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Brakes for 2006 Honda Element

I have a 2006 Honda Element, manual transmission, with 166,000 miles. It runs great and most importantly stops great. I’ve never had to have the brakes replaced! They are checked every time I have the tires rotated and certainly my mechanic has a financial incentive to change them if needed. I asked my mechanic how often he expected most brakes to be replaced and he said around 50,000 miles. How can it be they have never needed to replaced? Is it because I downshift a lot, the way I generally drive, or do I just have dam good brakes?

I have had brake pads & shoes last for that long. I drive highway miles and I don’t tailgate. Down shifting will save brakes but wears the clutch.

I’ve always been curious about that reasoning. The clutch wears only as it is being released. Once fully released, there is no wear. The greatest amount of wear happens when you accelerate from a dead stop. If you speed-match when you shift, wear is minimized. I routinely downshift, and still get more than 160,000 miles between clutch changes. And that included some punishment on my pick-up. I had my Celica clutch last over 200,000.

Downshifting not only wears the clutch but the syncros in the transmission. Having said that, when driving in the mountains, downshifting is much safer than riding the brakes.

While my question here had nothing to do with my clutch, I’ll note that so far, at 166,000 miles I have had no problems with it. I guess I’ll attribute my original question to my driving style - which makes sense to me. I’ll also note that while I do no live in the mountains, there are coastal mountains very, very near me that I drive through periodically.