Brakes are often neglected. People tend to overlook them until they start making a noise, vibrating or both. If you wait too long before replacing your brakes and they start making a noise, you run a very real
risk of damaging your rotors.
There is no particular mileage at which you need to replace a set of brake pads. A lot depends on how you drive, of course. Some people are hard on their brakes, which will increase the wear on both pads and rotors. The compounds used in brake pads can vary, as well. There are brake pads that are softer than others, which give a better feel and more efficient braking, but provide a shorter service life, and are often found in vehicles with greater performance potential.
The best policy is to have your brakes checked each time that you change the oil. The person who changes your oil should really be rotating the tires anyway, so it’s quick and easy to simply inspect the brakes while the wheels are off. Some manufacturers have brake wear indicator lights, which tell you when the pads are nearing the end of their useful life. Even though they are big and hefty, brake rotors can wear, to the point that they no longer allow your brakes to function as they should. Your rotors will last longer than your brake pads but should still be checked for thickness periodically. Brake rotors can overheat due to friction created by prolonged use of the brakes, by wrongly installed pads, or a malfunctioning brake system. This heat in turn can create warping of the rotors, which will be indicated by a vibration in your brake pedal. Noise such as squealing when you apply the brakes could indicate worn brake pads or a buildup of dust from the brake pads.
Although they are easy to overlook, it is wise to monitor the condition of pads and rotors, just as it is to monitor oil level and tire pressures. That’s where your vehicle technician, whether at Hall VW/Mazda, or your favorite mechanic, comes in, to do this for you.
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