How Often Should You Change Your Car’s Brakes

Front-end crashes dropped 43% when vehicles were equipped with forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB). However, none of these safety features matter when you don’t have good brakes on your car. Like your oil, you must routinely change your car’s brakes.

Take care of your car and improve your safety by changing your car’s brakes.

Check the Owners’ Manual

Vehicle manufacturers create a manual for each vehicle produced. It is the go-to book for all the car’s maintenance needs, including replacing your brakes.

Unfortunately, the owners’ manual will give you a general guideline, not a specific answer. However, this gives you a starting point. For example, it could say that you should get your brakes checked every 20,000-30,000 miles or once every 1-2 years.

When the Brakes Wear Down

The manufacturer can’t give you an exact time frame because how often you change your brakes is wholly dependent on your driving habits. If you are heavy on the brakes, you will need to change them sooner than someone who barely uses them.

Sometimes, it isn’t your driving skills but the driving conditions that wear your brakes down faster. As a result, you are forced to use your brakes more, and that causes them to wear down faster.

  • Driving in the mountains
  • Hauling heavy loads
  • Towing
  • Driving in stop-and-go traffic

Brake Pad Material

Brakes come in several types, including ceramic, organic, semi-metallic, and metallic. The most durable brake material is ceramic. Using this type could extend the amount of time between brake changes.

Codes come with DOT-mandated friction codes printed that tell you about the pad’s stopping power. Typically, the higher the stopping power, the faster the pads wear down. Metallic brakes are a top choice for performance drivers, but they wear out faster than ceramic brake pads.

Brake Pad Thickness

The best determination of when brakes need changing is their thickness. Over time, the brake pads on your car wear down. Modern brake pads come with a thickness sensor.

For some pads, an electronic sensor triggers the light in your dash. For other pads, it is a metal “feeler” that makes a terrible high-pitched noise when you use the brakes.

The noise happens because the metal feeler in the brake pad makes contact with the rotor. This contact shouldn’t damage the rotor. Ignoring this sound will eventually cause you to lose braking power and potentially damage the rotor.

Sometimes wet brakes can make a similar sound when you first use them. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change your brakes. However, if the squeal continues when the brakes dry, this could signal it is time to change them.

Damaged Brakes

If your car needs brake repair, you should stop driving the vehicle immediately. Driving a car with damaged brakes puts you at significant risk of getting into an accident. Instead, have the car towed to a local repair shop to fix and replace the brakes.

Change Your Car’s Brakes

take a look at your car’s owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. Then have the brakes regularly checked by a professional mechanic. Finally, listen when you brake for a squealing noise that signals it is time to change your car’s brakes.

Visit Express Auto Service in Fredericksburg, VA, and get your car’s brakes checked.

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