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

Katie Melton
Katie Melton

5 out of 5 stars

posted 4 days ago

I have nothing but good things to say about Tom's Auto! I had stopped by before and they helped with my windshield wipers, free of charge and without having been a paying customer before. That's just one example of many--they are incredibly professional, friendly and trustworthy, and they've 100% earned my business for life. They seem to genuinely want to help their clients, and to educate them on the problems. I've NEVER had a report with photos from any car-related company...ever! I love that I found a local business I can support, that I can trust and that's only a few minutes away 🙂 Thank you!

aliyah a
aliyah a

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 week ago

My car is older, a 2005 PT Cruiser and from what I was told by a previous mechanic not the easiest to work on. Tom's has kept it running very good since I started taking it there, much better than before. The professionalism and customer service are top notch as well. Never had one interaction that I could say was off or bad. And I love the lockbox option for your key if you have to pick up your vehicle after hours. I've lost my back up key so the lockbox was a lifesaver. Call or email them when you need something done. You'll be happy you did.

Lawrence Reid
Lawrence Reid

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 days ago

They were really great with their Covid set up/ distancing and cleaning measures as well as great communicating with me. Great experience all around.