I’ve discovered in my parts box some rim brake pads that have been there for several years. Aside from age, they are in fine shape (some are new). Can I put these on my bike, or is there hidden damage?

In other words, how long do stored rim brake pads remain safe?

  • 1
    I would guess that brake pads, still in their package and not exposed to sunlight, petroleum fumes, et al, should be good for 10 years at least. Varies a little with the composition of the pad. Tossed into a spare parts bin with old oily clusters, etc, they would be a bit more suspect. Jul 15, 2012 at 18:46
  • I've seen bikes come into the shop from the 70s and 80s with period brake pads that did a decent enough job of stopping the bike. Jul 16, 2012 at 2:38

4 Answers 4


I have already bought some pads that the LBS had for more than 4 years, and they work perfectly. I think the specific compounds from which brake pads (and tires, most probably) is not prone to self-degeneration if stored in a "normal" environment.

So, the suggestion would be to take a ride and check if the pads brake well. If so, use normally.


Indefinitely. Do inspect them. Some poorly made ones can get hard or brittle. I've only seen than on mounted (unused) pads though, which are more subject to oxidation/sun/contamination etc.


I wouldn't worry about the viability of old brake pads, unless there is something obviously wrong with them.

  • Welcome to Bicycles SE. We typically ask that answers have more detail. Please consider adding support behind your reasoning, i.e., why the OP need not worry.
    – jimchristie
    Sep 3, 2014 at 23:08

answer from a pro, brake pads for rims do age, having said that you can still use them, but your braking power will be just less, having to squeeze the brake handle way harder, so advise to parents with young kids, get them fresh pads on that old bike, they are cheap enough, Also if you have expensive light metal or composite rims, be aware that hardened brake pads can actually slightly damage the surface from the rim.

  • Hi, welcome to bicycles. The question wasn't if brakes age, it was how long they could be stored before aging becomes a significant factor.
    – DavidW
    Aug 26, 2023 at 11:16

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