You’ve probably seen movies or read books where the hero’s brakes are cut in a devious plot to cause a deadly accident.

In real life, the odds that your brakes are going to be intentionally disconnected are astronomically low. However, this does point out just how dangerous a car without brakes can be.

To this end, it’s worth noting that brakes wear out with time. Drivers often neglect to do proper maintenance, and this can lead to malfunctions and breakdowns at high speeds, putting them and others in danger.

So, how often should your brakes be replaced? This is a tricky question, because it all depends on how fast the brake pads wear down.

Say you want to replace them when they get around 25 percent. If you live in the country and often drive miles and miles without touching the brakes, you could get a lot farther than someone who lives in the city and has to hit the brakes for a stoplight every 100 yards.

If you drive in the mountains a lot, you may need to replace the brakes sooner because you’re lightly using them to control your speed constantly, whereas drivers at lower elevations may just let the car coast to slow down more often.

The key is simply to check the pads frequently. Some recommend having this done every six months, when you have your tires rotated. This way, you know when the pads are wearing down and you can replace them before there are performance issues.

Taking good care of your own vehicle is a great start, but it doesn’t fully protect you from danger. If another driver neglects to do proper maintenance and causes an accident in an unsafe vehicle, be sure you know what options you have to seek compensation for your injuries.

Source: Cars, “When Do You Need to Replace Your Brakes?,” Rick Popely, accessed Sep. 14, 2017