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

Bree Fealy
Bree Fealy

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

I went to Tom's yesterday to get my car diagnosed and it was a great experience. First, they were all booked with appointments but they still said to come by and they would try and get me in. Within 10 minutes, they informed me what the issue could be, looked up the warranty on my car and instructed me on how to talk to the dealership to get the issue fixed. I was impressed by the genuine care and empathy I received and I will definitely go back if I have another issue.

Amrakx Mark
Amrakx Mark

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 days ago

It is with pleasure that I share my experience with Tom’s Automotive in West Seattle. In expedited response to the service engine light indicator I drove to their reliable and expert shop. They were kind enough to take the time to read the codes and source the issue to low radiator fluid. I had just had BMW Seattle perform an oil service and complete top off of fluids a few days ago, which they obviously failed to do! Obviously I was unable to schedule the oil service with Tom’s due to my schedule. Tom’s Automotive service to the rescue! They are simply the BEST at what they do!

sam brenner
sam brenner

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 month ago

I had a snag on my latch to open my car hood and John at Toms was very helpful at fixing the problem. He also graciously replaced both of my headlight bulbs while he checked to make sure everything was good to go! Awesome service and will be taking my business to Tom’s from now on.