Generally, brake pads should be serviced or replaced every 50,000 miles, though your driving habits will ultimately determine exactly how long the parts last. For one reason or another, though, some people ignore the signs that their brake pads are failing and continue driving with them. In addition to risking brake failure, you can do some expensive damage to your vehicle that way. Here are two things that could happen if you wait too long to replace your brake pads.
Cause Damage to the Rotors
Most people don't have the first idea about how their vehicles work, so it's not surprising that they may not know that the purpose of brake pads is to protect the rotor. When you apply the brakes, the brake pads press against the rotor to generate friction that slows the car down to a stop. These pads help to distribute the heat produced by this friction.
If brake pads are allowed to wear down to less than a quarter of an inch, a couple of things will happen to the rotor. First, the brake pads are attached to what are essentially metal clamps -- which will begin grinding against the rotor. This can cause the rotor to warp or break.
Second, the lack of brake pads means the heat from the friction won't disperse correctly, which could cause the whole braking system to overheat and fail.
It can cost up to $289 to resurface the rotors and up to $485 if you replace the brake pads at the same time. So it's best to find the cash to get new brake pads (up to $207); otherwise, you'll only end up doubling the cost of the repairs you must make to get your vehicle working again.
Damage to Brake Calipers
If things get really bad, you can also damage the brake calipers. These are the metal plates that hold the brake pads and press them against the rotor. When the brake pads deteriorate to the point where the calipers are grinding against the rotor, the calipers can be destroyed right along with the rotor. Additionally, the pistons that push the calipers into position may pop out of place.
The cost of replacing the calipers varies depending on the type of vehicle you drive. However, you can expect to pay up to $503 (and more if you have a luxury car).
It's not worth risking your safety by waiting to replace your brake pads, and you may end up doing more damage and paying more due to your delay. To learn more about this issue or to schedule an appointment to have your brake pads replaced, contact a local auto repair shop today. Companies like Heritage Auto Pro may be able to meet your needs in this area.