Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2010 Kia Forte brake life?

My brother drives a 2010 Kia Forte, which has about 75,000 miles on it. In the past two years, he’s had to replace the brake rotors 2.5 times (2 full sets, plus one front pair). He swears he takes the car in as soon as he hears the brakes squeal; the mechanics say the brakes should have been making noise for weeks by the condition they see.

Before this he drove a Toyota Camry for several years, and I don’t think he ever had to replace the rotors.

Is it typical for Kia brake pads to need replacing in less than 20,000 miles? Or is something else going on here?


The biggest factor in how soon brakes wear is the weight of the driver’s foot and the kind of driving that is done. After that it’s the quality of brake parts (pads / rotors) - assuming that there aren’t other problems like sticking calipers or something.

There are also different reasons that brakes squeal. There are often squealer tabs on brake shoes that act as a low pad warning device. In this case, you’d get a squealing noise without the brakes applied that will usually stop/change a lot WHEN the brakes are applied.

But normal, healthy brakes can easily squeal when applied unless various kinds of anti-vibration measures are taken when brakes are installed. This is generally about little bits of hardware and some well placed brake grease.

Why have the rotors been replaced each time? Were they measured and found to be below minimum thickness? Or was there some other problem?

Who is doing the brake jobs? Changing brakes is easy. Changing them correctly to avoid problems - well, its still sort of easy, but you have to know what to do and take the time to do it correctly.

Either way, I doubt that any of this has to do with it being a Kia Forte


If your brother used aftermarket brakes, they may have made noise (because IMO aftermarket brakes are more likely to make noise). And then the mechanic decided the best way to get rid of the noise was to replace the rotors and pads each time.

Perhaps the mechanic was worried that if he machines the rotors, they’ll be undersized. Or perhaps he was worried they’ll measure okay after the cut, but be so thin, that they’ll be more likely to warp.

I suspect the mechanic was playing it safe, but you can also call it taking the easy way out

Thanks for the responses.

If I recall correctly, the explanations were that the rotors were warped. In one case the mechanic said the brakes had been metal to metal for weeks. Of the three changes, one was at the dealer and the other two at a local shop.

It seemed odd that he would have these problems with the Kia but not with the Toyota. Perhaps I should suggest he go to the Toyota dealership for brake work.

If the rotors were warped each time, there is a possibility that whoever installed/rotated the tires over-torqued the lug nuts. Or, the brakes could have been repeated overheated by not downshifting on long downgrades, and instead, relying only on the brakes to slow down. After the fact, it is very difficult to determine where the fault lies.

And, of course, there are the additional possibilities that Kia rotors and brake pads (and aftermarket parts that may have been installed) are not of the same quality standards as OEM Toyota parts.

Quien sabe?

It’s also possible that whoever is doing the OP’s brother’s Kia brakes isn’t cleaning the rotors properly.

I agree, it does seem odd your brother has this problem with the Kia, but not the Toyota. Unless the Toyota is a manual transmission maybe, and the Kia is an automatic. Automatics tend to be harder on the brakes.

But assuming that isn’t the cause, it’s difficult to believe the Kia’s brake system is substantially different than the Toyota’s … hmmm … well, besides the above comments, all good, maybe there’s just something wrong with the brake hydraulic system, and it is causing the brakes to be slightly on all the time. Sometimes a collapsed rubber brake hose will cause this. Maybe ask the mechanic next time to put the car on the lift and manually rotate the tires, make sure they turn freely when the brakes are not being applied. Might be a good idea to do this both with the engine on & idling, and engine off. Also, even without doing that, the driver can feel the wheels (carefully so as not to get burned), see if they feel hot after a drive in which the brakes were not applied much.