How long Do Brake Pads Last- Let’s Find Out!
Most of the cars owners are curious to know – How long do brake pads last? Searching the answer with car experts, mechanic, or acquaintances, will most probably get you three different answers.
By this, it’s easy to comprehend that determining the life of brake pad in miles or time is quite difficult.
To know what exactly brake pads are and how they work along with the estimated lifespan of this car component, let’s delve deeper into the information provided.
What are Brake Pads and How they Work?
Defined as one of the key components in the brake system, the brake pads are an essential part of the disc brakes. Used in automobile industries, these are backing plates manufactured from steel. With friction material bonded to surface facing the vehicle’s brake rotor, it helps in slowing down or stopping the vehicle.
Working of Brake Pads
Disc brakes consist of two brake pads in each disc rotor. Brought into action by the caliper, these pads are attached to the suspension upright or wheel hub. Usually, the cars have two brake pads in each caliper. But cars with racing calipers utilizes six pads in a staggered pattern. For optimum performance, they also possess variable frictional properties.
When the foot brake is applied, the caliper squeezes the brake pads onto the rotating rotor. During this process, the pads covert the kinetic energy into thermal energy through its friction, which further helps in slowing or stopping the vehicle. And, it is because of the contact of brake pads with the rotor that turns them dull grey in color (due to the heat produced).
This is how the brake pad and disc stick to each other and provide friction to stop the car. Now, let’s find out How long do brake pads last?
How Long Do Brake Pads Last – A Real Estimation!
How many miles does brake pads last depends on several factors? Ranging from laws of physics to driving style, the longevity of brake pads also rely upon the material used in its manufacturing.
So, let’s address the estimated life of brake pads by characterizing them in different types (based on material) first:
1. Brake Pad Material – Factor Measuring Brake Pad Life
Surrounded by a composite material made from non-metallic fibers, these brake pads also include powdered metals, graphite, and nutshells. Added with fillers, these organic pads also ensure the reduction of both heat and noise, while in action.
There’s no doubt that the organic brake pads provide best stopping power yet they hold a disadvantage. In simple words, great stopping power means more wearing of pads during each stop that ultimately reduces the lifespan of these brake pads.
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The metallic brake pads were once used in racing cars. the Although they are manufactured using a variety of metals, they have been replaced by organic and semi-metallic pads in the automobile industry.
Ranging from copper, steel to iron, these brake pads are made by blending both organic material and metals. Additionally, these pads are more heat resistant and stronger than the organic and metallic pads.
If you’re wondering – How long do brake pads last then, remember these pads are more durable and hard in nature. However, if you’re looking for better stopping power, then organic pads are the ideal choice.
Also, known as the ceramic pads, synthetic pads are manufactured using both non-organic and nonmetallic material. Generally, made from aramid fibers and fiberglass, these pads are much stronger and weigh about half the weight of average pad. Besides this, you can also count on these pads for a better hot and cold stopping power.
No doubt, the synthetic pads are costlier than the other types of pads but in terms of durability, they are better than their counterparts.
2. Driving Style: Another Factor Affecting Brake Pads
Now, besides the brake pad material, the driving style is another important factor that determines how long do brake pads last. Therefore, try following the below-mentioned driving habits to increase the life of this key component.
It’s a fact that more mass means more brake power is needed to slow down or stop the car. Therefore, try to keep less stuff in the trunk or the bed of pickup truck. Secondly, contaminated or low level of brake fluid means excessive wearing of brake pads. So, you must flush the fluid after driving every 25,000 miles in the car. Last but not the least, speed is the biggest factor that affects the life of brake pads, as fast driving with sudden stops is more likely to reduce the life of pads.
3. Law of Physics: Determining the Life of Brake Pads
This is another factor determining how many miles does brake pads last!
As said earlier, the brake system converts the kinetic energy into thermal energy through the brake pads. And, the amount of car’s kinetic energy is determined by its weight, speed, and speed change frequency.
According to physics, when car’s weight is multiplied by the square of the speed, the value obtained is called kinetic energy. And, on dividing the resultant value with 29.9, kinetic energy in foot-pounds is obtained.
As per the theory, when moving car generates torque, nothing happens unless the driver applies the brake. After that, a lot of things happens. The brakes overcome dynamic inertia and force static inertia. This means, moving the car is forced to come to stop. This is done by converting the kinetic energy to thermal energy.
Now, here if the pads of small size, force the car to stop after reaching the speed of 60 miles per hour, they’ll produce 232.2 degrees Celsius temperature. And, this is what affects the pad’s life. Simply put, this means when a driver applies the brakes, the pads heat up, wear down, and die slightly. So, the way you apply brakes, decides how long do brake pads last.
Therefore, to increase the pad life, one must keep a check on brake fluid and pads, as well. These brake pads can be checked using pad gauges. Or, else when the spring clip attached to these brake pads wear down, they generate a squealing noise on rubbing against the rotor. Thus, indicating towards the need for brake pads change.
In a nutshell, it’s essential to follow maintenance tips for increasing the life of brake pads. And, for the best guidance regarding how long should brake pads last, you can consult the reputable car repair and maintenance shop nearby.
Check out the video below to know more about the performance of brake pads: