How Long Do Brakes Usually Last?

Are you wondering if you need to replace your brakes after a certain amount of time? Curious if they should be replaced based on mileage?

Although high quality brakes like those offered by 1A Auto are built to last between 30,000 and 50,000 miles, how long they’ll actually last depends on a number of factors.

According to 1A Auto’s president, Mike Green, how long brakes last is not dependent on mileage.

“No one can say, ‘Oh, your car has 60,000 miles on it. You need new brakes,’” Green said in a 1A Auto video in which he demonstrates how to check brakes and perform a brake job.

How driving condition, style and frequency impact brake life

The amount of time brakes last is more likely to be impacted by a driver’s driving condition, style and frequency.

brake disc close up

Green explains that a car driven primarily on the highway may not need a brake replacement for about 100,000 miles, whereas a car that’s typically more “stop-and-go” may need new brakes after 20,000 miles.

“Have you ever seen those people driving down the road and their brakes are always on? Some of them might have problems. Some of them might be riding their brakes. They'll probably need brakes at 5,000 miles,” he said.

Other factors that can affect brake life include road conditions and vehicle weight.

Know the condition and quality of your brakes

One way to determine your brakes’ condition is to check the brake pads’ wear indicators. These tabs will grind into the rotors as the surface of the brake pads wear away. When the pads have worn, that grinding will create a “metal on metal” noise, which you’ll normally hear when the brakes are applied.

“As soon as you start hearing that squeaking noise, you know that's when you need to replace your pads,” Green said.

New brake pads are between ? and ½ of an inch thick, but Green said that his worn pads that were about half of that thickness were still probably worth 10 or 15,000 miles.

In addition to the condition and quality of your brake pads, brake life is also affected by the condition of the rotors.

Another sign it’s time to replace your brakes is if you can see or feel deep grooves in your brake rotors, also caused by the brake pad wear tabs grinding into the rotors.

Shop brake parts

For more information about when to replace brakes and to shop for brake parts, check out our frequently asked brake questions.

Learn how to replace your brakes:

Watch video: How To Check Your Brakes & Perform Brake Job

For brake replacements specific to your vehicle or a model similar to yours, visit our how-to video library.


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