There is unfortunately no universal standard or schedule for when you will need to have your brakes checked or replaced. The best way is by having your brakes inspected regularly to monitor the life of the brake pads.
Here is a list of factors that will determine whether you will need to have your brakes replaced sooner rather than later:
- Your usual driving environment. Driving an urban or suburban area inevitably means you will have to do frequent stopping and starting, which will wear your brakes out faster.
- Your car’s age. The newer the car, the better the brake technology used with it. Similarly, newer cars will have built-in sensors to warn you when they’re getting too thin.
- Your car’s specific brakes. Some cars use lighter and thinner brake pads to save weight, improve fuel efficiency and lower costs. So while the technology in the brakes might be better than in the past, the reduced weight and thickness means you might have to get them replaced just as frequently as in the past.
If your car doesn’t come with built in sensors, if you notice your car taking longer to stop or that it makes persistently loud noises when you apply the brakes, your brake pads are probably getting dangerously thin and should be replaced.
As an alternative, you can have them examined regularly. Most cars require you to have your wheels rotated every six months or so, which is a good time to have the mechanic inspect the thickness of brake pads and see if they need replacing or not.