Customers often ask me "How long do brakes last", and my answer is always "it depends". It's not that I am evading the question, it really does depend on a lot of different factors. Here is a list of common reasons why brakes may not last as long as you might expect.
Aggressive driving, such as frequent hard braking, can significantly accelerate brake wear. Even on highways, such as the 401, if there's a pattern of abrupt stops or heavy braking, it can impact the brake life.
The type of terrain you drive on can affect brake wear. Driving in hilly or mountainous areas may require more frequent braking, leading to increased wear compared to driving on flat terrain. If your routine driving route takes you down steep hills, reduce your speed leading up to the hill to minimize the need to ride the brakes to avoid going too fast down the hill.
The quality of the brake components used during replacement plays a crucial role. Low-quality brake pads or rotors will wear out much faster than higher-quality alternatives. That's why I insist on using the best quality replacement brakes. The extra cost of the parts is insignificant compared to having to replace your brakes twice as often when using low quality replacement pads, drums and rotors.
Different brake pad materials have varying wear characteristics. Some materials may offer better performance but wear out more quickly. Learn more about brake pad materials.
Environmental conditions, such as exposure to extreme temperatures, humidity, or corrosive substances, can impact the lifespan of brake components. If you leave your car outdoors most of the time, rain water will splash onto disc brake rotors and cause them to rust. This rust build up will create more abrasion on the pads causing both the pads and the rotors to fail prematurely.
Problems with the brake calipers, such as sticking or uneven pressure, can cause uneven wear on the brake pads. This is a common problem even after you get your brakes replaced by the dealer or an inexperienced mechanic. It is critical to make sure the pins used to allow your calipers to easily disengage are clean and well lubricated and that the rubber seals are fully in tack. This takes extra time that most mechanics aren't willing to devote since they have a full docket of scheduled vehicles to service. I generally only take on one or two repairs per day so I am able to spend the extra time needed to do the job right.
Contaminated or old brake fluid can affect the efficiency of the braking system and contribute to increased wear on brake components.
Excessive heat generated during braking, especially in high-speed driving or towing heavy loads, can lead to accelerated wear on brake pads and rotors.
If the new brake components were not properly bedded-in after installation, it could lead to uneven wear and reduced braking performance.
Problems with other components of the braking system, such as the brake master cylinder or brake lines, can impact the overall performance and longevity of the brakes.
If you're experiencing issues stopping your vehicle or if your brakes make a noise, don't wait. Contact me right away to inspect the braking system, identify the specific issues, and recommend appropriate solutions. Regular maintenance, adherence to recommended service intervals, and the use of high-quality brake components can contribute to prolonged brake life.