5 car maintenance moves consumers put off

You're braking with worn brake pads
You're braking with worn brake pads © Dewitt/

If applying the brakes is rewarded with a squealing noise, it's your car telling you that you're overdue to replace your disc-brake pads. All new cars today have disc brakes on the front wheels, and most have them on all four wheels.

When disc brakes are applied, a caliper closes on both sides of the brake's rotor or disc, slowing and eventually stopping the wheel's rotation. The pads are a layer of material between the metal caliper and the rotor. They eventually wear down.

"When the pads get low, the bare metal rubs on the rotor," Hafer says.

In this state, the brake is less effective and the rotor can be damaged.

Because of different driving behavior, there is no established mileage for changing the pads, but Hafer says 20,000 to 25,000 miles is about average. Rotating your tires is the ideal time to check the brake pads. Just replacing the brake pads on four wheels at a shop will cost about $250. However, there are other services that AutoMD recommends, such as rotor refacing, that can add as much as $150 to the job.


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