Posted under Car Brakes

Anything you use often will eventually wear out. It’s true of the lightbulb in your bedside lamp, the sponge in your kitchen, and the brake pads in your vehicle. But few normal wear items are as important to your safety, and to the safety of every pedestrian and driver you encounter on the road, as your brakes. So, it’s just natural for a responsible driver to wonder, “How long should brake pads last?”

How Do Brake Pads Work?

First, let’s hit the brakes and take a moment to look at brake pads and what they do. Brake pads are a key component of the disc brake system found on most vehicles on the road today. Disc brakes consist of the following:

  • Calipers (w/caliper pistons)
  • Brake pads
  • A metallic disc (aka rotor)

Here’s how those components work together to bring you to a stop:

  1. When your foot presses the brake pedal, it generates hydraulic pressure in the master cylinder, which contains brake fluid.
  2. The pressurized fluid passes through the brake lines and hoses to the calipers and caliper pistons.
  3. The caliper pistons press the brake pads against the disc or rotor.
  4. This generates friction, which causes your vehicle to slow or stop.

Every time you press that pedal, your brake pads are put into use, causing wear. A worn brake pad can lead to costly damage to the disc or rotor, so knowing how long brake pads should last is important to safe driving and smart vehicle maintenance. 

How Many Miles Do Brake Pads Last?

The lifespan of your vehicle’s brake pads depends on your vehicle model, brake pad type, and driving conditions (more on this later). But generally, the standard life of brake pads is approximately 20,000 to 65,000 miles, with an average of 40,000 miles. That’s a wide range, isn’t it? When something matters as much as your brakes, you want to stay on top of their care. Check your owner’s manual for your specific vehicle’s service/inspection schedule. During that brake inspection, the pads will get a thorough once over, and you’ll learn whether a brake pad change is in order.

Factors That Impact Brake Pad Longevity

While you’re wondering, “How long do brake pads last?” the answer may be affected by, “How do you drive?” For example:

  • Do you spend more time cruising along the highway or in traffic? Traveling long distances at a consistent speed is easier on your brake pads than the constant stop-and-go of city streets.
  • Do you often haul heavy loads? That extra weight can put a strain on your braking system.
  • Do you travel through hills or mountains? Downhill driving is hard on brake pads.

Material makeup can also make a difference regarding how long brake pads last. Are your brakes constructed of materials referred to as metallic or ceramic? While metallic pads can provide greater stopping power, they can also wear differently than ceramic pads.

Ways to Extend the Life of Your Brake Pads

Your brakes are one of your vehicle’s most important safety features, so you want to keep them in good working order. The best way to extend the life of your brake pads is to follow your manufacturer’s recommended service/inspection schedule. 
When it’s time for service or inspection, or you’re experiencing noisy, unusual stops, bring your vehicle to your local Jiffy Lube. We offer a complete brake service that includes a brake inspection and, if necessary, brake rotor and brake pad replacement.
A trained technician will visually inspect your vehicle’s brake system, measure your brake pads (along with other key brake system components), and then give you a written evaluation. Based on the results of the evaluation — and with your permission — the technician can service and replace brake system components in accordance with your manufacturer's specifications.

NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.