CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Brake replacement question

Hi - have a 2007 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, 98,000 miles. Looking at trading it in while the value is still high and I really like the increased gas mileage of the upcoming 2012 Impreza, but those won’t be available until December. Question is my brake pads and rotars have never been replaced. I know they need to be done at some point but wondering if I can wait until I trade the car in. I’ll probably put 5,000 miles on between now and December. I’d ask my mechanic but he’s affiliated with the dealership, so think he would probably say yes regardless. I don’t have any braking issues at all right now and, if the rotars will have to be replaced anyway, just wonder how long I can go.
Thanks!

It’s Anybody’s Guess. Try It And See If You Make It Another 5,000 Miles.

Brake wear has many factors, where and how you drive are just a couple of them. Since you’ll replace pads and rotors anyhow, just drive it and see if they’ll last a little while longer.

CSA

If it is not a problem, don’t fix it. If it is a problem, the life you save could be your own.

A good brake technician can inspect the brake pads and shoes and assess the present wear. S(he) should be able to tell you if the existing pads and shoes will make it another 5k miles.

Alternately, you could just replace the pads now. If you are not experiencing any brake shudder and if the rotor thicknesses are above the minimum, the rotors can continue in use. Replacing the front pads may be all you need to make it to trade in time. Usually the rear brakes will go longer than the front so you might not need to address those. But get the wear assessment and decide from there.

Hope That Helps.

If you are going to trade it to the dealer, don’t worry about it…If you are going to keep it or sell it yourself, replace the pads taking steps to avoid squeal and drive on…

An '07 with 98K miles makes me think you probably do a lot of highway driving where you’re not using the brakes frequently. Of course there’s no way any of us can tell you whether they will last another 5K miles without inspecting the brakes, but if most of your driving is highway driving there’s a good chance they will last. I’m pretty conservative with brake use, not accelerating till the last second when coming to a stop sign or red light and beginning to coast well before I know I’m going to have to stop and it’s not uncommon for me to get 100K+ miles (combined city/highway) out of a set of brake shoes/pads and never wear into the rotors/drums. I have ran brakes well over 100K miles and change them simply because I was already working on something else in the area and there would still be over half the shoe/pad left. You should be able to pull the wheels off and inspect the thickness of the pads/shoes yourself. Normally brake shoes when new are about 1/4"-5/16" thick and brake pads when new are roughly 3/8"-1/2" thick when new. If they are worn below 1/8" thick and they are riveted they probably should be changed to keep from ruining the drums/rotors, but if they are bonded brakes they should be OK to run until they are about 1/16" thick without damage to the rotors/drums.

Thanks everyone. Yes, lots of highway miles and I drive a shift, so that helps with the wear and tear. No squeaking going on so I’ll play it by ear. I’m still debating on whether to keep the car now as it really is in good shape otherwise but will see if that question has already been posed.

Florestamaria, a post contains a question on a similar car as to when to replace it? Try looking at the post: “Is it really cheaper to keep your car at a certain point?” for some insights.

Find out how much of the brake pad remains. If nearly worn out, replace the pads. You want to avoid metal-on-metal which will ruin your rotors. Your rotors probably won’t need replacing unless you let your pads completely wear out.

“Goldwing” is right, the reason so many people have to replace rotors/drums is because they wait until they hear metal to metal and at that point it’s usually too late to save the rotors/drums, because the metal from the shoes/pads has already cut gashes into them. In some case if they are taken in as soon as this happens they can be turned down smooth again and reused as long as they are still at minimal thickness after being turned.