How often brake pads should be changed depends on many different conditions. There is no set time frame or amount of mileage that can determine when to change the brake pads. A person who drives a smaller compact car, mostly on freeways, will not have the same amount of wear as a person driving a larger vehicle in busy stop and go city traffic. Another factor that affects how often you will need to change your brake pads is whether the car is manual transmission or automatic transmission. Those driving an automatic transmission vehicle will have to get their brake pads replaced more frequently than those who are in a manual transmission vehicle. That being so, it is important to get your brake pads checked for wear every 15,000 miles or so, depending on the type of driving situations you are in.
It is better to get the brake pads checked more often that to risk the chances of creating unnecessary damage to your vehicle. If the brake pads wear down to nothing, then there will be metal on metal contact which in the long run will ruin your rotors and end up costing you more money than you would have planned on spending.
If you do not want to take your vehicle in to an auto shop to get the brake pads checked out, you can always perform an inspection at home. The simple process will first include the removal of the wheels from the car. Once you have removed the wheels you will need to inspect the caliper where the brake pads are located. A good rule of thumb is that if it is about 2/8 of an inch, then your pads will most likely need to get replaced. You can also tell if the brake pads need to get replaced by the type of noise your vehicle will make when you hit the brakes. If your vehicle omits a squealing noise, take note that that is its way of telling you it is time to take it in for brake pad replacement. If you ignore the noise and do not take your vehicle in, further damage will occur.
As long as you keep notice for the signs your vehicle is giving you, and for the amount and conditions of driving that you partake in, you will know when it is time to get your brake pads replaced.