Brake Pads & Rotors: Lifespan, Costs & Signs of Failure

Your brakes are acting weird. They’re shuddering, squealing, screeching—they’re just not working right. But is it your brake pads, brake rotors, or something else entirely? Here’s everything you need to know about your braking system, including brake component prices, symptoms of failure, and when to replace the pads and rotors.

Hyundai Brakes

Brakes: Typical Prices and Costs

How much does it cost to replace brake pads?

As with any auto repair, the price to replace old brake pads varies by shop, region, vehicle make, brake pad type, and several other factors. Some brake pads can be replaced for as little as $100 per axle; other braking pads for higher-end cars may cost upwards of $500 per axle.

Our customers can expect some of the lowest prices on Hyundai brake pads in Kansas City—including labor. Conveniently schedule your brake pad replacement online, and check out Hyundai service coupons for bargains on new brakes.

What’s the cost of replacement brake rotors?

Rotors should last longer than brake pads, and therefore typically cost more to replace. If you need both pads and brake rotors replaced, expect to pay at least double for the rotors. In some cases, when brake pads haven’t damaged the rotors significant, we can perform brake rotor resurfacing to extend the life of the brake system.

It’s in your best interest to have your vehicle serviced per your operator’s manual to avoid these added costs. A routine brake check and new brake pads are much cheaper than a total brake system replacement.

What other costs are associated with a brake job?

In addition to brake pads, brake rotors, and labor, repairing brakes may also require the purchase and installation of calipers, drums, wheel cylinders, hoses, linings, and any leaky brake lines. These are all potentially included in a complete brake job, though not always. It’s best to ask your auto service technicians what to expect with full brake replacement work.

Brakes: Signs & Symptoms of Failure

How do you know when you need new brake pads?

The usual signs of failing brake pads include low brake fluid (warning lights), skidding when coming to a stop, and the inability to stop abruptly. Additionally, you may notice the brake pedal feels soft/spongy, the vehicle pulling to the side, and the car vibrating or being generally hard to control when braking. There are all symptoms of bad brake pads or brake shoes.

How do you know when you need new brake rotors?

The most common sign of bad brake rotors: grinding, metal-on-metal sounds when you press the brakes. This is usually because your brake pads have worn down entirely, resulting in brake rivets gouging into the rotors themselves, warping or even snapping them. When you hear squeaking, it’s a sign that your brake pads are ready to fail. Once you hear the grinding sounds, however, a complete brake job is the only solution.

Is it dangerous to drive with worn brake pads or bad brake rotors?

Driving with worn brake pads is dangerous, but it can be done—if you realize the damage you’re causing to your entire braking system.

However, driving with bad brake rotors is absolutely dangerous and can lead to a fatal accident. These rotors aren’t able to disperse heat properly, which can lead to complete failure, overheating, and deep cracks or fractures in the metal. If this happens, the vehicle will suddenly be inoperable and may even flip.

Brakes: Lifespan & When to Replace

How long do brake pads last?

Brake pads used to need replacing every 7,500 miles. Modern technology has allowed for the manufacturing of brake pads that can last much longer. Most newer brake pads can go up to 25,000-plus miles before they need to be changed.

Brake pads on the new Hyundai Santa Fe, for instance, should be replaced every 20,000 to 25,000 miles. (Check your owner’s manual for the recommended brake pad replacement schedule.)

How long do brake rotors last?

Most people who buy new cars won’t need to replace their brake rotors until the 70,000-mile mark, if at all. Rotors are very capable of lasting more than 100,000 miles with proper brake inspections, maintenance, and brake pad changes.

When brake rotors are replaced, it’s advised to replace all of them and brake pads at the same time. This ensures they’re operating at peak efficiency from the get-go.

Why have my brake pads worn down so quickly?

Poor-quality brake pads will wear down faster than high-quality pads, but the most common reason for early brake failure is driver error. If you’re improperly using your pedals, by applying the brakes and accelerator at the same time, for instance, you’ll notice your brake pads will wear down faster.

Other common reasons include corroded slide pins, improperly installed brake rotors, torn pistons or piston seals, and defective pads. A good brake inspection can identify these issues early.


If you need Hyundai brake service in Olathe, come to our certified Hyundai service center. Contact our repair shop at 913-324-6266 to make an appointment for a brake replacement or inspection. Click here for directions to McCarthy Olathe Hyundai.