Whilst brakes aren’t the most expensive things you will need to replace on your Ford F150, you can get through them quite rapidly. The costs will soon mount up, so it can be economic if you can extend your F150 brake life.
Making changes to your driving, choosing the right type of brakes for you, and general maintenance only really go so far when it comes to ways you can extend the life on your brakes and rotors.
There are other ways to make your F150 brakes last longer in addition to this that I am going to share with you today. In short, by using a combination of driving techniques and load maintenance, brake life on your F150 can be extended.
How to make a Ford F150’s brakes last longer
As much as road conditions, weather, and traffic are out of your control when it comes to F150 brake wear, concentrating on how you drive and what you haul can mean a world of difference to your brakes.
I’ve compiled a list of 7 ways that you can extend brake life. They are:
- Stop slower
- Tow lower weights
- Increase follow distance
- Don’t drive with two feet
- Use recommended brakes
- Drive slower
- Flush brake fluid
By following these simple rules, you can extend your F150 brake life.
1. Stop slower
In our busy everyday lives, we are in a constant state of motion. When we hurry, we neglect to give your F150’s brakes proper cooling time which means the brake pads wear down quicker.
If you know your stop is approaching slow down well before you normally would and give the braking system every inch it needs to safely stop your Ford F150.
2. Tow lower weights
For trucks like the F150, many owners will use them for towing (here’s what the maximum tow capacities are).
When traveling long distances remove excess weight from the bed and trailer if applicable. Lightening the load saves valuable heat exchange from destroying the your F150’s brake pads.
3. Increase follow distance
We can’t control how much traffic there is, but we can sometimes control how much time we have to stop our F150. Allow a larger than normal distance when following in traffic.
If the driver ahead is forced to stop quickly the extra distance saves wear and warping of your brakes and rotors.
4. Don’t drive with two feet
One of the holdovers of the first generation of drivers is the need to drive with both feet. When cars came with a clutch two feet driving was essential.
To save wear on your F150 brakes, making them last longer, keep your left foot off and use the right foot only.
5. Use recommended brakes
Your user manual in the glovebox will give you the factory recommended brake for longer life. It is a good idea to read the manual to understand what works and doesn’t in your F150.
Whilst it might be tempting to choose a cheap option, never go cheap with your brakes, rotors and pads.
6. Drive slower
This is a no brainer. If you build up friction on the brake pads by speeding, you place an undue hardship on your brakes.
Driving the speed limit not only keeps you and the drivers around you safer, but it also increases the life and functionality of your F150.
7. Flush brake fluid
Flushing the brake fluid on a regular basis will extend the life of your brakes. Over time the fluid could leak and force air into your brake’s lines. Air pockets can lead to unsafe usage in your braking system.
Replacing the fluid on a regular basis protects against brake failure.
How many miles do F150 brakes last?
While the actual mileage of brakes is up for debate, Ford F150 brakes last from anywhere between 25,000 and 75,000 miles. The wear and tear that your F150 brakes undergo will be mostly dependent on the driver.
Expect to get 25,000 to 70,000 miles out of your Ford F150’s brakes but be prepared that you might have to settle for less!
When to replace your F150’s brakes?
When it comes to replacing your F150 brakes how will you know when it is time? There are eight things to look for when you think it is time to replace your brakes.
- Brake light is on
- Noises from brakes
- Scrubbing when braking
- Fluid loss
- Sluggish brake pedal
- Burning smell
- Truck pulls
- Brakes jump during braking
1. Brake light is on
If the Check Brake light inside your instrument cluster is on you should have them checked out.
The innovation of computer-aided software to alert drivers of possible problems is one of the automotive industry’s greatest achievements.
2. Noises from braking
When you pull to a stop are your F150’s brakes making screeching or metal on metal noise? If so, you should take a look at them.
The brake pads wear away and the sound of metal on metal is a great indicator that something is amiss.
3. Scrubbing when braking
During braking, if the wheel jumps up and down you likely have a scrubbing problem. When the brake pad wears it forces excess pressure on the rotor.
Uneven metal on rotors causes the vibration you feel when you brake.
