There are several variables that go into how long the brake pads on your car will last. It depends on your driving style, weight of the car, freeway driving versus city driving and the area you live in. Manufacturers of brake pads give a range anywhere from 25,000 to 75,000 miles and some vehicles can get as much as 100,000 miles before the brake pads need to be replaced. Brake pads are not all made of the same material, there are metallic, semi-metallic, organic and synthetic pads available. Each material has its own characteristics that contribute to the life of the brake pad. Below is a description of the different brake pads available.
Metallic – This pad is made of a variety of pressure bonded metals and was once the number one choice in race vehicles. New technological advances in other brake materials has made the metallic pads obsolete.
Semi-Metallic – This brake pad is a mix of organic materials along with various metals ranging from copper, iron and steel. This pad is more resistant to heat and has a harder surface.
Organic – This pad is made from non metallic fibers that are bonded into a composite material. The composite material is treated with powdered metals, graphite and other friction modifiers which transfer heat and reduce noise.
Synthetic – the synthetic pad is sometimes called the ceramic pad. These pads are made from fiberglass, nonmetallic and non organic materials. They weigh less than half of a standard pad, are more durable, last longer and withstand heat and cold which offers better stopping power.
Out of the above brake pad materials it has been found that the organic pads have the best stopping power, but having good stopping power is going to wear you pads down quicker. The semi-metallic and synthetic pads come on most cars today, they last longer and work well in most driving conditions.