Brake Replacement Assessments – How Often You Should Replace Brake Component’s
Brake pads and brake rotors wear out over time. How often brakes should be replaced depends on the brake material, as well as your driving patterns.
Brakes perform a vital function for the driver and need to be well maintained to work at their best. The brake caliper, brake pads, and brake rotor are the primary components of car disc brake systems. The brake pads and rotors on all cars wear out eventually, but brake wear varies based on a number of factors, including:
- Driving habits: How hard a driver pushes their brakes greatly affects how long the brake pads last. Some drivers ride the brakes and stop abruptly, while others gently coast to a stop. Smooth, gradual braking increases pad lifespan, but of course it’s important to brake abruptly when safety calls for it.
- Environment: Due to stop-and-go traffic and traffic lights, driving in the city is harder on brakes than driving out in the country or on long straight roads because braking is required less frequently. Driving in mountainous areas with steep elevation changes can wear brakes out quickly as well, because it’s often necessary to ride the brakes to control downhill speed.
- Brake pad hardness: Brake pads are available in different compounds to suit different driving needs. Hard compound brake pads last longer but usually need to be warm before they perform well, and are more common on performance cars. Soft compound brake pads perform better at low speeds, like in urban areas. Too much heat can melt pad compound onto the brake rotor and reduce brake performance if the driving gets too extreme.
- Materials: The materials that make up the brake rotor and brake pad also factor into the brakes’ durability. Carbon-ceramic brakes last longer than standard metal brakes, for instance, but they need to be warmer than the alternative to be effective. However, carbon-ceramic brakes are extremely expensive and found almost exclusively on high-performance sports cars. Steel or other metal brakes are much more common and still more than adequate to suit a variety of driving conditions.
h/t to yourmechanic.com for the info!
When to Replace Brake Rotors
All cars, trucks and SUV have brake rotors, usually four of them and they are quite expensive. When the time comes to replace brake rotors here is how to know if you really do need to replace brake rotors or if you can skim them at a much lower cost and get more miles out of them. First rotors are a disposable items and will need replacing anywhere from 25 000km to 120 000km into their use depending on your driving style and the type of brake pads used.
Some brake pads are much more aggressive than others. A sign of a fairly aggressive pad is one which makes a lot of dust. Tests have shown that over 90% of brake dust is actually Fe or iron material coming from your rotors so a less aggressive pad will wear rotors less and also produce less dust. Some rotor wear must happen for the rotor to self-clean and function properly, no wear at all usually will result on rotor black spotting where with a self-cleaning pad, the rotor surfaces get mildly scrubbed us as you drive the car to keep them smooth and keep them true. Before you replace brake rotors look at these photos which will guide you on whether you need to replace brake rotors or you can salvage them.
When to Replace Brake Callipers
Most brake callipers do not need to be rebuilt or replaced the first time the brakes are relined. But after 120 000km, or seven to 10 years of service, the callipers may be reaching the end of the road. As the rubber seals age and harden – the risk of sticking and leaking goes up.
Few shops rebuild their own callipers these days because it takes too long and increases the risk of a comeback if the calliper sticks or leaks. It’s easier, faster and safer to simply replace the old callipers with new or remanufactured callipers. Loaded callipers are even better because they give you everything you need in one box, and there’s much less chance of mismatched parts.
Calliper replacement is required if a calliper is leaking brake fluid, if a piston is sticking, or the calliper is worn or damaged. Leaks are very dangerous and should never be ignored because loss of fluid can cause brake failure.