Passat rear brakes

My friend took his 91 Passat in to have the brakes checked. It needed rear
brakes, both sides almost to the metal. It only has 48,000 mi and the front
brakes have plenty of life left in them. The VW mechanic said this was normal
for the Passat and they will use up rear brakes faster than fronts due to "more
pressure to the rear brakes for better brake balance and faster stops." Has VW
found a way to change the laws of physics or is this really a bunch of crap?
'81 P/U
96 Jetta
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Not entirely untrue...
Your friend's Passat is equipped with a Brake Pressure Regulator (BPR) (as is your 1996 Jetta). If it is sticking, more hydraulic pressure will be directed to the rear brakes, therefore "engaging" the rear brakes faster than the front brakes. My 1990 Jetta had a similar issue. The BPR was stuck open, and I went through a set of pads and rotors on the rear in about a year....the original pads and rotors lasted 12 years...I would have your friend get the BPR checked could be sticking. Based on the mileage of your friend's car, I wouldn't be surprised if it has sat a while, and the BPR could have seized.
Ask any owner of a 1999.5-2004 Golf, Jetta, or New Beetle...rear pads wear out faster, but for a different reason.
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Pete Cressman
The trick to make the brakes last longer is not to use them. That being said you done very good with brake wear!
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This happened on 2001 Passat, too. I suspect the rear pads have soft linings to minimize noise. The tradeoff is that they wear faster.
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My 99 Passat has a brake proportioning valve that applies more brake pressure to the rear for light stops. And, the front brake pads are much larger in area and have thicker friction material than the rears. I just did a brake job (56K miles) and the rears were a bit worse than the front.
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