The brakes on your vehicle are critical and modern cars include more parts that can contribute to the way the system functions. Taking your vehicle to an auto brake service for maintenance and repair is essential, and the newer the car is, the more important it can be to find a shop specializing in brake systems.
Most cars do not have a specific brake service interval because the brake pads wear at different rates depending on the way you drive. The pads will begin to make noise and may exhibit signs of wear over time, but the best way to ensure that they are in good condition is to have them checked when you have your car serviced. Most auto brake service shops will do a brake system check free and then make recommendations for service or repair if it is needed. Pad wear is not the only concern with the brake system. Cars with disc brake systems need to have the brake rotors checked regularly as well.
Over time the rotors will wear and can thin out, develop ridges and valleys in the surface, or become too thick to operate correctly if they are neglected. The auto brake service should measure the thickness of the rotors each time they inspect the brakes and check them for uneven wear. The tech can replace the rotors if they are too thin or turn them on a lathe to resurface them if they are thick enough to allow removing some material from the surface. In either case, the tech working on the car can determine which option is needed.
The brake pads that come on your car from the factory are often semi-metallic pads because they contain friction material with a blend of metal powder in the pads to help reduce wear. Often the squealing people hear coming from the brake of their car is because of the metal in the pads, and while you can buy pads that do not have it in them, the metal can make a significant difference in the life of the pads and let you know when they need to be replaced.
Replacing the brake pads with the same pads that came on the car is pretty standard, but the auto brake service may recommend upgrading the brake pads on your vehicle if you are wearing them out quickly or spend a lot of time in traffic and need extra stopping power.
A ceramic brake pad is the next step up from semi-metallic pads and can endure heavy use better than the standard brake pad. There are performance pads available for many cars as well. Still, not every brake pad option will benefit your vehicle, so take the time to ask some questions and research the options if you are considering upgrading the brakes on your car. Visit an auto brake service and ask for their advice.