The Ultimate Guide to Buying Car Brake Pads

25 Oct

Your brake pads are probably one of the parts you’ll be replacing most often. They play a simple, yet crucial role in the safety of your car, as they’re responsible for providing the friction necessary to slow it down and eventually stop. That being said, your car brake pads are used every day, multiple times a day. As a result, they wear out much faster than most other car parts. If your car doesn’t have the stopping power it used to have, it means that your brake pads have worn down, and you need to replace them as soon as possible. However, replacing your car brake pads takes a careful amount of consideration. While you can get the exact same brake pads you had from your dealer, you can also get aftermarket brake pads that are better than what you initially had. With that said, here are some of the factors you need to consider when shopping for brake pads.

car brake pads

First and foremost, you need to know the different types of car brake pads and how they differ from one another. There are four main types of brake pads, so you should take a look at what type your car has fitted in order to find a suitable replacement. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, consult your mechanic or refer to your car’s owner’s manual.

The four types of brake pads include semi-metallic, which contain anywhere from 35% to 65% metal, are quite durable and offer great heat transfer. On the downside, semi-metallic brake pads can cause rotor damage, don’t perform very well in cold weather, and can be quite noisy. Then, there are ceramic pads, which are arguably the most effective type, made up mostly of ceramic fibres. Typically, these brake pads are quiet and clean and do little to no harm to the rotors. Their only downside is that they’re more expensive than other types. Organic, or also known as NAO brake pads are made up of fibrous materials like carbon, glass or rubber. These pads are quieter than semi-metallic pads, but are softer and wear out quicker. And low-metallic NAO brake pads are similar to NAO pads, but also contain a small amount of metal like copper or steel in order to help with braking speeds and heat transfer. These brake pads are effective, but the inclusion of metal means they produce more dust and noise.

brake pads

Understanding the difference between the types of car brake pads is the first step towards picking the right type for your application. However, next, you’ll need to consider the brake pads’ characteristics and what type of vehicles they’re meant for.

For instance, for small and compact vehicles that don’t require too much force to stop, organic pads will provide just enough stopping power. They won’t produce much noise and they’ll be affordable to get. The only downside to this is that the pads might build up dust, which may require a ceramic pad replacement down the road. Medium-sized cars require more stopping power than smaller cars, so you’ll need something more potent like low-metallic NAO brakes. Although you’d get more noise, they’re the ideal solution next to ceramic pads, which are more expensive. Fast and sports cars that accelerate quickly need to be able to decelerate at an equal speed. That being said, these cars should have high-performance ceramic or semi-metallic brake pads to provide that necessary stopping power. Lastly, heavy-duty vehicles like SUVs, vans and lorries also require a lot of stopping power due to the fact that they’re extremely heavy. For that reason, you’ll want to get brake pads with a significant amount of metal content.

brake pads

So which brake pads do you buy? Well, while all of the aforementioned information should be taken into consideration, there are a couple of other things to consider. Basically, picking car brake pads comes down to compromise and picking priorities accordingly. Pads that offer superior stoppage are often the dirtiest and loudest. You may want pads that reduce the amount of generated noise, but that will probably mean that they’re made using softer materials which will ultimately lead to more frequent replacing as the rotors wear down. At the end of the day, there isn’t a single brake pad that can do everything for all cars. Most manufacturers keep their brake pad formulas a secret instead of providing a range of pads for every application. That being said, don’t get fooled into believing your choice comes down to good versus better versus best. The most expensive pads aren’t necessarily the best ones for your vehicle, especially if they don’t meet the necessary requirements for the type of driving you do. Consider your driving habits and the weight of your vehicle before you commit to any type of brake pads.

car brake pads

And while you can technically change your vehicle’s brake pads in your garage, you should consider whether that’s worth your time and any mistakes can end up being costly. After all, they’re the most important safety device on your vehicle. If you’re even contemplating whether you should replace the brake pads yourself – you’re probably better off leaving the task to a professional. It’s not a costly task, and making a poor attempt to replace them yourself can end up being a dangerous conclusion not just for you, but other people on the road as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: