Torque Shop

When do I change my car's brake pads? What should I use as a measure of wear - months, years or mileage? How can I tell if they need changing?

The life of a brake pad is determined primarily by how hard it is used.

If your driving style is generally fast acceleration, which demands hard barking at the next stop, then the brake pads will wear out faster.

A more gentle driving style will of course prolong the life of the pads.

Some drivers tend to brake each time the brake lights of the car in front light up. Keep your distance and modulate your speed to minimise braking.

On the other hand, high speeds demand higher braking force and, logically, meangreater brake wear. Driven normally, most front brake pads last between 40,000km and 60,000km.

Rear brake pads (or linings, in the case of drum brakes) last even longer as front brakes account for up to 75 per cent of the braking force.

In hybrid and electric cars, the brake pads can last twice as long because these vehicles use electric load to decelerate the vehicle for power regeneration.

The age of a car does not make a difference as to how fast a brake pad wears out.

Some cars have a built-in brake pad warning signal. While this is not a "danger" sign, it is nonetheless advisable to renew brake pads at least within the next 2,000km.

It is not difficult to inspect the remaining brake pad thickness by yourself, but you need to know where to look.

As brakes are a critical safety component in a car, always replace them with the best quality parts. If you are not sure, get genuine brake pads or linings from your authorised vehicle distributor.

Shreejit Changaroth

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2018, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe