There are all sorts of auto maintenance steps that you need to take in order to keep your vehicle in safe and functional shape. One of the most important of these is the changing of brake pads. 

But you might be wondering: how long do brake pads last? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as waiting an allotted amount of time. It’s dependent on how much you drive, not to mention a variety of other conditions. 

Interested in learning more about the subject? Then read on. Here is everything you need to know about replacing brake pads. 

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?: An Estimate

As was noted above, there’s no designated span of time for how long brake pads last. That said, for a vehicle that’s driven regularly, we can estimate. 

Most brake pads will wear out between 30,000 and 70,000 miles of driving. Considering the average driver drives around 14,000 miles a year, this would mean that brake pads last between 2 and 5 years. 

That said, there are a number of factors that can affect this. We’re going to discuss those factors below. 

What Is the Construction Quality of the Pads?

One of the main factors that determine a set of brake pads’ lifespan is the construction quality of the pads. Whereas some pads are made out of cheap materials that can only withstand 30,000 miles of driving, other pads are made out of heavy-duty materials that can withstand 70,000 to even 100,000 miles of driving. 

Ceramic pads tend to be the most durable. They’re followed by semi-metallic, low-metallic, and organic pads, in that order. 

How Aggressively Do You Brake?

The more friction that brake pads are subjected to, the quicker they’ll wear out. As such, it stands to reason that aggressive braking wears pads out faster than does slow, measured braking. In other words, if you want your brake pads to last as long as possible, stop gradually and not suddenly. 

What Type of Driving Do You Do?

Do you spend a lot of time on the highway? Or, do you go through the city, hitting stoplight after stoplight? If it’s the former, you’re bound to put less wear and tear on your brake pads. 

After all, when you’re on the highway, you’re rarely hitting the brakes at all. When you’re in the city, you’re hitting the brakes every few seconds. The more you hit those brakes, the faster those brake pads will wear down. 

Do You Have a Manual or Automatic Transmission?

Your transmission type affects the duration of your brake pads as well. Because manual transmissions assist in the braking process, they tend to put less wear and tear on brake pads over time. 

Automatic transmissions have nothing to do with slowing the vehicle down. As such, they make the brake pads do all of the work, resulting in the most deterioration possible. 

In What Type of Conditions Do You Drive? 

The type of conditions that you drive in can have an effect on your brake pads also. For instance, if you have to deal with a lot of hills, your brake pads will almost certainly take on more wear and tear. 

If you live in a snowy area, you’ll likely have to use your brakes more during the winter. This can also affect the lifespan of your brake pads. 

Signs That You Need New Brake Pads

Generally speaking, the best way to determine your need for new brake pads is to look out for signs of deterioration. If you notice the following signs, buying brake pads should be on your list of things to do. 

Your Brakes Are Squeaking

Brakes can squeak for a number of different reasons. In fact, new brake pads can squeak until they’re properly broken in. 

However, if you’ve had your brake pads for a while and you suddenly start hearing squeaking noises whenever you apply the brakes, it’s probably time for a brake pad replacement. 

Why do bad brake pads make a squeaking noise? Because their non-metal components have worn down, and your brake rotors are making direct contact with the metal components of the pads. A squeaking or screeching sound is the result. 

It’s Taking a Long Time to Stop Your Vehicle 

Does it seem like your vehicle takes longer to stop than it used to? If so, faulty brake pads are probably the culprit. Your brakes are likely metal-on-metal at this point, which isn’t providing the traction necessary to stop in a timely manner. 

Your Brakes Are Vibrating

Generally speaking, when brake pads are in good shape, braking is a smooth and steady process. Unfortunately, once the brake pads wear down, this smooth and steady process turns into a rough and choppy one. In most cases, this presents itself as extreme vibration. 

So, if you feel your brakes vibrating violently every time you put your foot down on the pedal, be aware: new brake pads are probably needed. You can find them at

Replacing Brake Pads Is an Integral Part of Auto Maintenance

Now that you have an answer to “how long do brake pads last?”, you can assess whether you need new car brake pads currently. If you’re noticing any strange signs, you should make the change sooner rather than later. Replacing brake pads is an integral part of auto maintenance, and failing to do it in a timely manner can have dire consequences. 

On the hunt for similar info? Our website is the place to be. Browse through some of our other articles right now!