If your car has disc brakes, you will at some point have to look at the condition of the wheels' brake discs. If you are the type of person who drives a lot in the city and wears on the brakes a lot, it is an especially good idea to have the brakes inspected.
When asking “How long do brake discs last?”, the rule of thumb is that after 80,000 to 120,000 miles traveled, a brake disc replacement may be needed. This is because the discs themselves are worn down over time by the brake pads pressing into the disc. In basically all cases of brake disc replacement, the brake pads are also replaced. This is because when you have separated the whole wheel anyway, you might as well put new pads on - and they are not very expensive either.
Therefore, you can easily expect that when you have to replace the brake discs, you get a complete replacement of brake pads and discs.
Read more about how the disc brakes work, further down.
Read more about how to diagnose brake problems in our blog post.
In short, disc brakes work by having a steel disc mounted on the inside of the wheel. As a clamp on one side of the disc, the brake caliper sits, while the brake pads are on the inside of the caliper. When you press the brake pedal, pressure applied through the brake system, which pushes the brake fluid into the brake caliper. When this happens, the brake pads are pressed against the disc. This is the hydraulic braking function and it provides a smooth braking.
Symptoms of when to change brake discs are e.g. when they change color - like a purple shade. This is a sign that the brake discs (like any steel material) have overheated. This will be the case, among other things, with aggressive driving, where braking is often and hard, but also when the coating on the brake pads is worn down.
Another symptom is that if your brake pads are worn down, it can cause a squeaky sound when you brake. It can wear the discs thin over time. As soon as you can see clear grooves or markings from the brake pads on the discs, you must have them replaced.
See our list of typical brake problems.
Most cars have disc brakes on all four wheels, while some cars just have them on the two front wheels. Then they will have drum brakes in the rear of the car. Therefore, when you need a brake disc replacement on your disc brakes, it is done in pairs. The spare part itself also comes in pairs.
So what do new brake pads and discs cost? The brake discs themselves vary in price but average price for a brake disc pair is £80-90, but more expensive for newer cars.
Do you need a replacement of a single set (and not on all four wheels), the price - including labour cost to change brake pads and discs - starts at £130 or £140 and goes upwards.
Read more in our blog post about how to let the brakes live longer. If you’re in doubt, ask your mechanic how to clean brake discs, which will definitely make them last longer.
You can also read our guide on how to change brake discs if you are considering doing the job yourself.
If you want to know which brake discs are best for your car, ask your mechanic. You should, however, pay particular attention to what your car is equipped with from the manufacturer. But it's also important to be sure of what you want to pay - whether you choose the standard model from Bosch or the expensive one from Brembo, it's up to you. However, we always recommend choosing quality products, as poor quality brake discs and pads are worn down easily and may cause damage.
If you need to change the brake pads and discs, you can also investigate whether to get perforated brake discs on the wheels. The evenly distributed air holes in the disc make the friction when braking smaller so that the discs do not become as hot as ordinary discs. When the airflow is higher, the car also brakes better.
In addition, you can also get coated brake discs which have an extra coating on the discs to protect against rust. However, they do not protect where the brake pads press on the discs, and the coating also slowly wears off.
|Make||Compare and save*||You save on average*||Ratings|
Get an air con service and optimal cooling. Right now from only £50*. The system is checked for leaks and your refrigerant will be refilled. Get instant quotes and see your price!
Get a complete service with a stamp in accordance with the manufacturer’s and dealer's specifications. You can save on avg. £94* by comparing quotes with Autobutler.
Get a interim service and keep your car running smoothly. Right now from only £70*. Includes oil and oil filter replacement, re-filling of up to 4 litres of engine oil and a complete review of your car based on a 46 visual checkpoints.
Order oil change online and save money! Right now from only £60*. Includes re-filling of up to 4 litres of engine oil and oil filter replacement. Get instant quotes and see your price.