How Long Does it Take to Change Brakes?

Brake pads are an important part of your car's brake system. They sit on the lower part of the driver's side and helps to slow the tires' rotation while driving. Other elements of the vehicle, like rotors, calipers, and discs, wear away without good brake pads. This is why it is vital to be able to know when your brake pads need to be replaced. 

Adequate maintenance of your car's brake system is necessary to avoid accidents on your way. Routine checkups and daily checks can help prevent some danger that may arise. It will also save you the stress of having to face a major repair. There are many factors to consider to know how long exactly it will take to change your car brakes.

When the time comes to change car brakes, the big question of "How long does it take to change brakes?" comes up. However, before you can answer that correctly, you need first to consider the factors that affect the change time. 

How long does it take to change brakes?

Factors that determine how long it takes to change brakes

1. The regularity of car braking system

It is necessary to service brakes frequently by a qualified mechanic. This is to ensure the safety of the car and to repair minor issues before they escalate. The mechanic will be able to know when the brake pads or some other parts of the car needs replacement. During servicing, the mechanic should also take the car for a test drive to be sure that the brake system is in place. 

2. Driving habits

Rough driving habits can cause quick damage to brakes. When you brake too hard, you are increasing the risk of your car to have brake failure. The braking system will wear out quickly. 

3. Brake materials

The lifespan of the brake system depends majorly on the kind of materials used for the parts. Steel is the most efficient and most durable material to be used for brakes. They are readily available and are suitable for different environments.

Changing brakes in general, but it is difficult to say how long it takes clearly. You can decide to call your mechanic to give you an estimate, but it might not be accurate. One person's knowledge of the service may not be another person's way. There will be a difference between a backyard mechanic and a professional one.

If you wish to go with the backyard mechanic, he will be done within a few minutes to an hour. But he might lack the necessary tools and equipment needed to be used. A backyard mechanic's idea of brake repair is just to remove wheels, remove calipers, then remove and replace the brake pads.

For a qualified mechanic, he quotes estimates based on some factors he has considered and has experienced from his various jobs. He is thinking of extracting the calipers, cleaning, lubricating, and replacing. He not only focuses on the brake pads but also on rotors. Lubrication is done, hardware cleaned, and replaced. All these are what a backyard mechanic do haphazardly or disregards generally. 

How long do brake pads last?

Brake pads are generally known to work for 35,000 miles. But the actual answer depends on various factors, from the driver to the environment, and some other variables.

The environment in which the car operates affects the brakes. If you drive in urban areas, you will have to engage your brakes more than in rural areas. Riding your brakes too hard can also cause the brakes to wear out quickly. 

How do you know when brake pads need to be changed? 

Changing brake pads comes after you know that your brake pads need to be replaced. Regular checking of your braking system helps you to be aware if there is a replacement to be done. There are also some factors to look out for in your vehicle. The following are some of them:  

1. Screeching noises 

Usually, the first clue you will notice is a creaking or screeching noise when the brakes are in motion. This is caused by a small, metallic pointer that’s implanted in your brake pad for this intention. When it makes noise often while braking, it’s an indication that your braking system needs to be checked and probably replaced.

However, it is not only when your brakes need to be changed that this pointer makes noise. It can make the same noise when the brakes are exposed to very wet conditions or when there's so much dust. If the sound comes and goes after a few times, then you need not worry about replacing the brakes

2. Visual inspection

You can observe your brake pads to know when it’s time for them to be replaced. When you look through your tire spokes, you'll see your brake pad tightened against the rotor. If the brake pad is less than a quarter-inch thick, it's an indication to have your brake pads checked. 

3. Metallic grinding 

If you hear a sound like metal scraping against each other, it is an indication that your brake discs and calipers are clashing against each other. And this clashing can cause more damage to the braking system. It is best at this time to bring in the car for servicing. 

4. Indicator light 

Some cars come with an indicator light on the dashboard that comes on when car brakes need to be replaced. Be sure your car has one, and if it does, watch out for the light regularly. But if the light does not come on, it means the light itself needs to be replaced, and the brake pads changed too. 

How long does it take to change brakes?

How long does it take to change brakes [FAQs]

Where are my brake pads located? 

The brake pads of most cars come with a brake system located at the front of the car. The brake system comprises rotors, calipers, and brake pads. 

Can I check my brake pads without removing the wheels? 

You can check your brake pads without removing the wheels. You can see your brake pads through the wheels. You can check the thickness of the brake pad through the wheels. 

How long can I drive on bad brakes? 

Majorly, the way you drive your car affects the lifespan of your brakes. Manufacturers have also come up with a rule that brakes should only run for about 25,000 to 65,000 miles. 

Can I change brake pads myself? 

Changing brake pads yourself is not so much of a big job as most people see it to be. It doesn't require much time or tools. It also helps to save money. 

Can I drive with grinding brakes? 

It is not safe to drive with grinding brakes, especially if the grinding is through the rotor. You can easily replace this on your own before it escalates to a major repair. 

Do I have to change my front and rear brake pads at the same time? 

You can replace your brake pads in pairs. But it doesn't have to be both front and rear at the same time, except if they both need to be replaced.

Do rear brakes wear out faster than front brakes? 

The weight of your vehicle affects how fast the brake pads wear out. The wright of a vehicle is mostly towards the rear part. This implies that the rear brakes will wear out before the front brakes. 

Final Words

Knowing how to change your brake pads is essential. It not only saves you cash but also keeps your car and prevents your life from an accident. You do not need to have all the tools or be experienced like a pro to change your brake pads.

Once you know the basics of the repair and check your owner's manual, you should be able to get all you need.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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