How Long Does It Take to Change Brakes? All You Need to Know

by Rosemarie Hardison
how long does it take to change brakes

After getting your car braking system checked to make sure all is well, the mechanic tells you that the brakes and rotors need to be replaced after undergoing a lot of wear and tear. So, you naturally ask, “How long does it take to change brakes?”

Installing brand new brakes and rotors can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour if it’s done by an expert. People who want to do it at home might need a longer time due to their lack of expertise, so the whole process could span three to four hours in this case.

Want to know more about this topic in-depth? Well, I wrote this article just for that purpose, so stick around for additional information on changing vehicle brakes!

How Often Should I Replace the Brakes and Rotors?

Of course, you’ll need to get your braking system checked and changed at certain milestones to keep your safety intact. Most experts recommend you change the brake pads every 10,000 to 20,000 miles so that you don’t give them the chance to become too worn out.

As for the rotors, those tend to be more durable and will generally take longer to be replaced. Here, I’m talking 50,000 to 70,000 miles that your vehicle has to go before installing new rotors.

How Can I Tell If the Brakes Need Changing?

If you don’t have that much experience with different vehicle parts, it may not be easy to identify a problem with the brakes. Sure, you’ll feel that something isn’t right, but you might still not be certain what it can be.

Well, and I’m speaking from experience, the first indicator of worn-out brake pads is hearing an annoying, high-pitched screech when you try to stop the car. And I don’t mean when you hit the brakes suddenly, but in a normal scenario where you need to slow your movement to park the car or stop at a red light.

If you hear this screeching often, look for other signs that may be further proof that your braking system needs maintenance. These include:

  • Vibrating steering wheel when you press the brakes
  • Trembling brake pedal
  • Hearing troublesome grinding noises after the screeching sound
  • Car taking more time than usual to come to a full stop
  • Car nose shifting to one side as you hit the brakes

All these things can happen as a result of thinning brake pads, but the sign you should watch out for more than anything else is the unmistakable grinding noise.

If that occurs, it means that the brake pads have completely worn through. This will need you to take immediate action not to expose your braking system to too much friction.

Should I Change the Brakes Myself or Ask for Help?

Your better choice is to ask for professional help to leave no room for mistakes, but, of course, that might cost you more than if you DIY.

If you want to save some cash, you can always change the brakes yourself. Just make sure to consult the owner’s manual before doing so and follow all the instructions carefully to get the job done with no hiccups.

What Are the Factors That Influence the Lifespan of Brake Pads?

It’s pretty strange that some vehicles might require more frequent brake changes than others. Some cars can handle up to 50,000 miles before the repair is necessary, while others only make it to 20,000 miles. So, why is that?

You’ve probably guessed it; it depends on how you drive your car and the type of brake pads that the vehicle is outfitted with.

For a while, slamming on the brakes all of a sudden used to give me a level of satisfaction that I still don’t know the reason for. Yet, soon after, I learned that this driving habit could make the brake pads wear down faster, resulting in more frequent brake pad changes.

Therefore, you should refrain from using your brake pedal as a foot punching bag and treat it with more care so as not to shorten the brakes’ lifespan!

The second thing I’ve learned is that some types of braking pads can endure more wear and tear than others. Ceramic brake pads are definitely more fitted to this job than their semi-metallic or organic cousins.

Lastly, remember that a brake pad might be as good as new, but being surrounded by too-old rotors and calipers can affect its performance and cause it to wear down at a faster rate.

Should I Change All Four Brake Pads at the Same Time?

Not necessarily. However, what you should do is replace brake pads on the same axle at the same time. For example, if the brake pads on the front right wheel need to be changed, you should also install new ones on the front left wheel.

The reason behind this is that braking pads on the same axle usually wear out at the same rate. But this isn’t always the case with front and rear brake pads.

How Much Does Changing the Brakes Cost?

The price for a brake repair can vary greatly from one vehicle to another.

Generally speaking, replacing the brake pads on one axle can cost you around $150 on average. However, that amount could climb up to $300 per axle if brake pad material is more expensive.

Final Thoughts

How long does it take to change brakes on a vehicle?

Normally, the entire brake repair replacement process can take an hour or less if you take your car to the mechanic to do it. If you prefer to go the DIY way, changing the brakes might be more time-consuming, taking up to three hours.

To make sure your vehicle safety is top-notch, remember to watch for any signs of trouble. It also won’t hurt to get your braking system checked every 20,000 to 50,000 miles by an expert.

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