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How long do brakes last?

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WhoCanFixMyCar discusses how long brakes usually last and what you can do to extend their lifespan.

At some point during your car’s lifetime, paying for brake repairs and replacements is going to be inevitable, so one of the questions at the forefront of most drivers’ minds is “how long will my brakes last?”

As with many things, the answer is that it really depends on the part in question. Brake systems contain multiple components and some of them are more prone to wear and tear than others. In addition to this, materials can differ - for example, brake pads can be organic, metallic or ceramic - and how much you use the car will also have an impact on the longevity of your brake system. 

Typically, brake pads should last between 25,000 to 65,000 miles, rotors will last between 30,000 to 70,000 miles, and calipers stay functional for 75,000 miles or more. 

We know those numbers seem pretty broad, so let’s drill down a little bit.

Guide Contents:

How long do brake pads last?

How long do brake calipers last?

How long do brake discs last?

How can I make my brakes last longer?

How much do brake repairs cost?

How long do brake pads last?

The lifespan of brake pads is affected quite significantly by the material they’re made from. Ceramic brake pads are the best option, so although they’re usually more expensive than the other types of pads that are available, they make up for this with their lifespan. 

Metallic brake pads usually become worn the quickest, whereas organic pads sit somewhere in the middle. Organic pads, sometimes called “non-asbestos brake pads”, are made of composite material which usually consists of Kevlar, rubber, glass and resins that can withstand high heat.

How long do brake calipers last?

Unlike other brake components, calipers are not subjected to the same level of wear and tear, so if you take care of your car they could last a lifetime. The exception to this rule is if there is a mechanical problem with them.

How long do brake discs last?

Your driving style will affect how long your brake discs last, but generally you can expect to get 80,000 to 120,000 miles out of them. 

The front brake discs will become worn faster than those at the back, but it’s a good idea to get all of them checked if one set needs replacing. Keeping track of brake repairs in your vehicle’s service book will allow you to have a better idea of when they will next need checking.

How can I make my brakes last longer?

It’s true that brakes won’t last forever, but you can still do certain things to increase their lifespan. Here are our four top tips.

  • Avoid speeding - The faster you go, the more likely it is you’ll have to slam your brakes on at some point. Instead, coast for a while to decrease your speed or use the natural power of the engine to slow down by changing down a gear or two before applying the brakes.

  • Unload your car - If your car is heavy it will put extra strain on the brake pads, so before you set off on your next journey, try to unload any non-essential items that could be weighing you down.

  • Look ahead - It sounds simple, but paying attention to the road ahead really can make a difference. Rather than just observing the car in front, keep an eye out for any hazards that are coming up or any busy traffic. This way, you can slow down gradually without having to brake hard.

  • Get your brakes serviced - As with many parts of your car, brakes will last longer if they are kept in good condition. Getting them serviced means that small problems can be fixed before they escalate into bigger, more expensive problems.

How much do brake repairs cost?

The average cost for brake repairs booked through WhoCanFixMyCar is £316.89, whereas the average cost of brake disc and pad replacements is £288.01.

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You can compare prices and book jobs using our handy brake price comparison tool. Or, if you’d like more information about how car brakes actually work, check out our guide here.

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