'09 Honda CR-V new brake pads

I replaced the brake pads on my '09 Honda CR-V a year ago after it failed inspection. I drive to/from work daily and do weekend driving, but no more than the average 12k miles/year. I just took it in for inspection again and they tell me I need new brake pads! They said I need to replace them every year, but that seems crazy to me, given that I’m not driving 30k miles/year. Is it normal to have to replace them every year with the amount of driving I do? Is something wrong?

It is possible to wear out a set of pads very very quickly if you drive with your foot on the pedal. Driving aggressively can go through pads a lot faster too.
It’s also possible that you changed the pads on one end of the car and it’s the other end that now needs replacement.
If this happens again, have them show you.

How much material is left on the pads. Who is failing the inspection, is this an independent place or they also want to do the brake job for you?

Who made the statement that brake pads should be changed every year ? Is this a state inspection station ?

North VA? Gotta be near washington. My bro lives there. His fan control on dash broke. Switch was off kilter. Inspector failed car. Says he would need to takes eyes off road to adjust fan speed. Cost $400 at dealer for new switch unit. Ya, private shop would have been 1/2 price. But still.

If the pads are actually worn down badly in 12k miles and IF the problem is not caused by riding the brake pedal (both on the open road and in city driving) then you need to consider sticking caliper pistons or sticking caliper slides.

The car is not that old and you did not provide the vehicle mileage or location but aged brake fluid can contribute to the former and residing in the Rust Belt or by the ocean can contribute to the latter.

Go somewhere else for your annual safety inspection. Most new car dealerships are certified, and many independent repair shops are certified too. From your description, I suspect that the place you took it is feeling the power they get from providing the safety stickers, and just wants to shake you down. I suggest that you take it somewhere else that has a reputation for honest safety checks. Ask everyone you know and you should find at least one place to get the safety inspection done. If they say your brake pads are OK, I suggest that you report the first shop to the State Police. The police will likely take a car in with a known problem that is otherwise perfect. If they get any unneeded required repairs, they will “recalibrate” the shop inspector. If there are enough unneeded repairs demanded, the inspector may lose his license.

In MD, this is only required when a vehicle changes hands. I took a car to a local chain shop when I sold it, and prepared it beforehand to make sure it passed. I was hit with the worn brake pads thing, and this shop had actually changed those very same pads a week before. I told them as much, and took the car back. I was wearing khaki trousers, shiny black tie shoes, and a black cloth windbreaker that day. I later got a call to come back for a rematch. I guess they thought I was a state police officer, because they assistant manager started removing the things I needed, and was visibly nervous through tour discussion. The cost was cut to nothing because I replace the rear brake bulb that was actually burned out.

I don’t know that they lied to you, but it certainly is possible. If they did, that shop needs to pay a price. If that is the case, you owe it to your friends and neighbor’s to report them to the State Police.