How much are brake pad replacements

How much are brake pad replacements

Brakes are the most basic and essential safety mechanism on your vehicle, with the very important job of stopping you from hurtling into the vehicle in front. They should be checked and maintained regularly to ensure they’re fit for purpose. 

If you’ve noticed any difference in the quality of your braking, or a new or unusual noise when using your brakes, it’s a good idea to get them looked at by a mechanic quickly and possibly replace them.  

How much do replacement brake pads and discs cost? 

The average cost of replacement brake pads and disc repair in the UK is £250.

The cost of the replacement can vary a lot based on the make and model of your car and location. 

Brake pad

The labour cost to replace brake pads

Changing just the brake pads on a vehicle involves less labour and fewer new parts than both discs and pads, so costs less, around £170 is average. 

Again, this depends significantly on what type of car you drive, performance and ultra-luxury cars typically have larger brakes, which cost more to replace. 

Brake pad replacement costs: 

  • Hatchback/city car: £150 - £180 
  • Large saloon/estate: £170 - £200 
  • SUV/4x4: £160 - £260 
  • Performance/luxury car: £160 - £400

Worried about the costs? With Bumper you could benefit from 0% interest car repair financing and pay for car repairs in instalments in easy-to-manage monthly payments.

What are brake pads? 

When you apply the brakes in your car, fluid is forced through the brake lines, to a hydraulic cylinder at each brake. The cylinder acts upon a brake pad, constructed of a steel plate with friction material bonded to it.  

The purpose of brake pads is to turn the energy stored in the momentum of your car into heat, in doing so the brake pads are worn away.  

Brake pads are made in such a way as to reduce wear on the brake discs themselves, as discs are more expensive to make and replace, whereas brake pads are small and relatively cheap. 

How do you tell if your brake pads need replacing? 

Unlike tyres, brake pads are hidden behind the wheels and inside the calliper, so it can be difficult to know exactly when they need replacing. Among the electrical sensors on modern cars, there are some signs your brakes need work, these include: 

Poor braking performance 

When your pads begin to stop braking effectively, get them checked as soon as possible, whilst worn pads are not the only cause of poor braking, they can easily cause this.  


Most brake pads have an in-built system for alerting the driver if the friction material wears too thin.  

A small metal piece is attached to the back of the metal part of the pad, that is specifically designed to vibrate and make a noise when the material wears down to a certain level.  

The noise is best described as a high-pitched squeak and will be best heard at low speeds. 

Electronic detection 

Most modern cars come equipped with a monitoring system that tells the driver via the infotainment system that the brake pads are running low.  

Sensors are embedded in the brake pad material, that when near the limit, send a signal through a wire that is plugged in when the brake pads are fitted. 

Some of these systems also require the computer to be reset when new pads are installed. Check that the mechanic you’re thinking about going to has the appropriate equipment to do this.

mechanic working on car

How often do brake pads need replacing? 

If you live in an area with a lot of slow-moving traffic or many hills, your brakes are likely to be used frequently, so you may want to get them checked often. Generally, the average brake pad will need replacing after 30,000 - 50,000 miles. 

If you’ve ever felt a judder, a squealing or screeching sound when you brake, this may be a sign you need to get your brakes inspected. 

Can you drive with worn-out brake pads? 

No, you shouldn’t drive with worn-out brake pads. As soon as you know your brake pads need to be replaced, you should drive no further than to your local mechanic. Not only is it dangerous, but it could also land you with a £100 fine and 3 points per fault - if both your front and rear brakes are faulty, that’s at least £400 and 12 points! 

Other than the obvious safety concerns, once your brake pads wear out, the steel backing plate will begin to contact the discs. If this happens the brake discs will quickly be ruined and need replacing as well as the pads. 

Can You Drive Without Brake Pads?

No, absolutely not. It is incredibly dangerous to drive without brake pads, as without them the braking system will fail. You will be putting yourself and others on the road at risk. As well as the safety issue, you will damage your car.

What does a worn brake pad sound like? 

As mentioned, many brakes come equipped with either an electronic or acoustic warning when the brake pads are wearing too thin.  

This will sound like a high-pitched squeal, most easily heard at low speeds, e.g. when approaching a junction. If you think you can hear this noise, try turning off the radio, winding the windows down and test-braking (where safe) to distinguish it from normal road noise. 

If your car isn’t fitted with these devices, however, your only way of telling is by inspection. Many garages will offer a free brake checking service.  

Forgetting to do this, and if an MOT is not due, your brakes will eventually make a scraping noise, this is the metal of the pad backing contacting the brake disc. If you can get to a garage straight away this may still be fixable without new discs.  

Is it OK to just replace the brake pads?

In lots of cases, parts need to be replaced in conjunction with others, such as when fitting new tyres; they should be replaced in pairs. Brake pads and discs are not quite the same. 

Because the brake pad is used as a consumable, the disc is protected from wear in the most part. Many sources say whilst brake pads should last 30,000 miles, brake discs should last a good bit longer. 

Therefore, as long as the discs are not too worn, and you’ve not allowed your pads to become worn down to the steel, thus damaging the discs, you are fine to only replace the pads. 

How can Bumper help with brake replacement costs? 

Bumper knows a large repair bill on your car is the last thing you want to spend your money on, but essential parts such as brakes are crucial for your safety. 

Look after your car and your bank balance by splitting the cost or repairs into monthly instalments, interest-free. 

Join the Bumper community and get access to the best care for you and your car. Choose a dependable dealership and split your repair bill into monthly chunks. 

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