How often do you need a brake job?

close-up of a driver's shoe on the brakes

How often do you need a brake job?

While we’re concerned about what makes our vehicle go, we also need to think about stopping too. The motor, transmission, wheels, and tires, and all the other components that keep a vehicle are running and moving are important, and so are the brakes. That’s why when the brakes go bad, a brake job becomes a necessity. 

How do you know when your brakes are bad?

A vehicle with bad brakes is dangerous and it can get expensive if not addressed immediately. Some indications that your vehicle needs a brake job are: 

  • Brakes Pads: 

The brakes pads on a vehicle press next to a rotor on the front wheels. This creates the resistance that makes your vehicle stop. Over time, they begin to thin, and they get to a point where they can’t make the friction needed to stop the vehicle. A visual inspection can be done by looking at the spokes of the two front wheels. If you see a thin pad or nothing but metal, it is time for a professional brake job. 

  • Squealing Sounds: 

Newer vehicles today have a small metal piece that will make an irritating sound as brake pads get thin. Once you hear that irritating, shrill screech while depressing the brake pedal, it is time to schedule a brake job.

  • Poor Performance:

If the brakes on your vehicle aren’t working well, take the vehicle in for a brake inspection. This could be what they call a “soft” pedal, meaning that as you press on the brake you aren’t feeling it stopping the vehicle, requiring you to press harder. If the brake pedal is going all the way to the floor before it stops, your vehicle definitely needs a professional brake job. 

  • Vibration

When you press on the brake pedal and you feel it vibrating, this is the brakes telling you that it is time for a brake inspection and a possible brake job. Sometimes the problem is deformed rotors, in which case “turning” them to even them out is all they need. However, by the time this kind of work is needed, a complete brake job may be the better option. 

  • Driveway Puddles

Finding small puddles under your car can mean many things such as a leaking radiator, leaking transmission, or an oil leak. It can also mean your car has a brake fluid leak, as it can be another sign of a leaking brake line. Can you repair a broken brake line? Yes, taking your vehicle immediately to a professional mechanic that knows how to repair a brake line is recommended at this point. It is often safer with a broken brake line to have them come to collect your vehicle with a town truck instead of risk driving the vehicle. 

  • Pulling

If you feel your car going to one side or the other as you press on the brakes, you need to have your brakes inspected right away. 

  • Metallic Sounds

If your vehicle’s brakes make grinding metal sounds when you press on them you need a brake job now. This indicates they have worn through the brake pads, and if you don’t get them replaced soon, your vehicle is going to need even more extensive brake repairs.

  • Warning Lights

When the anti-lock brake light or “ABS” comes on and stays on, you have a brake problem that needs immediate attention. It may only need brake fluid added, but it should not be ignored. If a “BRAKE!” light comes on, it could be that the emergency brake is still engaged. If both lights are on, call your mechanic to get your vehicle in for a brake job. 

When is brake pad replacement needed?

The basic rule-of-thumb is between 10,000 miles and 20,000 miles for brake pad replacements. At 10,000 miles, have your brakes checked and the mechanic can advise you on if you need that brake job then or when to come back. The brake rotors typically need replacing at 50,000 miles, though some vehicles can wait until 70,000 miles. Again, have an annual brake inspection and have your mechanic advise you. 

Can you repair a brake master cylinder?

The master cylinder is one of the most common brake job repairs needed. Over time, these begin to leak around the seal, and most of the time, they can be rebuilt. Each make and model of a car can be different in this regard and depending on how old the master cylinder is and how damaged it is, replacing the master cylinder may be required. 

Can you repair brake hoses?

Brake hoses usually require total replacement rather than a simple brake job when you are having problems with them. They become brittle with time, and repairing them isn’t possible. 

How long does it take to do a full brake job?

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, a brake inspection will take between thirty minutes to an hour. This will include inspecting the brakes pads, rotors, and other components of the brake system. A brake job can take between forty-five minutes to an hour unless the brakes are severely worn and damaged. 

close-up of mechanic working on car brake pads

Coming To A Halt 

So, how much does a brake job cost? It can vary from make and model to make and model, but the complete brake job where calipers, pads, and rotors are replaced, will cost between $300 to $800. With higher-end cars, the brake job could cost up to $1,000 or more. With that expense, you may be asking how many miles should a brake job last? Your driving habits will affect this, but the average brake life can be as short as 25,000 and up to 80,000 miles. Other factors that determine this are the quality of the brake pads and rotors. An average lifespan is around 40,000 miles.