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Brake Pads : How many miles do they last ?

I have a 2005 Saturn Vue that I am leasing.I took car to dealer for an oil change.My car has 38,900 miles on it.Oil change is about $34.00 at the dealer.But at one point the manager tells me the brake pads are quite worn.The manager asked if I wanted the brake pads replaced ?I said "Yes" bring total $383.00...But my question is , "In general how many miles do brake pads last "? Seems like 38,900 miles is not many miles for brake pads.


  • edited December 2008
    There are too many variables to generalize about this. Vehicle size and weight, driving environment, driving style, mechanical condition of vehicle, etc, are all factors.

    "Quite worn" is not exactly a scientific term. I'd have asked about remaining pad thickness vs. minimum pad thickness.
  • edited December 2008
    In NYC about 10,000 miles. In NH about 40,000 miles. In North Dakota about 80,000 miles.

    I'm being a bit facetious, but on reality it depends very highly on the driving environment, the driving style, and the vehicle itself. 38,000 miles is not unreasonable for most environments.
  • edited December 2008
    The answer to that question is in YOUR right foot. ( many less miles if you mistakenly use your left foot to brake instead of letting off the accelerator )
    My 92 Explorer has only had one set of front pads and no rears in 140,000 miles. The 79 chevy p/u only has 70,000 miles and has never needed brakes.
  • edited December 2008
    Agree; it's very owner-specific and site-specific. I once rode a cab in San Francisco and the driver told me they "did the brakes" every 3 months. There was also a report in Popular Mechanics years ago of a mid western cattle dealer who went for over 130,000 miles on the orignal brakes.
  • edited December 2008
    I'm at 120k on the original front pads on my ES300, rears needed replacement at 80k. In contrast, our Suburban used them up every 30-40k.
  • edited December 2008
    Your use, and wear, is in that average range of 20,000 to 50,000 miles to brake wear-out.
    Mail carriers measure their time, 'til they need new brake pads, in WEEKS, not miles. Half of their driving is acceleration, and half is braking.
  • edited December 2008
    Agreed that it depends on the driver and the type of driving.
    In regards to mail carriers, a number of rural route carriers here use Subarus.

    One carrier (now retired) used to come in and buy half a dozen sets of Subaru brake pads at a time.
    He would go through a set of pads about every 3-4 weeks and replace rotors about every 3-4 months.
    From memory, it seems to me that he had about 500-550 stops a day on his route and that doesn't include the personal driving he did.
  • edited December 2008
    It's not uncommon on many models of BMW to need pads at 15,000 and rotors at 30,000. Materials and driving style

    Me I am on the original pads and rotors on my 2004 F-150
  • edited December 2008
    $34 for an oil change? $349 for a brake job? Both sound pricy to me.

    Next time ask the manager to show you the worn parts. Far too often people are afraid to say "show me" to their mechanic before they authorize work. Be more assertive next time.

    Which brake pads were replaced, the front or the rear pads? What kind of brakes are in the rear, disk brakes or drum brakes?

    For the front brakes 39,000 miles sounds about right. Rear brakes should last longer since about 70% of the braking is done by the front brakes.
  • edited December 2008
    Whitey, before I elaborate a bit on the 2 items that you say sounds pricy do you have any actual experience as a mechanic or with the a shop flat rate labor system?
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