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

stella loichot
stella loichot

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 week ago

Our family has been a client of Tom's since 2005 and we have never been disappointed. My husband does most of the work on our cars and we only bring them to the shop when he is stuck with something he can't do. At Tom's, not only do they always offer a menu of solutions to fit different budgets, but they have also provided advice regarding what my husband could do on his own, and we appreciate that very much.

Jody Dexter
Jody Dexter

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 months ago

Tom's automotive has very experienced, professional and friendly staff. As a female, I don't feel I can trust certain mechanics. The owner is female and I completely trust her advise. They gave me a list of what maintenance items needed to be completed but did not pressure to complete them at that time.

Elise Kloter
Elise Kloter

5 out of 5 stars

posted 3 weeks ago

I just love this place! They go above and beyond and never try to upsell. When I had a flat tire the night before my appointment, they dropped the tire off at Les Schwab (where I had bought it), picked it up, and put it on my car after servicing it. No extra charge. So important to have a place you trust, especially as a single woman. Thanks, Tom's!