What Factors Affect Brake Inspection Intervals?
It's generally a good plan to inspect your brakes about twice per year, or whenever you have your oil changed. Routine brake inspections can help you to find problems before they turn into driving hazards, and also to accurately estimate when you should change your brake pads. Not all driving conditions are the same, however, and that means a one-size-fits-all interval may not work for all drivers.
If you aren't the typical driver, then you may want a longer or shorter inspection interval. This article will describe factors that can impact how often you should schedule a brake inspection.
The average US driver puts a little more than 13,000 miles on their car, and typical brake pads can last for up to about 50,000 miles. Under these conditions, inspecting your brakes once per year should provide plenty of warning before failures occur. The standard inspection interval also means that you'll have your brakes inspected three times between pad changes.
If you drive significantly more than this, you should schedule an inspection about once every 15,000 miles. This inspection interval ensures that you will catch unusual wear patterns or rapid loss of friction material before your brakes become dangerous to operate. If you drive less than the average amount, you should still have your brakes inspected at least once per year
2. Road Conditions
Your brakes should wear fairly evenly under normal driving conditions, but certain situations can cause them to wear down more quickly. If you spend much time driving in hilly or mountainous terrain, you may use your brakes more than the average driver. Even if you don't put many miles on your car, you should consider having your brakes inspected slightly more often than usual.
City driving can also be harder on brakes than highway driving, so consider the relative proportion of time you spend on the highway vs. in the city. If you're often in stop and go traffic or spend a lot of time traveling from one stoplight to the next, you may want a more frequent inspection interval. In either of these cases, consider conducting inspections about three times per year with average mileage.
3. Driving Style
Do you often slam on your brakes when slowing from high speed? Do you ride your brakes when traveling downhill? Your driving style can impact how quickly your brake pads wear down. Applying brakes gently under normal conditions, allowing your car to slow naturally, and keeping appropriate following distances can all extend the life of your brake pads.
If you find that your pads wear quickly between inspections, even though you drive a typical number of miles under normal conditions, then you may need to adjust your driving habits. In this case, changing your driving style can be more cost-effective than inspecting your brakes more often.
Remember that your brakes are your car's most crucial safety feature. Treat them right and keep your vehicle safe by scheduling regular brake inspections.