The typical set of brake pads lasts several years, or generally up to around 40,000 miles. Although these estimates provide a good baseline for the average driver, they can vary based on your road conditions and driving habits. Of course, once you hear the telltale squeal of your brake indicator (or see the warning light in your dash), then you know it's time for a replacement.
Taking your car to have this service performed may come with some additional suggestions from your mechanic, however. Brake maintenance is about more than just replacing your pads, but do you need these extra services? Keep reading to find out which extras you should consider when having your brake pads replaced.
1. Rotor Replacement
Your brake pads can't function without rotors to provide a friction surface, but these metal discs are far more durable than your pads. If your mechanic suggests replacing your rotors with every brake change, then that may be going a little too far for typical driving habits. Still, all drivers will eventually need to consider replacing their vehicle's rotors.
In most cases, you'll need to replace your brake rotors (or brake discs) when they become too thin, or when the surface becomes warped, pitted, or scarred. Your mechanic can evaluate your rotors to determine if a replacement is required. Depending on how often you burn through your brake pads, you'll usually need to change your rotors during every second or third pad replacement.
2. Brake Fluid Flush
If you're scratching your head at the idea of a brake fluid flush, then there's a good chance your brake fluid is in desperate need of replacement. Your brakes need hydraulic fluid to function correctly, and worn out fluid can negatively impact your braking performance. Most manufacturers place flush intervals in their owner's manuals, but the reality is that most drivers change their fluid too infrequently.
Does this mean you should always spring for the fluid flush service when replacing your brake pads? As a general rule, the answer is "yes." Since manufacturers generally recommend an interval of no more than 40,000 miles between fluid changes, you will almost always be due for one by the time your brake pads wear out.
3. Hardware Replacements
Your mechanic may sometimes tell you that they replaced or lubricated hardware items, such as your caliper guide pins or the guide pin boots. These are relatively low-cost items, but they can impact how smoothly and quietly your brakes operate. These items won't always need replacement, but your mechanic should check their condition and offer to replace them as needed.
Keeping your brakes maintained ensures that your car remains safe to drive. Taking a few extra steps during your routine service appointments can improve performance and braking feel. Reach out to your local brake service today to learn more about how you can keep your brakes running smoothly.