How often should I re-line my brakes?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am perplexed by my 1986 Acura Integra. I had the front brakes re-lined at 13,000 miles and the rear brakes done at 29,000 miles. Each time, it cost me $159. It is my contention that brakes pads should not have to be replaced that soon. Please help me to understand this situation.

RAY: Mileage is not really a good predictor of brake life. The lifespan of a set of brakes is more closely related to how frequently and how strenuously they're used. A car driven by a wimpy driver like my brother, for instance, could go tens of thousands of miles without ever needing brakes--especially if it's only driven on the I mean highway.

TOM: On the other hand, a car driven in city traffic by a nutcake like my brother--racing between stoplights--could easily need brakes after only 13,000 miles.

RAY: Are you the kind of person who sleeps late and then has to zoom through traffic to get to work on time? Is your secret desire to be a New York City cab driver or pizza deliverer? These personality traits are better indicators of brake life expectancy than mileage.

TOM: But 13,000 is on the low side of the "brake replacement range." And it's our opinion that Honda and Acura brakes do wear out somewhat faster than other manufacturer's. The Integra could probably use heavier duty brakes, but a lighter duty foot on your part will do even more to extend the intervals between brake jobs.

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