How long will 3mm brake pads last – when is the time to replace brake pads

With the more traditional drum braking systems, brake shoes were replaced by brake discs. Modern automobiles come equipped with a disc braking system that allows them to slow down and eventually stop.

When brake pads are visible and measure 3 mm, you should change your brake pads.

When the car’s wheel is turning, a spinning disc is likewise moving in tandem with the wheel. The caliper’s job is to apply pressure to the brake pad, causing it to push against and make contact with the brake disc.

Worn brake pads often seriously ruin your brake mechanism and wheels over time.

The things you need to know about 3 mm brake pads

The bare minimum thickness for a brake pad is 3 mm. This means that 3 mm brake pads need to be replaced right away.

But if you follow a few simple guidelines, you can drive with 3 mm brake pads.

How durable are 3 mm brake pads?

How long are 3 mm brake pads last? The quality, kind, and frequency of use of your brakes all affect the life of a 3 mm brake pad.

You can’t expect them to last very long because 3 mm is only a little larger than one-tenth of an inch.

It can take months to become a cautious, gentle driver. A careless driver can, however, operate a fast car for a week.

The brake pads will last less time if you drive swiftly and forcefully. Also, remember that different materials are used to make brake pads, and some will wear out considerably more quickly than others.

It is simple to get brake pads from the neighborhood auto parts store. The same dealership where you purchased your automobile is an excellent place to buy them and have them replaced, though.

How to maintain a 3 mm brake pad?

Driving Style

The appropriate brake pads wear out because of drive style. Selecting the best brake pad is one thing, but you must also make sure that your driving habits don’t hasten the brake pads’ rapid deterioration.

If you want to retain your brake pads’ thickness of 3 mm for as long as possible and don’t have the time to change them yet, you must limit how you drive.

For instance, driving at high speeds and making abrupt stops might damage the brake pads.

If your car typically tows a hefty load, you also notice the pad wearing out more quickly.

This increases the overall weight and pressure on the brakes, which makes them wear out more quickly.

Every 40,000 kilometers, you should make sure to flush and replace the brake fluid leak with new ones.

Change Brake Linings

You will hear the grating scream or chatter when the brake linings have worn down considerably. Therefore, whenever you see that they are worn out, you need to replace them.

Until the rivets are disclosed, this broken component could cause serious harm to your car. These deplete brake rotors and drum brakes, necessitating costly replacements and repairs.

Additionally, a complete replacement of the brake linings will be required.

When purchasing new ones, you should also consider the many available varieties. Benefit from it by picking the proper lining that comes with a lifetime warranty.

This might lessen how often brake pads need to be changed.

Flush The Brake Lines 

The most important thing you need to do to make sure your 3 mm brake pads can last longer is flush your brake lines.

To prevent air bubbles from forming in the brake fluid, clean the brake pads.

These air bubbles frequently reduce the lubricity of the brake fluid and the efficiency of the entire brake mechanism.

It is essential to flush the brake lines once every two years because this can lead to mechanical brake wear.

The reason is that the brake fluid can be contaminated, affecting its optimal functioning. This can move to other brake components, such as the brake pads.

Don’t Engage the Brake When Moving Downhill

If you’re going downhill, you should slow down without braking.

It is important in this circumstance to downshift. Brake pad wear will be reduced if the gear is lowered to slow the car down.

Especially if you operate a car with both automatic and manual transmissions, gears can be excellent speed limiters. A manual automobile can stick in third gear when going downhill.

However, when operating an automatic vehicle, you should use the gear selection to limit your speed. At this point, the gearbox can choose its first or second speed.

Automatic shifting If the driver desires to downshift, the car will automatically shift into a lower gear.

Keep An Adequate Distance With Vehicles Ahead

When you drive too closely to the luxurious automobile in front of you, especially when moving quickly, it results in a rapid stop that damages your brake pads.

When traveling at a fast rate of speed, you might need to brake suddenly.

Therefore, maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you will help to reduce the likelihood of an accident and prolong the life of your 3 mm-thin brake pads.

The car’s brake pads don’t tend to wear out rapidly after you keep a safe distance from the car in front, so there’s no need to apply the brakes suddenly.

Check for Wrapped Calipers and Rotors

The brake pads also deteriorate more quickly when other braking system components, such as brake calipers or rotors, fail.

Bring your car to an auto shop to have the entire brake system thoroughly inspected if the brake pads seem to be wearing out quickly.

If a component breaks, you might need to spend money on a replacement one.

Don’t Overload

To stop, a large truck needs a lot of force.

If you want to prevent harming your brake pads at 3 mm and expect your brake mechanism to last longer, it is better to make sure your automobile is not overloaded.

So, get rid of everything unnecessary from inside the car. When not in use, unplug the trailer you are towing.

What is the ideal thickness of a brake pad? How to check its thickness?

If you are purchasing new brake pads, then you will want their friction material to be around 10 to 12 millimeters (1/2 inches). This is the standard thickness size that you will see for most new brake pads.

For optimum performance, an ideal brake pad should be thicker than 6.4 mm (1/4 inch). If it is thinner than this limit, you should replace it right away.

Additionally, the majority of auto mechanics advise that the brake pads’ minimum thickness be 3.2 mm (1/8 inch). Consequently, brake pads with a 3 mm thickness are still allowed.

