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When to change brake discs on your car? How long do should car brakes last?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

3 min read

  • Advice
  • when
  • howlong
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WhoCanFixMyCar discusses how long brakes usually last and how to tell when your brake discs need replacing

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 brake discs last?”.

How to tell if car brake discs need replacing

Here's what to look out for:

  • Vibrations when you brake

  • Wobbling steering wheel

  • Brake pedal less responsive

  • Dashboard warning light

  • Grinding sound when braking

  • Visibly warped disc

If you notice any of these signs, you should take your car to a garage before the problem gets worse, making your car unsafe to drive.

For more information about common brake issues, check out the video below.

Brake issues

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How long do car brake pads and discs last?

Some brake components are more prone to wear and tear than others. 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. 

Brake pads and discs image

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

Contents:

How long do brake pads last?

How many miles do brake calipers last?

How many miles 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 many miles 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 many miles 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.

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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.

Car MakeAverage Price
Ford£295.70
Vauxhall£309.16
BMW£529.68
Mercedes£497.58
Volkswagen£303.92
Audi£390.66
Nissan£359.75
Peugeot£347.95
Renault£524.91
MINI£369.80
Toyota£356.52
Citroen£309.62
Volvo£380.63

You can compare prices and book jobs using our handy brake price comparison tool.


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