Maintenance: Subaru Periodic Vehicle Maintenance Services:
Brake Pads, Shoes, Rotors and Drums:
Since it’s impossible to predict the life span of the brake friction materials, there are no specified replacement intervals for these parts. The maintenance schedule calls for inspection of all brake components during 30 month or 30,000 mile major services. As we mentioned in our Safety Inspection section, it’s possible to visually inspect the remaining pad thickness by sighting through the caliper inspection holes. A more precise method involves moving the caliper to get a clear shot at the pads. The Subaru service manual lists minimum pad thickness specs, as well as disc rotor run out limits.
Some Subaru models have drum brakes at the rear, while others have disk brakes. Minimum brake lining thickness as well as drum dimension specifications for drum brake models can be found in the vehicle service manual. Minimum rotor and pad thickness dimensions for rear disk models can also be found in the service manual.
Models equipped with rear disk brakes feature a drum brake setup inside the rear rotor that serves as the parking brake assembly. Remove the caliper, caliper bracket and rear brake pads to reach the parking brake assembly. Adjust the parking brake (to compensate for wear by turning of the parking brake star wheel adjuster. Rear drum brakes feature automatic adjusters.
While you’re working on inspecting the brakes, you’re right around the corner from another unpredictable maintenance item. Inspect the front and rear drive axle boots for deformation, damage or failure. While these are normally very long-lived, there’s no way of predicting what debris or other material might come in contact with and possibly damage the axle boots. If the boots are damaged, replace them with new ones.
Keep an eye on brake wear items during your regular maintenance inspections. If it appears unlikely that the vehicle will make it to the next inspection before the brakes are completely worn out, alert the owner. He’ll then have the option to have the work done now or during a return visit at a later date.