4. Fluid loss
Hydraulic pressure loss from lack of fluid is not too serious an issue. The reservoir under the hood could have run dry or there could be a leak in your lines.
Either way, having it checked out wouldn’t be a bad idea.
5. Sluggish brake pedal
Nothing can be as scary as pushing the brake pedal and nothing happening. When this happens it could be an overheating of pads or loss of fluid pressure.
Taking your Ford F150 in to be serviced is critical if you experience a sluggish brake pedal.
6. Burning smell
If there is an acrid burning smell when you apply the brake it is best to pull over immediately. If the smell is powerful enough to reach you in the cab, it’s always bad news.
It’s most likely an overheated clutch or brake and too much heat will make your brakes useless.
7. Truck pulls
Pulling to the left or right is a sure-fire sign of brake wear. As bumps and jolts make tiny changes to your suspension, they also affect your brake system.
See your Ford dealer and have the necessary adjustments repaired.
8. Brakes jump during braking
Like scrubbing, jumping indicates that there are problems with the brakes and rotors.
Neglecting to have this fixed can lead to suspension issues and a slew of other undercarriage problems.
Recommended brake pads for the F150
When it comes to selecting the best brakes for your F150 it’s good to have some options. So, I compiled my top 5 picks for F150 brake pads.
- Bosch BC1414 Quietcast (view on Amazon): Bosch is well known for making quality tools and auto parts. The BC1414 Quietcast are some of the most reliable pads on the market. Reliability is a big thing if your truck hauls your tools, crew, and family.
- American Black ABD1414C (view on Amazon): Using a specific molding process that ensures higher compressibility makes the brakes a great option for your truck. The extra layers of rubber padding decrease noise and keep out hazardous road materials.
- Bosch BP1012 Quietcast – Semi-Metallic (view on Amazon): – As a straight-up bargain it is hard to beat these semi-metallic pads. They fell so far on my list because they are metallic as opposed to the higher-performing ceramic versions.
- PowerStop Z36-1414 (view on Amazon: The ceramic material withstands higher heat ranges making them able to stop your daily driver or off-road toy with ease.
- Power Stop K6268-36 (view on Amazon): – Having stainless steel wedges inside the rotor mechanism makes this set perform as well as any other. Power Stop produces this brake system for heavy hauling and towing.
Which is better: Ceramic vs metallic brake pads?
Knowing which kinds of brakes to pick can be a hard choice. The brake pad industry has become a mash-up of ceramic and metallic brakes forged and molded for more and more specific jobs. I took the time to give the pros and cons of each below.
Ceramic brake pads
Ceramic brake pads are made from a material that is related to dishes. The high temp ceramic used to create brake pads is much quieter than their semi-metallic counterpart.
The ability to withstand these high temps is what makes them perform so well.
- High Performance
- No sticky brake dust
- Last longer
- More expensive
- Might not fit your truck
- Less warranty
Semi-metallic brake pads
These are your traditional brake pads. A soft metal pad attached to a caliper and situated between the wheel and the rotor. They can last much longer and be cheaper than their counterpart.
Semi-Metallic brake pads also leave a fine dusting of magnetic dust that can stick to your wheels.
- Longer Lasting
- Normally come with a warranty
- Tough on rotors
The new contender
As the speed of innovation catches up with production, we see a distinct incline in the performance of a product. A highly visible product of this innovation is the melding of several types of metal into a brake pad that performs at the highest level.
Carbon metallic brake pads are a blending of ceramics and metallics and boast a much higher performance ratio. If you have a lifted truck or a high-performance race car parked in the garage at home, you might want to check them out.
Rotors: The brakes right hand
All of the above would be for nothing without something to slow the inertia of the other moving pieces.
“Brake rotors (they’re also called brake discs) are what your vehicle’s brake pads clamp down on to stop the wheels from spinning.”
It can’t be more elegantly stated than that. Having great brake pads would be nothing if it weren’t for good rotors – and here’s how you can turn or replace them on an F150.
Drilled brake rotors
Drilled Brake rotors are just what they sound like. Rotors with holes drilled in them. The holes create space for:
- heat dispersal
- provide an exit for water
- release stored gases.
The last one is a problem in older trucks but an asset nevertheless.
