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Old 12-11-2001, 03:24 PM
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brake pad wear

Searched the archives, couldn't find any answer - do the brake pads wear faster if you brake harder for short periods of time, or if you brake softly over longer distances? I.e., to stop from say 30 mph to zero, you could do it either over a short distance by braking harder, or braking gradually over a longer distance. In one case, the pads are rubbing against the rotors longer, but with a lower pressure. In the other case, the pads rub for a shorter time, but with more force.

I am keen to know what implications pure braking habits have on brake pad wear - of course, driving habits affect it as well, like speeding up more, etc etc.

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Old 12-11-2001, 04:59 PM
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I am also interested in this topic

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Old 12-11-2001, 05:40 PM
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I would have to say that the brake wear would probably be about the same because the brakes have to do the same amount of total work to stop the car.

The brake temps will definitely be exactly the same.
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Old 12-11-2001, 06:09 PM
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Heat is the KEY to wear! The longer you keep pressure on the pads the hotter they will get. Short hard braking will warp rotors but pad wear isn't as bad. People that RIDDDDDDDE their brakes wear pads very quickly. Have seen worn out pads in as little as 5,000 miles.
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Old 12-11-2001, 09:55 PM
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Short burst and anticipated stops

Greetings All,

Don't we all wish for the answer to this, but a lot depends on driving habits, somewhat like fuel economy. If you know you're gonna stop at the next stop sign and the speed limit is 45mph and it's two blocks down the road, then don't wait until you're 500 feet away to figure out you're gonna have to stop. The same goes for down grades that you know will end with a stop sign. Don't ride the brakes all the way down the hill, downshift the engine to third gear to aid in the braking action of the engine. I can't say I've ever changed brake pads on any vehicle I've own in less than 60,000 miles or more simply by not applying the brakes, less emergency stops like the deer that runs across the road. It's all a matter of anticipation of stops and keeping your foot off the brake while driving. If you're driving is mainly city driving this mileage will decrease drastically. It also helps to know that your brakes aren't dragging because there's air trapped in the system, check that one every six months or so.

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Old 12-12-2001, 12:55 PM
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Charles, I fully agree with you. Anticipating stops and using the engine to control speed can reduce braking requirements to at least less than half. I have had the current pads on my car for 24K miles, and its all city driving. But even if you do that, whenever you do use the brakes, you can choose to do one of these two things - short hard braking, or long soft braking. MBDoc's answers seems to imply that there's a trade off - short hard braking is better for pads, but bad for rotors, long soft braking is bad for pads, good for rotors.

Does everyone agree?

thanks anyway.
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Old 12-12-2001, 08:41 PM
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MBdoc is pretty much on target


I think he was showing the heat build-up during hard stops verses drawn out pedal action giving the rotors time to cool as you release the brakes. I think either way if you can manage to keep your foot off the brake except when needed, they're going to last. I just hate following anyone who rides the brakes cresting a hill, then braking down each hill. Heaven forbid if we exceed the speed limit by 10mph on a down grade, let's waste the brakes.
Constant hard braking has a tendency to warp rotors as the heat can't dissipate quick enough.

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Old 12-12-2001, 09:58 PM
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Yea, if you just look at what causes your brakes to wear down, you will find your answers. Its heat. So, considering that when you apply brake force, your car has to turn 3300 pounds of kinetic energy into heat, its no surprise your pads carbonize and deteriorate and your rotors can get warped. In the case of the rotors, I think they will only start warping under repeated stress or prolonged exposure, such as a good 3-4 hour le mans style driving run, or going down pike's peak with your brakes on. As far as normal driving conditions are concerned, it would'nt matter if you hold the brakes for a while or slam them hard all at once, the net effect is that you are taking your car, going at 60 miles an hour, and converting all of its kinetic energy into heat, and this amount of heat is the same whether you brake hard or soft over a longer distance. The one downside to braking hard is that if the rotors aren't strong enough, you might be able to impart enough heat at a high enough rate that the rotor will start getting soft, which then causes rotor warpage. I like to think, however, that Mercedes designed their rotors to be strong enough to take anything normal and even spirited driving can throw at them.
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