How often do my brakes need to be changed?
Brakes are one of the key components of your car, responsible for slowing down and stopping safely. In emergencies, they can bring a car to an immediate halt, reducing the risk of collisions with other others as well as cyclists and pedestrians. If brakes are faulty, their response time could be slower, making accidents more likely. If you’re wondering “How often do my brakes need to be changed?”, keep reading. In this article, we’ve taken a closer look at when to change brakes to keep them working safely and effectively.
When do brakes need replacing?
Generally, brakes need replacing once they wear down to a certain thickness, or they show signs of significant wear. In the UK, the minimum thickness for brake pads allowed by law is 1.5mm. However, it’s best to replace them before they reach this level to ensure optimal braking performance and safety. Many experts recommend replacing brake pads when they have approximately 3-4mm of thickness remaining.
Most brake pads last between 30,000-70,000 miles, or sometimes more, depending on driving habits and environment and the materials used in the pads. Factors such as driving in heavy traffic and frequent stop-and-go driving can cause brakes to wear down more quickly. The brakes on a car driven in a busy city centre may only last 25,000 miles, whereas those on the same car driven on the motorway could easily last 60,000 miles or more.
A car’s front brakes tend to wear out quicker than rear brakes. The reason for this is that the majority of the braking force is applied to the front wheels. They handle more of the braking work, particularly during hard or sudden stops, resulting in more wear on the front brakes. Now you know the answer to “How often do my brakes need to be changed?”, let’s take a look at the biggest signs they are nearing the end of their lifespan.
Signs your brakes need replacing
Whilst it’s not always easy to tell if your brakes need replacing, there are some key signs that they are reaching the end of their useful life. These can be found below.
- Your car is taking longer to stop. This is one of the biggest signs that your brakes have worn down so much that they are no longer effective at safely stopping the vehicle. The brake pads and the discs may need replacing. Another issue may be the brake fluid becoming too old and deteriorating, or the hydraulic system losing pressure or fluid.
- Squealing sounds. These sounds can come from your brakes when you press them due to the pads eroding below the recommended thickness. Also referred to as brake scrubbing, these squealing noises are a result of the metal scraping on metal on the disc. The pads will need replacing as soon as possible.
- Grinding sounds. Squealing sounds can soon turn into grinding sounds if you ignore the problem for too long. Sharp grinding when you brake suggests the disc and calliper are making contact. At this point, you may need to replace not just the pads, but the discs and rotors too.
- Car pulling to the side. Brake pads that are unevenly worn can result in the car pulling to one side when you press the brakes. Another possibility is a problem with the callipers – they can cause the car to pull to the side if they’re not working correctly. You need to get your brakes inspected promptly so that the issue can be identified and addressed as quickly as possible.
- Vibrations. If you can feel vibrations when pressing your foot on the brake pedal, this suggests that your brake pads have become too worn and require replacing sooner rather than later. It’s also possible that the rotors have become warped, resulting in the pads making uneven contact when braking. If you experience vibrations, it’s crucial to have the braking system inspected by a qualified mechanic.
- Warning light. Don’t ignore the brake warning light. If it appears on your dashboard, this is a sign of an issue with your car’s brakes. A likely cause is that your brake pads are too worn and need replacing. Other possible reasons for the brake light appearing are leaking brake fluid and failing hydraulic brake circuits.
Can faulty brakes lead to an MOT failure?
If your MOT is due, you may be wondering if faulty brakes can lead to your car failing the test. Unfortunately, the answer is yes, brake problems are one of the most common reasons for MOT failures, with worn brake pads usually to blame. The good news is that you can replace old brake pads easily and affordably, with most mechanics able to complete this job fairly quickly. If you suspect there’s a problem with your car’s brakes, don’t ignore it. Book your vehicle into a reputable garage as soon as possible.
Find an MOT centre in Rossington
If you’re seeking an MOT centre in Rossington, look no further than B&W Auto Centre. We carry out MOTs on all makes and models of vehicles, providing a swift and reliable service from start to finish. We can perform your MOT while you wait, making visiting our auto centre a very convenient experience. If we find any issues which mean we can’t issue you an MOT certificate, we’ll offer to carry out the necessary repairs so that you can get your car back on the road as quickly as possible.
Now you know the answer to “How often do my brakes need to be changed?”, you may be looking for a reputable garage in your area. As a leading MOT centre in Rossington, you can rely on us to get your vehicle test-ready and give it the best possible chance of passing with flying colours. Call us on 01302 969860 or send us a message via the website to get in touch with our team.