Brakes in German and European cars involve more than one part – instead, there are typically two main elements that do receive the majority of the wear and tear over the lifetime of your vehicle. These two parts are the brake rotors and brake pads.
Brake rotors and brake pads work together to perform the essential function that you don’t even think about when you hit the brake pedal.
Brake Rotors Versus Brake Pads
Even though both brake rotors and pads work together, both parts play a different role in the stopping and slowing of your vehicle.
Sometimes called brake discs, brake rotors are attached to each wheel of your vehicle and are the disc that the brake pads clamp down on in order to stop the wheels from turning. Brake rotors are specific to the type of car that you drive.
Brake pads are the auto parts that, when the brake pedal is pressed, clamp down of the brake rotor to apply pressure and friction. This pressure and friction stop the wheel from turning, which stops your vehicle. Just like rotors, brake pads are specific to the make and model of your European vehicle.
Even though every vehicle will require brake pad and rotor servicing, your driving habits play a factor in the longevity of the parts.
Are Rotors and Pads a Package Deal?
When it comes to maintenance, it might seem a little off that your mechanic recommends that both the brake pads and the brake rotors need to be replaced. But, is this normal? What’s the best way to service your brake pads and rotors?
Many professionals and mechanics would recommend that both elements of the brake system be replaced at the same time, but occasionally the owner may be able to just replace the brake pads without the rotor if the rotor isn’t showing as much wear and tear.
Besides maintenance efficiency, replacing both brake pads and rotors can increase the performance and longevity of your vehicle’s braking system. Brake rotors affect the way that your brake pads perform and wear over time. Some vehicle owners that have only replaced the brake pads and had kept the existing rotors experienced uneven wear on their brake pads afterwards, causing the need to replace the pads and rotors prematurely. If a mechanic does recommend that you stay with your existing brake rotors, it’s wise to ensure that he has checked the evenness of each brake rotor to avoid uneven wear.
This does mean, as well, that the brake rotors will have to be replaced in the future and likely before the brake pads need to be replaced. This means more time in the shop, so it can sometimes be more economical and efficient to replace all parts at the same time to avoid extra costs and time away from your daily routine.
The best advice is the advice that you get from an experienced car mechanic that you trust. Once you’ve started a relationship with your mechanic, he or she will be able to take a look at your vehicle specifically and provide the best recommendation for maintenance with your best interest in mind.
Routine Brake Servicing
The functions behind both the brake pedal and the gas pedal get used every moment that you are driving, which means that your brakes need to be serviced on a regular basis. Since the entire performance of the brake system is based on pressure and friction, this severe and regular amount of wear leads to the need to routinely replace it.
Depending on your driving habits and the kind of driving that you do (city versus highway), your brake pads typically should be replaced after about 50,000 miles, even earlier such as after 25,000 miles. The frequency of your brake servicing depends on a variety of factors, including your car’s specific needs as outlined in the user manual or determined by your trusted car mechanic.
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