Brakes, Pads, Rotors… More to know about maintaining your vehicle

Go somewhere else if you hear this:

We have heard that some customers have initially gotten quotes elsewhere to get their brakes checked. The thing is, they heard this dreaded phrase, “You need everything replaced.” Which is why they made a smart decision and found us.

“Everything”, in the dreaded phrase, means, calipers, rotors, pads, shoes, the lot. You may hear that you “need” the whole enchilada, which also means a steep auto repair fee is in your very near future. But only if you choose to proceed with that service.

Brake parts usually don’t wear out all at the same time

We don’t suggest that an entire brake system be replaced in a vehicle, unless it is absolutely needed. If, in the rare occurrence that IS the case, we’ll also be recommending that you take a look at other systems and determine how much longer you’d like to keep the vehicle too. 

We look at every car very specifically and we’re able to advise when you need pads, when you need, or may need, rotors replaced or when you need shoes. We don’t just talk about brakes as though there aren’t specific elements to maintain throughout. The wear (and needed repair) on your brakes depends a little bit on how you drive, by the way.

How often should I get my brakes checked?

How often should somebody be checking their brakes? Depends at least a little on your driving habits. 

We had a customer who wore his brake pads out in 3000 miles because he drove nearly 100% of the time with one foot on the brake pedal. Constant wear all the time. 

So if you’re driving up and down hills through downtown Seattle or First Hill, they’re going to wear away faster than if you’re driving more often on flat ground. Stop and go traffic, freeway vs. no freeway, these are some of the variables that make an impact on your brake’s wear, but there’s really no one-size-fits-all, unfortunately. 

This is why we take a good look at each car specifically. 

Brake wear recommendations

Still, there are a few things we can be specific about here. 

We do generally recommend that brake pads get replaced when there is about 20% wear left on them. You can do it when you have less than 20%, but we don’t advise it. 

We’ve heard that some local shops are recommending replacement with 30% left, and feel that is a waste. It might be helpful to hear at 30% that brake pad replacement should be coming soon, but there is still plenty of good wear at 30%.

Let’s talk specifics about your vehicle’s brakes at your next appointment. 

Schedule your next service today.

Our Reviews

Tom's Automotive Service
Reviewed from Google

4.7 out of 5 stars

Vanessa Rawlings
Vanessa Rawlings

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

These guys know how to treat their customers. My car had a weird ABS problem and Tracy and the team knew exactly how to handle it. Very flexible with my schedule and we’re so informative and knowledgeable. They were honest about pricing and very realistic about my car’s issue. Thank you for the outstanding care I will be back no question. Although hopefully not that soon ha ha!

Christine Cranston
Christine Cranston

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

I tried Tom's after years with another shop. The other shop's service had deteriorated over time and I could no longer trust them to do the right thing for my car and for me. The Tom's Automotive Service team is warm, friendly and most importantly, competent and honest. They first did an assessment of the car. Then, I got a call with each needed improvement estimated and prioritized. Now, that the car is fixed, it drives SO much better. It's a 2006 Honda CRV with lots of pep and strength. I will go to Tom's again. It's great to find such high quality car services in West Seattle (my own neighborhood). Thank you!

Charmaine Richardson
Charmaine Richardson

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 week ago

What a great team at Tom's, they are so nice and keep me informed of everything as we go. I trust their advice and they treat my car as if it were their own. Such a great group of people.