Drilled brake rotors have a dark side and the holes are a major contributor. Over time, the rotors wear faster because there is less surface material and thus less metal to wear away.
Slotted brake rotors
The slots in these rotors act like trenches to remove excess heat and gas away from the wheel. These are the preferred type of rotors for high-performance racing. They cool very well while still maintaining the integrity that you don’t get in their drilled competitor.
The slotted rotor is a monster on brake pads. It eats them up pretty fast and that’s something to watch for.
Truck brake rotors
It should be no surprise that trucks require larger brakes and rotors.
The ultimate downside to the extra power equation is extra wear. Brake pads for larger and lifted trucks are going to burn up more pads. It is a trade-off.
Top 5 brake rotors
All this talking about rotors has me reeling thinking about all the cool options that are out there for your truck. Here are the top 5 rotors and where you can buy them.
- Raybestos 680404R (view on Amazon): A company with as many sales as Raybestos has to make a quality product. Their brake rotor line has been in production for at least the last 3 decades and it boasts great power and performance.
- Power Stop Z23 Evolution (view on Amazon): It makes sense that the highest-rated brake would also have an accompanying rotor system. Combined with the Z36 brake pad these rotors will give your car the safe and high performance feeling you deserve.
- Wagner Premium E-Coated (view on Amazon): Improved surface area and coated with a high-tech polymer that reduces heat the E-Coated rotors are no slouch. A definite benefit is a design that allows for faster heat removal and more efficient usage.
- AC Delco NonCoated (view on Amazon): Some things are made to last. AC Delco’s non-coated brake pad is one of those things. The pad has been around since before I was crawling under my dad’s toolbox.
- Bosch Quietcast (view on Amazon): I’m a big fan of these ultra-quiet rotors and what they can do for your car. Along with the Quietcast pads, these rotors make for a stand-up duo that outside of Batman and Robin are hard to beat.
And lastly, if your F150 brakes haven’t lasted as long as you would want and it’s time to replsce them, then here’s a very quick guide. It’s an easy job to undertake is replacing the brakes yourself. By following the instructions, and watching the attached link, you can spend a few hours and make those squeals and squeaks in your brakes subside.
- Loosen lug nuts on the wheel: Using your lug wrench loosen the bolts of the tire on the brake you wish to replace. Don’t be afraid to use some extra force as bolts can become impacted by dust and debris.
- Jack up the car: Once the car is on a level ground jack up the car just high enough to remove the tire. It isn’t smart to jack a car up on the uneven ground. A shifting jack could lead to serious injury or death.
- Remove tire: Finish unscrewing the lug nuts and remove the tire. By now they should be easy enough to remove with your fingers. Place them in an area close beside each other to keep track of them.
- Remove caliper bolts: Find the caliper and remove the bolts that are located in the center. A screwdriver can remove the tiny bolts which should be set aside in case the replacement caliper bolts are missing.
- Remove the caliper: The caliper should be free of the rotor. The brake line will still be attached. Take care to not crimp or cut the line. Check for leaks and excess fluid.
- Remove old brake pads: Pry the old brake pads away from the rotor and replace them with your new set. They should click into place just as the last set.
- Compress the caliper: Using a large C clamp apply pressure to caliper. This creates pressure in the brake line and prevents sluggish pedal.
- Replace the caliper: Replace the caliper in the original position. Tighten the bolts located in the center of the caliper.
- Adjust the rotor: There could always be some lining up to do before you can fully tighten the bolts. Make the proper adjustments before moving on.
- Replace the tire: With the caliper back in place, you can put the tire back on the rotor and loosely apply the lugs.
- Lower the truck: Lower the jack and place all the pressure back on the wheels. With the excess weight of the car off the jack use the tire tool to tighten the lugs.
- Test the brakes: Firmly press the brake several times to force pressure back into the brake lines. Applying the pressure to the caliper earlier only primed the brake fluid. Once you have all parts back in place you must test the brakes.
- Brake fluid: Now is the best time to refill the brake reservoir and check for leakage.
So there you have it, some tips on how to make your Ford F150’s brake last longer, with a little detail on how your long F150 brake pads should last too!
You might also like this guide that explains how you can make your F150 go faster.