Recently I serviced my 2002 Forester at the dealership shop. I was told that the brake pads have 2mm left on them, and they recommended replacing the pads and the rotors (disks).

I normally tend to be gentle on my brakes, and they usually last for a fair amount of miles. My questions are:

  1. How many more miles can I expect from these pads?
  2. Is it really necessary to replace the rotors as well when the pads are consumed?

2 Answers 2


2mm of friction material is not much. I would suggest you change the pads as they have. They may last a bit longer, but at what point are they going to go metal-on-metal and greatly reduce your stopping ability? At any point, the last little bit may flake off and cause this situation. It could run for 5000 miles or it could last 5 miles? Are you willing to risk your safety and the safety of your passengers?

As for your rotors, it all depends on the condition of the rotor. It should, however, be either replaced or resurfaced. Considering you can get brand new rotors for a little more than what resurfacing would cost, I almost always suggest people should just get new ones.

  • 1
    I agree with the replace rather than resurface philosophy. Modern rotors that are resurfaced (even if thicker than the minimum spec) tend to be so thin that they warp before the new pads are due for replacement.
    – mikes
    Apr 23, 2014 at 20:11

Paulster2 offers sound advice when he says the pads need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

I recently took a picture when I performed a brake pad swap that offers a stark comparison of what you could be missing out on.

The new pads for my BMW measured 10mm at the thickest part. The old pads were roughly 2mm, thin enough to cause my brake pad wear sensor to fail (note: not every car has a brake pad wear sensor).

New vs Old Brake Pads

The need to replace rotors depends on the condition of the rotor surface.

  • That looks even more than 2mm to me, though I can't really judge. 2mm is not a lot of meat. Your's doesn't have much meat that's for sure :D Very good image detail there. Apr 24, 2014 at 21:38
  • @Paulster2 : It's definitely 2mm. You can see it from a few more angles in this YouTube DIY video: youtu.be/hGdCv3Xs0Tw
    – Zaid
    Apr 25, 2014 at 2:04

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