Brake Pads - Replace Front
$60.00 - $107.00
Brake Pads - Replace Front
$60.00 - $107.00
How does the brake system work?
Brakes use hydraulic principles to multiply the force of depressing a brake pedal into a strong force to engage the pad and rotor sufficiently to stop the car’s momentum without creating too much heat. Brake pads are made from a mixture or mash of metal fibers, ceramic and organic materials that are hardened at high temperature. The higher the temperature and the longer the baking period creates a better brake pad. This material is mounted onto a metal backing surface. It allows for a responsive, quiet braking surface that does not create as much heat as metal to metal. This mixture becomes more important when stopping rapidly or using the brakes often at higher speeds, as much more heat is created. With too much heat, oil and resin still embedded in the pad material will excrete onto the rotor and create a thin film. Known as brake fade, this film trapped between the pad and rotor will make braking very difficult. Excessive heat will also lead to the metal rotors warping. This warping will cause a pulsation in the brake pedal any time the brakes are engaged.
How often should brake pads and rotors be replaced?
Judging the end of useful life can be difficult, as brake pads and rotors can last anywhere from 12,000 miles to over a 100,000 miles. Severe driving conditions, such as heavy commuter traffic or city driving with multiple stop signs and lights, wear brakes at a higher rate. During highway driving, where brakes are applied infrequently, wear is minimal.
Quality of materials used in the manufacture of brake pads and rotors will also have an impact on longevity. On the other hand, lack of use can also make for problems. Early morning weather can leave moisture (dew) on the rotors and this will cause rust spots. Usually this small amount of rust will be cleaned away with the first use of the brakes. However, if a car sits too long without use, the rust will become entrenched on the rotor and not be cleaned up; replacement will be required. This large difference in brake life makes audible and visual low pad indicators, plus periodic checks by a technician during tire rotations, helpful in planning for replacement. They are usually replaced as a set, so two new mating surfaces - the pad and the rotor - can break in together. The rotor can be machined (turned) if enough material is left.
What can happen if the brake pads and rotors are not replaced in a timely fashion?
Brakes that are neglected will lead to higher repair costs and eventually cause an accident and severe damage. If the brakes are ignored when the audible or visual signal for replacement is apparent, the friction material on the pad will wear out completely leaving only the metal mounting surface. This metal to metal grinding causes more noise than braking power, and will require replacement of brake pad and rotors. Braking distance will increase dramatically.
If this metal on metal grinding continues the heat created by this friction will overheat the rubber seals inside the piston and also compromise the flexible rubber hose. Brake fluid will leak from the seals around the piston inside the caliper, reducing the hydraulic pressure. With little or no pressure, the chance of stopping a car quickly or within a short distance is unworkable and will result in an accident. Hoses that become damaged due to excessive heat collapse internally and will not let fluid flow to or out of the caliper or wheel cylinder. Any braking that pulls the car from straight is a sign that a caliper or hose has failed. Replacement is needed.
What is the estimated cost to replace brake pads and rotors?
- Estimated brake pad cost = $30-$130 per set
- Estimated rotor cost = $25-80 per rotor
- Estimated labor cost = $150-350
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Service article written by an ASE Master Technician
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