Trying to put a time or mileage limit on how long brake pads and rotors should last is harder than trying to predict what kind of gas mileage you should expect. Brake life depends on how much we drive, where we drive (think city versus highway) and how we drive (meaning lead foot versus slow and steady). Brakes pads wear out at different rates depending on these and a number of other factors, so it’s hard to determine when you will need to replace. Let’s take a closer look at how long brake pads last and how to tell when they are due for replacement. We will also discuss rotors and some of the most common signs that rotors are going bad.
How Long Do Brake Pads and Brake Rotors Last?
As a guideline, brakes will wear out much faster if most of your driving is in a major urban area where stop-and-go is the rule, as opposed to those who spend most of the time in their vehicle on the open road, where they might not touch the brake pedal for an hour or more. This applies to both brake pads and brake rotors.
If you drive in Boston, New York City or Chicago and spend more time stopping than going, you could need new brake pads every 15,000 miles. If you live in western Iowa and commute from Moville to Holstein, your pads could last three or four times that. Rotors typically last significantly longer than pads, and it is often possible to have them resurfaced rather than replacing them.
But if you’re a driver who frequently applies the brakes when it isn’t necessary — or even drives with one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake — it might not matter where you live. Your brake pads and brake rotors are going to wear out sooner than later.
If you own a hybrid or electric vehicle, your brakes should last longer because the regenerative brake systems they use provide much of the stopping power, reducing wear on the pads and rotors. In addition, applying the brakes early for a slow, gradual stop doesn’t increase brake wear, and it helps recharge the batteries for powering the electric motor. Some hybrid owners say their pads and rotors have lasted more than 80,000 miles