I have a doubt. Will the brakes wear out faster on light braking?
On heavy / hard braking, the tires stop faster, which means the brake pads are working for a lesser time.
Will this affect / increase brake life?

I know that the more we use, the brake wears more.

  • I think it's the same argument with "does going faster use less fuel because you are driving for less time?"
    – Adam
    Sep 11, 2014 at 7:33
  • 1
    Brakes transform kinetic energy variation (i.e. 0.5 x weight x square of final Vs initial speed difference) into heat. Heavy breaking requires higher heat dissipation, so more wear.
    – hornetbzz
    Nov 29, 2014 at 4:23

1 Answer 1


It's not time that wears the pads off, it's friction. Effect of friction increases with temperature. Braking itself causes brake components to heat up, and cooling of brakes is quite limited. Heavy braking causes lots of heat to build up for which there isn't enough time to dissipate, so the pads will be softer from heat and wear more. In more severe cases, the heated discs/drums might bend out of shape under the tension, or melted pad material may stick to them; the uneven surface will then cause more wear on subsequent braking attempts.

Heavy braking also increases chances the next vehicle will collide into yours. Even though your expenses might be covered, is all the trouble and wasted time really worth it?

Light braking has to be started earlier, so braking lights will light up earlier, giving fair advance warning to the driver behind, and lifting the foot from throttle earlier also helps in saving fuel - your engine will be revolving on cars kinetic energy (manifested through engine braking, which also takes some load off brakes) instead of burning fuel or batteries.

Quite often, when braking lightly well before a red light equipped with approaching vehicle sensors, the light will change just in time so that I don't even have to brake all the way to stop and then start off again, but instead can slide on just by slightly adding throttle again.

Economical driving should be striving for smoothness.

  • Yup, I don't brake hard while driving unless it is an emergency. I just wanted to clear the doubt though.
    – Rohith
    Sep 11, 2014 at 10:01
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    When you brake your car, its kinetic energy is converted to heat by the friction of pads on rotors(discs). The rate of this heating is increased by the amount of braking in a given time. Hard braking will 'wear' at a greater rate as the pad surface can and will evaporate. Race cars, heavy braking, have holes and grooves to allow this evaporation to escape. Sep 12, 2014 at 20:26

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