Brakes - When Should They Be Serviced

It's no secret brakes should be replaced when they are worn, but when to service them is more of a grey area.

Disc brakes could last from 30,000-70,000 miles and drum brakes can go be driven for up to 150,000 miles. Most passenger cars are using disc brakes on all wheels, while other cars and trucks us drum brakes on the back wheels.

To understand why you should service or replace your brakes you should understand what causes the need for the service:

Disc brakes

  • During braking the disk is squeezed from both sides by the brake pads within the caliper
  • The brakes then endure a lot of heat dust as they brake and moisture while driving
  • This causes rust to build, which can result in the pads not moving or completely releasing
  • Brakes can then start to squeak and result in quicker wear
  • If a caliper seizes the performance of the brake deteriorates and the pads wear faster too

Rear drum brakes

  • Similar to the disc brakes rust on the drum brakes could cause squeaking and components to seize because of corrosion or a lack of lubrication

Have your brakes inspected regularly to prevent this

Mechanics will often check your brakes on a regular basis when you have your wheels removed to rotate them or for your motor vehicle inspection. Remember your brakes can't be inspected without removing the tires. It's recommended to inspect your brakes once a year.

An inspection includes the following:

  • Checking the calipers or rear drum brake components
  • Measure the brake pads or brake shoe for material thickness
  • Inspect the brake discs and drums 

If your brake pads or shoes still have sufficient material, but rust or brake dust buildup is not allowing the components to move freely your mechanic could recommend a brake service over a replacement. This can involve cleaning moving components, lubrication for certain parts and removal of rust build up on the rear drums or disc brakes.

Often if brake pads are more than 50 per cent worn it may make more sense to opt for service over replacement. When doing so that usually includes a brake service resulting in brake components receiving a cleaning, service and lubrication.

The brakes on each axle will often need to be serviced once or twice before replacing.

Service your brakes more often if:

  • Driving conditions are moist or dusty
  • The car is parked for extended periods of time
  • Roads are salted during the winter

Our major service package is 39.95 and includes lube, oil and filter, tire rotation and more.