The braking system is the core safety system in a car. They ensure a smooth and seamless driving experience. Without the braking components placed in their corresponding units and functioning properly, you’ll find it pretty hard to move from point Y to point Z.
Believe it or not, the braking system is far more important than the engine speed. This is because safety is our no.1 priority.
In any case, the brake pad is crucial to the braking system, which ensures a better braking response.
Unfortunately, the brake pad does not last the lifespan of a car. In fact, it wears faster than other braking system components and needs replacement.
So, in this article, we’ll discuss brake pad replacement costs. But first, what are brake pads, and how do they work?
What Are Brake Pads And How Do They Work?
The brake system consists of several braking components that work in unison to slow or bring a car to a complete halt. The brake pads are a single unit of these components.
Recent cars have brake pads on both front and rear wheels. Older models use brake pads only on the front wheels and brake drums on the rear axle. The drum brakes have a brake master cylinder and brake shoes inside, which connect to the emergency brake.
On the other hand, the front brakes, known as the disc brakes, have brake calipers, brake rotors, and pads. Modern cars have brake rotors sitting on each wheel. The rotor is connected to the wheel. Therefore, the wheels spin with the rotor.
Auto manufacturers mount the brake caliper close to the rotor, but they don’t touch each other. Inside the caliper are the brake pads, which directly interact with the rotors. However, the pads do not restrict the rotor movement unless the driver commands it. Let’s discuss more in the subsequent paragraphs.
So now, how do these components work together to bring a vehicle to a stop?
When drivers apply the brake, the brake fluid in the master cylinder travels through the brake lines and down to the caliper. The hydraulic pressure forces the caliper to push the pads against the rotors to slow or stop the vehicle, depending on the applied pressure.
Auto manufacturers design brake pads with different frictional materials. Therefore, we have different types of brake pads. They include ceramic brake pads, semi-metallic brake pads, and non-asbestos organic pads made with organic materials.
Each of these brake pads has its pros and cons. Of course, they are used in different applications. For instance, non-asbestos organic brake pads are the best options for compact cars, semi-metallic is best for larger vehicles like trucks, and ceramic brake pad is the excellent choice for performance vehicles.
How Long Do Brake Pads Last?
This is a tricky question that is difficult to answer because several factors determine how the brake system wears off. In any case, manufacturers estimate that brake pads last between 20,000 to 70,000 miles. This is a wide range.
It is crucial to note that some brake pads may not last up to 20,000 while others will last much more.
Let’s have a deep look at these factors.
Brake pads materials: All parts are not created equal. Brake pads are not manufactured with the same materials. So, this affects their lifespan.
Brake calipers and rotors: Brake pads work in unison with other braking components such as the caliper and the rotor. Therefore, a good caliper and rotor enhance brake pads’ durability. So, you’ll need a rotor replacement once damaged. The same applies to the caliper.
Driving habits: Driving style is another factor that greatly affects how long the pad will last. Spirited driving and heavy braking wear the pad material much faster.
Driving conditions: Driving conditions play a huge role in the pads’ lifespan. For instance, stop-and-go driving eats off the friction material on the pads much faster than any other driving.
We’ve digressed enough. Now, let’s look at the average brake pad replacement cost and what to expect during replacement.
Brake Pad Replacement Cost 2022
Sorry to disappoint you. There’s no straight answer to how much new brakes cost. And, of course, the labor cost varies from mechanic to mechanic. Every aftermarket manufacturer places spare parts at their desired rate, and auto mechanics charge different hourly rates.
However, brake pads cost between $40 to $150 for the four wheels.
In addition, service technicians’ labor price ranges from $80 to $120 for all the axles.
Therefore, the average brake pad replacement cost is between $120 to $270 for parts and replacement costs.
While some mechanics recommend replacing brake rotors with brake pads, I have a different opinion. I recommend brake rotor replacement only when they’re bad. However, it is important to note that warped brake rotors will cost the pads to wear much faster.
New brake pads on worn rotors will cause vibration during the braking process, accelerate wear on the pads, and reduce braking response. Therefore, it’s appropriate to visually inspect the rotors when replacing the brake pads. If the rotors are bad, replace them with a quality product. This will also enhance the pad and rotor lifespan.
What is the difference between Brake Pads and Brake Rotors?
A brake rotor is the metal plate that sits on the wheel hub. It typically has four to six bores where the wheel hub passes through.
The wheel hub and the rotor rotate together and at the same speed. The brake pads are placed inside the caliper. It is what clamp down the rotor to slow or stop the car as the driver applies the brake.
Is it okay to just replace brake pads?
It depends on the condition of other braking components. Typically, if your brake rotor is okay, go ahead and replace the pads without it. But, if the rotor is worn, replace it with the brake pad.
A worn brake rotor will cause accelerated wear on the brake pad, reduce the braking response, and vibration on the brake pedal. Therefore, replace any faulty braking components when replacing the brake pads.
Is it cheaper to replace brake pads yourself?
Yes, it is cheaper to replace brake pads yourself. However, brake pad replacement services are not covered under warranty since it is a regular maintenance practice that a car owner should imbibe on.
A service technician will charge you $120 to $270 to replace brake pads, while you can replace both front and rear brake pads yourself for $50 to $100.
How often should brake pads be replaced?
There’s no specific time frame to replace your brake pads. However, you need to replace the brake pads when they are too worn. Most brake pads will need replacement every 20,000 to 50,000 miles.
However, I recommend you replace your brake pads before the metal backing plates on the pads start rubbing against the rotor – don’t worry. Every brake pad has a brake wear indicator that notifies the driver when it’s time to replace the pads.
Here’s how the indicator works. First, there’s a metal pin that sticks out of the brake pad. Once the pad’s friction material wears beyond the recommended point, the metal pin will start rubbing against the rotor.
You’ll hear a grinding noise from the wheels when this happens.
Brake pad replacement cost is quite affordable because the task is simple and takes around 1 hour to complete. It will cost around $220 to $270 to fix new brake pads.
However, you can save some bulks by replacing the pads yourself.
Replace your brake pads whenever it needs replacement. If you continue driving with a worn brake pad for an extended period, it will cause catastrophic damage to other system components.