In simple terms the answer will be not very often. However, the brake pads and brake rotors wear away with time. But, to answer how frequently you need to replace them you have to take into consideration two major factors- your driving pattern and the brake materials. Therefore, the answer is not that straight forward.
If you are driving in a crowded urban area instead of highways, your brake pads or shoes need to be replaced often. You have to use brakes often while driving in a crowded area so the materials wear off easily and need to be replaced even if you are driving lesser miles. There is no clear cut manual to tell you when it is time to change the brakes, so you have to rely on some signs and expert technicians’ advice.
Signs that your car’s brake needs replacement or repair
- Brakes are essential part of any vehicle so it has to be well maintained so that it can perform its function properly. Most of the cars use disc brakes. A set of padded clamps are squeezed on a disc which is known as rotor. The friction between pads and rotor can stop a car. The thickness of these pads will eventually wear off and its brake will become less effective at slowing down and stopping your car.
There is a straight forward procedure. You can look between the spokes of the wheel and spot the metal rotor inside. Look on the outer edge you will notice the pads. The pads should be one and a quarter inch thick. If it is thinner than that it is a good idea to change them.
- Another obvious sign that the car’s brake needs replacement or servicing is when the brake system emits a high pitched squealing sound. Along with squeal sound if there is a grinding sound coming from the brake, you need to understand that the pads are completely damaged. When you are applying brake the metal of the rotor is grinding against the metal of the outer ring. You may damage your car’s rotor if you continue to drive like this. Therefore, it is a good idea to stop the car and do all the necessary repair works.
- If you ever have to stop your car in emergency applying antilock brakes, you are familiar with pulsing brake pedals. It usually happens when the system quickly grabs the rotor to slow the car. However, if you feel the similar vibration in the pedal under normal braking condition, there can be a problem. It is best to see a mechanic.
- Most of the cars in recent times have a brake warning light that comes on for a few second whenever you start your vehicle. If the same light comes on while you are driving, it indicates the fluid in the brake system is low.
Whenever, the oil is changed let the mechanic look at the brake pads. The thickness of the pads is to be monitored intermittently. Call a mechanic if you hear unusual noise or see sparks coming out from the brake. Sometimes cleaning the rotors or repairing may help to fix the problem. If the brake looks worn out or is not performing well, it has to be replaced.