A Basic Braking Question: How Long Do Brakes Last?
The “Once Over”
You’ve probably heard a quick review of something referenced as a “once over.” At Dynamic Automotive in Libertytown, Maryland, we’re happy to give our customers a once-over of how brakes work because many find this helpful in better understanding brake repair. When you press the pedal, a lever and piston apply force, squeezing the brake fluid stored in the master cylinder through lines to the cylinder located at each wheel. There, the fluid forced the brake calipers to move hydraulically so that the brake pad contacts the rotor (also known as the disc) to stop the car through friction. (Note: Drum brakes work using a brake shoe that gets a drum turning inside the wheel. These are usually found on older model cars or solely on the rear wheels of some newer automobiles.) Thus, the small amount of force you exert is multiplied to the point of stopping your heavy vehicle. When you’re ready for reliable brake repair, we can also give your braking system. With more than 20 years of experience in an auto repair shop, our ASE-certified technicians can fix your brakes regardless of the make or model you drive.
About Those Pads
One factor that controls the life expectancy of brakes is the kind of pad you select. The most commonly installed brake pads are semi-metallic. As you likely surmised, they’re constructed using metal. This increases their longevity significantly (and sometimes their squeal when there’s an issue). Generally, they’re a solid choice in price and quality. If you’re looking to spend a little less, you might select organic brake pads (natural materials held together with resin). These are acceptable to some drivers for stopping lighter-weight automobiles, but they wear out significantly faster. Should you want a higher-end option, you can install ceramic pads. They’re more expensive, but you get what you pay for. They last longer and may help extend the life of the rotors through reduced wear. They also absorb heat more effectively. As a bonus, you’ll hear fewer brake-related noises and see less brake dust on your wheels and tires.
How’s Your Driving?
Finally, the lifespan of your brakes is related to your driving habits. (Sorry if you didn’t want to hear that!) Brakes last longer when you make reasonable stops from reasonable speeds through reasonable stopping distances. Gunning and slamming? Plan on buying brakes sooner. However, to develop good habits, visit Dynamic Automotive for routine brake inspections and brake repair.