drivers think that if they have their right foot on the gas pedal, and left foot on the brakes, it’ll improve the response of their vehicle. This puts constant pressure on your brakes and will wear them out over time.

Engine Braking

Instead of riding your brakes down a steep hill, try engine braking. This is where you slow down your car by shifting with the gears. You can do it with automatic or manual, but it works better with the manual.

The Different Types of Brake Pads

Whether you’re considering low-metallic or ceramic brake pads, you have plenty of options when it comes to brakes. Low-metallic brake pads are great for heat-transfer, but keep in mind they’re noisy.


Ceramic brake pads are a top pick. They’re more expensive than other choices, but they last longer. Since they’re ceramic, they’re great at absorbing heat from hard braking.


Another option that’s quite common to find is known as semi-metallic brake pads. You can find them in various vehicles since they’re made of copper or graphite.

Keep in mind that this option doesn’t perform as well at lower temperatures. Also, semi-metallic brake pads will wear down your roots faster, and cause more noise.

What Car Brake Pad Should I Choose?

Each vehicle will need different brake pads, and it’s important to determine the type of vehicle, how often you drive, and the environment you’ll be in. If you have a compact car, you might be fine with organic brake pads. Vans or full-size trucks might need brake pads with enough metal to break and reduce the wear of them.

If you’re often carrying other people or large loads, you’ll want to choose a heavy-duty or upgraded brake pad. Standard or less expensive brake pads might not be as safe.

Exploring the Answer To, How Long Do Car Brakes Last?

Now that you’ve answered the question to, how long do car brakes last, you should have a better idea of how much time you have left in your brakes. Are you looking for more vehicle content? For everything from RV’s to cars, check out our other articles today.

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