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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

$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.

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?

No, I don’t.

I am basing my information on my experience as a customer and an amateur mechanic. In my experience as a customer I have gotten quotes for brake jobs but I usually do them myself. The last quote I got for a front end brake job was from Goodyear and it was less than $200. I suppose if the OP had the front and rear brakes serviced, $349 isn’t so bad, but I really doubt the rear brakes needed servicing this soon. The last time I had an oil change at a dealership, it cost me $25, and it wasn’t that long ago.

We me driving my car in mostly city driving, 100,000 miles. Your results will vary.

My recent experience
Wife 2003 ford windstar 50,000
My 2003 trailblazer 96,000
She grew up in NY and hits the gas to get to a red light sooner,
I see a red light and coast up to it. I have heard Fords eat brakes faster than GM but I think driving habits are a significant factor. We are both in town mileage for the most part.

Agreed that it is in the driving habits of the operator but left foot braking should not be blamed for early pad loss.

I got 135k on the original pads on my 02 Saturn SL. I replaced them with new rotors and pads that were highly recommended at another web site I visit, they lasted 39k miles. My driving style/conditions did not change.

It seems to me that you should be more concerned with the outrageous charge for fixing your brakes. My Dodge van does around 50k on front brakes and 98k on the rear.

Not only the type of driving, but the type of vehicle has a big influence. My wifes Accord the brakes would last about 120k miles. My pathfinders and now toyota the brakes only last about 60k miles. The heavier the vehicle the quicker the brakes wear out.

My GMC 4x4 pkup just had brakes front/rear pads,and rotors replaced at 21k.
Most of my driving is in town stop and go. $560
Does that make you feel better?

My point here is this. At 34 bucks an oil change is not a money making proposition for the dealer. There’s a thousand expenses that have to come out of that 34 dollars after excluding the cost of the oil and filter. Just a sample and not all inclusive:

Wages of the tech, the service writer, the service manager, parts people, office clerks, utilities, computers, printer paper, wear and tear on shop equipment, business fees and regulation compliance, shop rags, service training, cost of parts inventory sitting on the shelf, and even things like the uniforms the service people are wearing along with the “Welcome” mat at the door. That’s just barely scratching the surface and while each one on that oil change job may be comparatively tiny in value, taken as a whole it adds up.
(And at the price of some synthetic oils especially, 4 or 5 quarts can easily exceed 34 dollars just on the price of the oil itself.)

As to the brakes the dealer is probably using factory rotors/pads and prices cannot be compared as the dealer cost on those items is often greater than what the retail price of those items would be from a local parts house.

While the perception may be that the factory sends the factory parts to the dealers and gives it to them on the cheap, this is not the case. The dealer is charged and charged plenty for those parts; and even the special factory tools which are often sent through the parts dept. The dealer pays through the nose for those tools; some of which are never even needed.

While working for Subaru an inner CV joint could be procured from NAPA for about 68 bucks. The cost from Subaru for the factory part was 65 bucks so it is impossible to compete; and truth be known, those joints are probably manufactured in the same plant.
Hope that explains some of it.