CARS.COM — Brake life depends mainly on the amount and kind of driving you do, such as city versus highway, and your driving style. Some drivers just use the brakes more than others. For that reason, it’s hard to recommend time or mileage guidelines for replacing a vehicle’s brake pads. On any car more than two years old, it’s a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the brakes at every oil change, or twice a year. Let them know if you are hearing any grinding or other noise, or if you’ve noticed a change in the feel of the brake pedal. Repair shops can measure pad thickness, check the condition of the rotors, calipers and other hardware, and estimate how much brake life remains based on the amount of wear. Different materials on the brake pads can wear at different rates when coming into contact with the brake rotor, so a regular visual inspection by a qualified mechanic is a good way to gauge when it is time for the brake pads to be replaced. If you are buying a used car and aren’t sure about the brakes, it may be a good idea to have a trusted mechanic check the entire braking system.
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