How many miles you get out of a set of brake pads (with disc brakes) or shoes (with drum brakes) largely depends on individual driving habits and the type of driving you do. Brakes can last from 25,000 miles to 50,000 miles, and here is why:
Stop-and-go driving, as in city driving or on freeways during rush hour where the brakes are applied frequently, means a shorter service life than if you are driving the turnpike between cities in light traffic with your cruise control on.
Other causes of brake wear
Also, brake wear depends in part on how much weight the brakes are trying to stop; a heavily loaded van or truck, or a passenger car with 6 adults, will take longer to stop and result in heavier brake wear, than an empty or lightly loaded vehicle.
Another factor determining longevity is the composition of the friction materials, the pads or shoes. Harder materials last longer but are subject to noise and may wear the brake rotors faster. Softer materials will stop quietly and are easier on rotors, but will not last as long.
How long do brake pads last with front disc brakes and rear drum brakes?
On vehicles with disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the rear, you can expect to replace the front pads twice before you need to replace the rear brake shoes. That is because when you brake the vehicle’s weight shifts to the front, so that the front brakes have to work harder.
To get the longest life from your brakes, drive smoothly, anticipating stops and applying pressure evenly and consistently. Do not carry any extra, unneeded weight in the trunk, and have your brakes checked when you have your tires rotated. That way the technician can alert you to any unusual wear, unseen leaks or other problems. You can refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation for inspection intervals.
Experiencing a brake problem?
If you experience pulsation (the brake pedal jumps or bumps when braking), or any brake warning lights come on, or you hear noises from the brakes - or experience any other type of brake problem have your vehicle checked by an ASE-certified technician as soon as possible!