Normal Brake pad wear time in hilly areas?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Chet Shannon, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Chet Shannon

    Chet Shannon Guest

    I have a question for you about brake wear. I just had my rear brake
    pads replaced on 7/24/04. I live in San Francisco and it's very hilly
    here. I just had another servicing done on the car and I'm told the
    brake pads are now 80%. (This is on 10/2/04 a little over 2 months
    later.) Does this sound right that 20% of the brake pad has worn away
    in such a short amount of time? (It's a 1992 Honda civic SI.) I
    don't drive heavy on the breaks and probably only go on a hill like
    once a week.

    Chet Shannon, Oct 6, 2004
  2. Chet Shannon

    Seth Guest

    Time elapsed is meaningless. Miles is what counts. How many miles between
    the pads being replaced and the shop saying they are down to 80%?

    By don't drive heavy on the brakes, do you also mean you don't "ride the
    brakes"? Maybe the calipers aren't adjusted properly. Was it down to 80%
    on both inner and outer pads? Or just 1 or the other? If inner and outer
    are wearing differently it's possible your caliper slides are sticking.
    Seth, Oct 6, 2004
  3. Chet Shannon

    Bill Guest

    "Does this sound right that 20% of the brake pad has worn away
    Pads or shoes?
    Shoes will wear much faster than normal when first seating in since there
    are slight differences in radii between the shoes & drums. After that, the
    apparent wear will decrease.
    I wouldn't be suprised if pads did something similar.
    I wouldn't get too concerned yet. Just note the % wear next time they're
    checked to see if the high rate continues or not.
    Bill, Oct 6, 2004
  4. Chet Shannon

    JXStern Guest

    The estimate of percentage is very, very rough while they're still
    working, I've had percentages go down and *up* for a year or more.
    Just keep your eye on it at every checkup.

    JXStern, Oct 7, 2004
  5. Chet Shannon

    jim beam Guest

    i lived in sf until earlier this year, and had over 50k on the original
    pads. and i lived at the top of nob hill, so i had to deal with [steep]
    hills all the time.

    basically, pads last a good long time. and they have audible wear
    indicators for the real hard core misers out there that will only change
    at the last possible second. dealers otoh, especially sf honda, are
    just bandits. get a second opinion from an independent, or better yet,
    inspect the pads yourself.
    jim beam, Oct 7, 2004
  6. Chet Shannon

    Chet Shannon Guest

    Oh no more than 4000 miles elapsed on the brake job since this latest
    service check. The readings from the dealer on the report shows 8mm
    left front remaining, 8mm right front remaining. I believe they are
    referring to the pads. I gather the pads start out at 10mm. And I
    definitely don't ride the brakes.

    When I asked about 20% of the brakes depth disappearing in 2 months
    the service rep said "oh this city tears up brakes and tires" because
    my tires are 50% worn down in the 24,000 miles I've driven on them. I
    guess that's probably reasonable but the brakes wearing down 10% a
    month doesn't make sense to me.

    It makes even less sense since the brakes weren't wearing down that
    quickly in the year and a half that I've lived here (prior to the
    brake job) since at 10% a month I would have gone through almost two
    sets of brake pads and I haven't done that. If the trend continues at
    10% a month I'll have to check with the dealer again for something
    being wrong with their brake job.

    Chet Shannon, Oct 7, 2004
  7. Chet Shannon

    Seth Guest

    4000 is does sound like a short period to be 20% down. But you list left
    and right. There are 4 pads. Left inner and outer, right inner and outer.
    Is what you listed apply for all 4? Or just the outers on each side?
    Once again, ignore time, it's mileage. Maybe someone else will chime in
    here and say that pads wear more or less in the early or late part of their
    life and that half of a 2 month sample is not what they are going to do
    every month for life.
    But were you checking every 2 months before? Part of me says maybe they do
    wear quicker in the early stages cause they are thicker and maybe get a
    little more pressure, but I don't really know.

    Also, they may just be cheap pads. My first time changing brakes on my
    Accord I used pads from AutoZone. Those performed very poorly and squeaked
    like mad. I threw them out in under 5000 miles and replaced them with the
    Gold line from CarQuest.
    Seth, Oct 9, 2004
  8. Chet Shannon

    Caroline Guest

    It's driving habits. If the wear is unusual, is it unusual for the car to be
    driven in a hilly area? Has the car been driving in the city (more stops, so
    more braking) as opposed to on the highway? Has the driver of the car changed to
    someone who rides the brakes on the hills?

    In theory, one can drive from California to Florida and use the brakes once.

    On the other hand, one can drive a mile in the city and use the brakes several

    I can believe the pads wore at 10% a month with frequent San Francisco downtown
    Caroline, Oct 9, 2004
  9. Chet Shannon

    jim beam Guest

    Caroline wrote:
    i can't. some of the dealers in that town [sf honda] are absolute
    bandits. a friend of mine took his car in for service at 15k miles &
    they called him at work with a horror story about how his pads were down
    the the metal and how the vehicle was too dangerous to drive until
    fixed. so he gave them the go-ahead.

    unfortunately i was out of town at the time, so couldn't tell my friend
    that when i'd had his car to fix a busted door mirror, i'd rotated the
    tires & checked the pads. there was more than 80% present only 2 weeks
    before sf honda's little game.

    like i said, i had 50k of sf driving on my car, original pads, and that
    /included/ regularly doing the lombard st tourist thing when i had
    friends in from out of town.

    unless the o.p. does 100 miles a night with a dominos pizza delivery
    job, 10% is something of a stretch.
    jim beam, Oct 9, 2004
  10. Chet Shannon

    Caroline Guest

    Fair enough.

    I'll just throw in that the original pads on my 1991 Civic lasted only 43k miles
    and 1.75 years. Maybe two weeks of this was spent driving in mountainous areas.
    The rest of the driving was in very flat areas.
    Depends on driving habits.

    To the previous list, add: Is it a manual transmission where the driver often
    uses the engine to brake?

    I do agree that plenty of shops (dealer and otherwise) are into ripping off
    customers for brake pads. Checking brake pad thickness is not difficult, even
    for someone who has minimal mechanical experience. At the least, stick around
    the shop who's checking the pads and make the technician show you the brake pad
    thickness up close and personal.
    Caroline, Oct 9, 2004
  11. Chet Shannon

    jim beam Guest

    i think the '88-'91's has a softer pad material because the vacuum servo
    on my '89 is much smaller than my 2000 but the brake feels the same.
    both have 13/16" brake cylinders.
    that's a good point! mine's an auto, but it still engine brakes -
    programmed in depending on deceleration rate & initial speed.
    jim beam, Oct 9, 2004
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