The precise steps to determine the brake pad thickness are listed below:

  1. Remove the wheel to quickly inspect the brake pad’s thickness and connection to the disc. For a full check, you should remove and clean the brake pads.
  2. To check the front brakes, raise the front of your car with a jack stand.
  3. Take the front wheel off and lock it. Before using jack stands, raise the back wheel and inspect the rear brakes.
  4. When removing the wheel, you can see the pad thickness through the front of the caliper.
  5. Put the car’s wheels back on. When finished, lower it to the ground.

Brake pad glazing

The term brake pads glazing has probably come up in any research you’ve done on your car’s braking system.

It is what? Well, this merely indicates that the brake pads’ friction compound has begun to crystallize as a result of too much heat.

But this is only the beginning. When brake pads glazing begins, it typically spreads to the brake rotors and brake discs as well.

As a result, the brake disc and brake pad have a very smooth surface, which dramatically lowers your car’s capacity to stop when necessary. You’ll feel vibrations in the brake pedal if the crystallization occurs in some areas of the brake disc more than others.

The brake pads may also have cracks or fractures when examined more closely.

What are the causes

Too much heat results in brake pad glazing. The brake pads on your car are designed to function within a specified temperature range. Crystallization begins when the brake pads become hot enough to exceed the brake pads operating temperature range.

This causes the brake pads to be dragged or “ridden,” hence the name. The brake pad temperature could rise over the normal range due to excessive speed and abrupt stopping, which could lead to brake pad glazing.

One of the calipers sticking could potentially cause drag, which could lead to overheating of the brake pads.

What can you do about it

Many drivers will provide numerous solutions for stopping brake pad glazing. It is perhaps important to highlight that the sole remedy for brake pad glazing is to replace the afflicted parts.

Think about substituting brand-new, high-performance brake pads. To make sure that the brake pads don’t freeze again, you need to start by figuring out what went wrong.

The following are a few causes of brake pads crystallization.

Bad driving practices

Driving quickly and braking abruptly can elevate the temperature of your brake pads to a point where crystallization can occur. Driving at high speed may also hit the brake pedal quickly.

Other parts of your braking system may be having problems

Therefore, it is wise to also check the fluid lines and the calipers on the rotor to determine the potential source of the problem. If the brake pedal goes to the floor, fluid compression is not building up properly because of a leak somewhere in the system.

You should ensure to flush and replace the brake fluid leak with new ones about every 40,000 km.

In challenging circumstances, you could do a lot of towing or driving. Consider high-performance brake pads if this is the case.

Brake shoes vs. brake pads

The brake shoes on a car should not be confused with parts that increase the number of miles the braking system can travel. Their responsibility is to halt your car. Furthermore, as an improvement for the best performance, certain braking systems include braking shoes.

Brake shoes and brake pads are frequently confused, although they are not the same.

What are brake shoes exactly, what do they do for a car, and how are they different from brake pads?

Brake shoes

Yes, stopping your car is what both the brake shoes and the brake pads do. They are, however, totally dissimilar from one another.

The disc brakes include the brake pads as a component. When the brake pads make contact with a rotating disc rotor in this type of braking system, the vehicle comes to a halt.

The friction required to stop the car is produced when the brake pad squeezes the disc rotor.

On the other hand, the drum braking system includes brake shoes. These are crescent-shaped, and one side of them is covered in a rough substance. Friction is caused by this side.

Then, the brake drum will contain the brake shoes. When you depress the brake pedal, the brake shoes are propelled outward and come into contact with the braking drum’s interior. The vehicle then slows down as a result of this.

Modern automobiles will have a disc braking system instead of the previous drum braking system, which uses brake shoes.

Replacing brake shoes

Surprisingly, brake shoes last longer than brake pads. Having said that, this is not to indicate that they won’t eventually deteriorate. Replace the brake shoes on your drum braking system quite frequently to keep it operating at peak efficiency.

You can get hundreds of miles out of some brake shoes. However, adverse weather and driving conditions could hasten their deterioration. Change the brake shoes as soon as you realize that your car’s braking system is starting to become less efficient.


In conclusion, brake pads wear out more quickly in start-stop driving, especially on automatic transmissions. Personal driving practices also have an impact. While some are more “brake grabbing,” some people ride on their brakes when they come to a stop.

If you’re looking for a brake pad replacement, check out our article, where we compare Brakebest Select and Duralast brake pads.


Should I replace my brake pads at 3 mm?

Therefore, in most cases, it is best to change brake pads at 3 mm or 4 mm. At least 3 mm of the pad should be visible. Request an inspection of the brake pads if you see anything less. This is the kind of inspection you should receive during a car service, but select a trustworthy garage because some dishonest shops may forego removing your wheel for the check.

How long will 2 mm front brake pads last?

2 mm can go from 2ft to 2000 miles. Relates more to how you apply the brakes than how many kilometers you drive.

What does it mean when your brakes are at 3 mm?

When the thickness is 3 mm, brake work is ready. Could you go on driving? Yes, but not securely. It’s time to change your brake pads if you have any regard for yourself or the other drivers on the road.

What is acceptable mm for brake pads?

An ideal brake pad is typically 8 to 12 millimeters thick, while worn brake pads are roughly 3 mm thick when they need to be replaced.

How far can I drive with 3 mm brake pads?

Depending on your driving habits, you could safely drive anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand miles.

When to replace brake pads

After ten thousand to twenty thousand miles, experts advise replacing the brake pads. The wear will be minimal as a result. The rotors, on the other hand, can endure a little bit longer. The brake rotors should have 50,000 to 70,000 miles on them.

Cost of changing brake pads

You should budget $150 on average to replace the brake pads on each axle. However, these expenses can reach $300 for each axle, depending on the materials and quality of the brake pads. Organic brake pads are the least expensive kind.