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Brakes are cheap and easy to replace compared to the all parts involved that come into play when downshifting frequently to slow the vehicle.
I've been downshifting my cars all of my life and NEVER had a problem with a premature auto trans failure. About the only thing that will actually be affected would be the fluid from possibly more heat. However, if the trans fluid is in good condition and the trans is functioning properly, very little wear occurs from downshifting on hills (if you're not doing harsh downshifts like going down to 2nd while over 40 mph) because the clutches don't slip and you're not hurting the solenoids that control the oil flow to the various components (clutch packs, servos, etc.)
 

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The little squealers/wear indicator will not damage rotors. They flex away from the rotor. As Traylaw said, new front pads on our Vs are ~11 mm thick, so the squeal should begin when you have 10% friction material remaining.




They are easily bent during rushed installation, though.



I'm not saying to ignore any squeal. THIS could be the result. :eek:



:p;)
That was seriously ignoring scraping noises. This wouldn't cause a squeal, it would be harsh grinding sounds. In my career, I've seen worse, not just the entire outer half of the rotor surface ground away down to the inside cooling fins, but I came across an Explorer where after removing the wheel, we noticed a "2-piece rotor". Yeah, the backing plate of the outer pad had ground up so much of the rotor that the outer rotor part had been cut off from the hub portion so the outer ring of the rotor was floating. Needless to say, we couldn't put it back together (the customer refused to have the work done, can you imagine that after we showed him the damage). He insisted we put the wheel back on and he was going to drive it home. Well, we forced him to get a tow truck to do that as we called the base MPs to make sure he towed it away because it was a danger and shouldn't be driven. This was on an army base, BTW.
 

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I actually had that happen to me 40 years ago I was about 17, so I went to mechanics school and now I'm a retired mechanic of 30yrs! Loved every day of it.
I bet! Have been a Master Tech for over 44 years and have seen just about every crazy thing you can imagine. Many can relate to these stories. The most unique one I had was a customer complaining that he 200SX had a lack of power going uphills. When she came in, I checked out the usual as the engine ran smoothly, no misfire under load, etc., but when I removed the air cleaner cover to check the filter, it was really dirty and smelled like rotting fish. The air cleaner intake had a long plastic snorkel that ran from the driver side of the vehicle across the radiator support are to the passenger side. When I pulled of the two-piece intake snorkel and looked at the inlet side, I was startled as I saw 2 eyes reflecting in the light. I had one of our service advisors to grab one end of the snorkel and I held the other and we pulled to separate the 2 pieces. When it finally separated, his end had a huge rat hanging from the snorkel. It was all bloated and "ripe" so he shook it out of the snorkel into our outside trash bin. Needless to say, the source of the "lack of power" was found. Pop in a new air filter and the lady was on her way home. BTW, she parked her car along the street at her home which had a lot of tall brush and weeds adjacent to her car's parking spot. Guess the rat climbed in one day for the warmth of the engine and got stuck because it couldn't turn around to get out. Wish I had a camera but this was back in the early 70's so no camera phones.
 

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I've got 115,000 miles on the original front, 1/2 worn and they're still on. The rear pads are another story. Replaced the rear pads at 106,000 miles...cause was all the salt/brine they use on the roads in the winter seizing up the calipers.
Something I've done since the car was new....was to use the button on the shifter to slow down on hills and coming to a stop light/stop sign. May or may not have made a difference...but I have the confidence it did save the brake pads.
I’ve always slowed all of my Honda’s by downshifting before and during braking, extending The life of my brakes pads. I can usually get 70,000 to 90,000 miles out of them before requiring replacement. Currently after two years, I have 17,000 on my 2018 CR-V. I just took it in for service and they said my brake pads look new.
 

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I had a lady friend bring me her little Ford once (Fiesta?) for a clutch. The engine was noisy so I checked the oil. There was none on the dipstick. I called and asked here how often she checked the oil. She said "Oh, you're supposed to do that?" The car had 105k on it and she had never checked the oil or had it changed. Ever. I had to drop the engine for the clutch, so when I pulled the drain plug, it was bone dry. Amazing! I got the job done, put new oil and filter in, and a month later she blew it up, then tried to blame me. Also amazing.
 
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