When you own a truck or any vehicle for that matter, some things just can’t be avoided.
The brakes of a car are crucial to your safety and the performance of the vehicle, so knowing when it’s time to change the pads is a crucial part of truck ownership.
The brake pads of a truck can wear down over time, or there might be other factors at play. As a responsible truck owner and someone who wants to take care of their investment, learning the warning signs of what it feels like when they need replacing and knowing how often to do it, is critical.
How often should you replace brake pads?
Generally, a truck’s brake pads will last around 50,000 miles of travel, but it can be as little as 25,000 miles or as high as 70,000 miles. This all depends on a few factors like the conditions you drive in, how often you drive, and the materials used to make the brake pads themselves.
Once you’re aware of the warning signs, you can learn when to replace them so you continue to drive safely, and we’re here to help you out.
We’ve got the ins and outs of brake pads including why they wear out, signs that they’re starting to go, and when and how you should replace them so you be a responsible truck owner on the road.
Why Do Brake Pads Wear Out?
Brake pads are one of the most commonly used parts of a car, and one that can have severe consequences if they’re not in good condition.
However, there are a few reasons why brake pads wear out aside from general use, including:
What your truck’s brake pads are made out of will impact their quality, and also how long they last. These pads are made with things like carbon-ceramic compounds or steel and metal, each having a different effect on longevity and their warm up time.
A more expensive brake pad is not necessarily made of better materials, which is why you have to know what pads suit your car best.
Your personal driving habits can wear down brakes sooner, and this is usually the case with people who brake harder than others.
Practicing a smoother and more gradual application of the brake when you’re coming to a stop can help the pads to last longer.
Terrain and environment
Where you drive your car or truck can impact how long the brake pads last. Somewhere that requires a lot of braking, like a built-up area with traffic lights, will produce more wear on the brake pads that driving in open areas without the need for brakes as much.
Likewise, trucks that take curvy roads rely on brakes more often to navigate and may wear them out sooner.
Brake pads are made in different strengths to suit the needs of different drivers, and this is done with a range of compounds.
A harder brake might last longer but takes a while to warm up, whereas a soft compound brake pad wears out faster but is better for regular drivers who use their cars at an average speed.
The Lifespan of Brake Pads and Rotors
There’s no set limit of time that a brake pad or rotor will last on a truck, but understanding the above reasons for why they might wear out sooner can help you prevent it from happening prematurely.
A good manufacturer should be able to give you an idea of how long their pads last, so you can shop accordingly.
Generally speaking, the average amount of mileage a set of brake pads will last for is 50,000 miles, but of course, this can vary dramatically based on a range of features.
At the lower end of the scale with cheaper brake pads or those used more ferociously, you might get as little as 25,000 miles, however premium pads with the correct braking techniques can achieve up to 70,000 miles before they need replacing.
Signs That Your Brake Pads Need Replacing
If you’re unsure about the quality of your brake pads and don’t know how to tell if they’re wearing out, there are some signs you can pay attention to. If you notice any of these, have your pads checked out:
- Looking at the brake pads and it seems as though they are worn down or thinner than they should be. A mechanic can do this with your regular servicing if you’re not sure what to look for.
- When you brake, you feel the car is jittery, which can indicate a problem with the roots. In this case, you might also have to replace the rotor as well as the pads.
- Brake pads are designed with small metal spikes that make a sound when they’re getting close to being worn out, and if you hear this, it’s time to replace them.
- If you have a newer model of car, there might be indicator lights that can turn on and show you when it’s time to have the brake pads inspected.
How Often Should They Be Replaced?
There’s no set limit on when you should replace brake pads, as each car and driver will have different answers. However, being aware of the possible signs that they’re wearing down is the most responsible thing you can do, and will let you know in the future what to look out for.
If you’re not comfortable assessing your truck, have a mechanic check out the brake pads and show you where they are.
When you’re able to inspect these yourself and know to look for signs of damage or wear, you can save a lot of time and money from having them professionally serviced, and make for a safer driving experience as well.
The Costs and Effort of Replacing Brake Pads
Some people put off issues with brake pads and rotors because they fear a great expense. Not only is this not the case, but it’s also very dangerous, as the brakes of a vehicle are one of the only things stopping you from having a serious accident or causing harm to others.
To replace a truck’s brake pads, you’ll have to pay according to the make and model of your car, as well as the size of the pads.
On the lower end of the scale, this could be as small as a few hundred dollars to replace the brake pad and disc rotor, or over $1,000 for larger vehicles and more specific products.
You’ll need to pay extra for a professional to do the job if you don’t want to learn, but it’s a process that doesn’t take a lot of time or money to master.
Thankfully, the time in between when the pads need to be replaced is quite large and can be made even longer when you take care of the brakes.
Learning the proper techniques for braking safely and preventing incorrect use will prolong their life, meaning this problem stays in the back of your mind for longer.
The brake pads of a car are a crucial part of its safe and efficient running, and not something that should be ignored if they’ve shown signs of wear. To learn more about brake pads and how they might affect your truck, we’ve answered some FAQs on the subject to point you in the right direction.
Are Brake Pads One Size Fits All?
Every vehicle make and model comes with its unique size and shape of brake pad, and it’s important to only ever replace them with this.
As well as being different shapes, the materials used to make them might also differ, to allow them to work efficiently for the type of car they’re installed in.
Can I Replace Brake Pads Myself?
If you’re mechanically minded and prefer to do your truck’s repairs yourself, you’ll be surprised to learn how easy it is to replace brake pads and should be able to find a simple tutorial to follow.
When compared to paying a professional mechanic, this is a job that can be done with a few minor tools and a little know-how, and will only end up costing a few hundred dollars.
Can You Just Replace Brake Pads?
The common practice at a car mechanic is to have the brake pads and disc rotor replaced at the same time, however, it might not always be necessary.
You might be able to replace the pads without worrying about the rotors, but they’ll need to be checked that they’re spinning and functioning correctly first.
If your truck is a 4×4, you may also want to learn how to do a front end alignment.