What Causes Brake Pads To Wear Out Fast

Does it seem like you are always having to change out your front brake pads? If so, have you wondered what causes brake pads to wear out fast? Many drivers want to blame the manufacturer of the brake bad. But in reality, it may be more human error than the equipment.

What Causes Brake Pads To Wear Out

Low Quality Brake Parts

Your front brakes do 70% of the stopping of your vehicle. This means you should go through one set of rear brakes to every two on the front under normal driving conditions. Also, based on that your brake parts are of good quality. Low grade brake parts can be what causes brake pads to wear out fast. 

Poor quality parts, especially brakes pads and lining, will wear out much faster than top brands. However, cheap brake hardware can also cause issues. Calipers have to slide on guide pins and bolts. If they don’t move properly, it can wear out your pads and rotors quickly. Always ensure you get new, quality brake hardware when replacing your pads. You should also get new rotors. Today’s rotors are made to the minimum thickness brand new. That way you keep having to buy more.

Cheap made brake rotors can also wear out your brake pads. When a braking system is designed by the manufacturer. They design it to run with a certain grade metal for the rotor. Some cheap made rotors are not made with this grade of metal. This will cause the pads to get hotter than they should and fail. 

As mentioned, low quality or cheap brake pads hold the saying. “You get what you pay for.” One of the well-known parts stores sell a lifetime brake pad. This pad is junk and not worth the time to mess with. They disintegrate in a month’s time, no matter your driving habit. Always by name brand pads. 

Your Driving Terrain And Conditions

The area you live in or road conditions can also contribute to what causes brake pads to wear out fast. Many don’t realize that excessive wet or dry areas can affect your brake wear. If you live and drive in an area that there are always high waters. These waters on the roads contain dirt and contaminants Just the same with dry areas with high heat desert like terrain. Or even country dirt and gravel roads.

These type of road contaminants eat up brake pads and shoes. It can really wear out drum brakes fast as these dirt’s get trapped inside the drum. Brakes are designed to resist heat to a point. However, driving in areas that the temperatures already start off at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, can reduce brake pad life. 

Another reason that causes brake pads to wear out fast, is inclined terrain. Driving in hilly and mountainous areas are tough on brakes. If you are always driving downhill and using your brakes, this will decrease the life of the pads. Towing and hauling great weight is another cause to make brakes pads wear out fast. If you have a vehicle that you use for towing a payload, expect to be changing pads more than normal. 

What Causes Brake Pads To Wear Out Fast – Most Common Reason

The most common reason brakes pads wear out fast is being impatient. People are always in a hurry; they want to get from point A to B in seconds. So, they tailgate people on the road, which causes excessive use of the brakes. Then there are those idiots that want to go from 70mph to 0 in less than a second. More accidents are caused by this type of flawed driving habits than speeding. 

Automotive brake designs are impressive and they can really stop a vehicle. But why would anyone with any sense always want to put their brakes to the test the entire time driving? Brakes can do two things when they get too hot. One, which is the least likely of the two, can lock up. The other, which is most common is the brakes overheat and fail to work. 

If you get your brakes too hot, the rotors to pad lose their gripping power. The other is, the brake fluid can begin to boil and you lose hydraulic pressure. Either way, why take such a stupid risk to get somewhere? 

Always look ahead, notice when traffic is slowing down or time your stops out with traffic lights. There is no reason to maintain your speed until the last second. I have seen some drivers make brake pads last 150000 miles because they let the engine slow them down. 

You can either be an idiot and be unsafe and burn those pads and rotors up. Or you can be a sensible safe driver and stay off others rear-ends and quit tailgating. There is no need to take a chance to see if the car is going to be able to stop at the last second.

Are You A Left Foot Braker?

What Causes Brake Pads To Wear OutThere are many people that like to brake with their left foot. This is a big reason on what causes brake pads to wear out fast. Usually, those that have never driven a manual shift car, will tend to use their left foot for braking. Although, I have seen some that I know have driven a manual shift still do that.

The issue with braking with your left foot is. The driver tends to leave their foot on the brake pedal while driving. I know you have seen those cars driving along with the brake lights on. Those people are burning up brake-light bulbs for one thing, but can be what causes brake pads to wear out fast. The brake pedal isn’t a clutch people, keep your foot off while under normal driving conditions. You can learn more about driving with your left foot by reading “Should you use two feet to drive?”

Failing Brake Hardware And Components

There are many parts to a brake system and they all need to be working correctly with each other. Drum brakes are the worst, they have multiple springs, clips, cables and hydraulics. Disc brakes aren’t as bad on parts but is still critical that all hardware is in good shape.

What Causes Brake Pads To Wear OutThe most common issue to what causes brake pads to wear out fast is slide. The caliper has to be able to freely slide on pins or even metal to metal to work. In most vehicles, there are two guide pins that support the caliper. The caliper slides on these pins usually insulated with rubber O-rings. Over time, and a lot of heat from the brakes, the O-rings start swelling and causing the caliper to stick. One way of identifying this issue is if the outer pad wears more than the inner. It is a good idea whenever you change your brake pads, to change out the brake hardware as well.

There are often anti vibration spring clips that can break or bend, causing a pad to be misaligned. Then there is the caliper piston itself that can be an issue. Sometimes, the rubber seals will break down and start causing the pistons to stick. So, the piston can come out and press the pads together. However, the issue is that the piston doesn’t full release the pressure and causes the inner pad to wear out.

Always inspect your brake hose to the caliper. They can get clogged by debris and allow the fluid out to the caliper but not let it flow back. It kind of acts like a one-way valve. So, if everything else checks out good, maybe look at replacing the hose. Always replace parts in pairs, never do one side different than the other.


The best advise that I can give you on making your brakes last longer, is change you!!! First off, pay attention to your stopping habits. Don’t wait to the last second to stop, pace yourself to allow the car to slow down to your stop. Use your gears or transmission to slow the car down.

Secondly, make a point to do a regular brake inspection. Always look at your wheels to see if you are getting black brake dust all over them. If you are, pull the wheel off and see how thick your pads are. Or take your car to a mechanic you trust.

When doing your brakes, don’t be cheap and try to use the old hardware over and over. You are talking about your life and safety as well as others on the road. Out of every feature on your vehicle, the brakes are the number one priority to ensure work. If you are new to mechanics, then I highly recommend taking this step by step Auto Mechanics Course. It is affordable and the information is priceless once you learn the skill.


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