2004 Honda Civic



How often do brake pads on Honda Civic need to be changed?


Between 20,000 and 70,000 miles, totally, entirely, completely dependent upon driving environment and habits.

If you’re asking the question, it might be a good idea to get them checked.

  • mountainbike


I took my car in today for its 36000 mile check-up and was told that I need new brake pads which I just had changed at the 15,500 miles. The service advisor said that heavy stop and go driving in the City would account for this; when I told him that is not the case he replied that brake pads were like pencil leads – they just wear down. I can see that twice in the almost four years I have owned the car is NOT that bad but as for mileage, only 36000 miles does not seem to warrant replacing them. But then I am A WOMAN so what do I know?!


My 1999 Civic EX still has its original pads and shoes at 92,000 miles. Driving habits, terrain and traffic conditions all have a big influence on brake lining life.

This is not so say the brakes don’t need attention. Twice a year I have all four wheels off, when I am switching between all-season tires and winter tires. I inspect the front pads for thickness and evenness of wear, the rotors, the calipers, the hoses, etc. I clean the rotors and calipers with a brush and brake cleaner fluid.

Last year the front rotors developed rust on the nonswept areas, thick enough to create a scraping noise. (We have lots of salt on roads here in WI and MN.) I removed the rotors, measured their thickness, and then filed and sanded down the rust eruptions. Cleaned them and remounted them. End of problem.

At least twice I removed the rear drums, cleaned them, and inspected the thickness of lining on the brake shoes. I also cleaned out brake dust and greased the contact points between the shoes and the brake backing plate.

A shop that is inspecting front brakes ought to be ready and able to tell the customer how thick the brake lining is supposed to be, show the customer the brakes while the wheels are off, and explain what they are observing about the overall condition of the brakes. Rear brakes, if drums, are not as quick and easy to inspect, but their linings are likely to last longer than front pads.


It depends on how much you have your foot on the brake pedal. Lot of people use the accel pedal as an ?on? switch, and the brake pedal as an ?off? switch with no coasting in between. That uses a lot of brakes and fuel, unless you drive a hybrid. I have over 90,000 miles on my brakes and most of that is in the city so you know that I coast a lot. I do wear out tires pretty fast because I rarely brake before turns.

Ask the person that is checking your brakes how thick the pads are now, and how thick new ones are. That will tell you how much is left. You could take off a wheel and look for yourself. It is pretty easy.

The other comment is that you need to keep looking for a shop that you trust. I know that my guys are not going to fix something that does not need fixing.


Yes, brake pads are kind of like pencil leads. They wear down with use, and to some extent wear faster if you press harder. One way they wear out quickly is if you have the bad habit of left foot braking (I assume it’s an automatic). People who brake with their left foot will sometimes get in the habit of resting their foot on the brake pedal.

Another possibility is they are just being overly cautious about replacement. Ask how much thickness is left on the pads.

Finally, the only thing that makes me think this might be legit is the fact they were replaced at 15,500 and now need it again at 36,000. That means the second set lasted as long (a little longer) as the first set. If the same person is driving in the same conditions the interval from one set to the next should be consistent and in this case it is.