A Guide to Buying Replacement Brake Pads for Your BMW

22 Jan

The brakes on your BMW are the most important safety aspect of your vehicle, and what many people don’t know is that braking systems have a part that wears out as it gets put through more use – brake pads. Having brake pads that are in proper working condition will help your BMW get the most performance out of its braking system, which is why once your stock ones wear out, it’s important to get a worthy replacement. Brake pads are used together with disc brakes. They feature two pads and a caliper, so when you hit the brake pedal, the brake fluid is forced to move through the caliper, pressing the pads against the rotor and forcing your car to slow down and eventually stop.

brake pad for bmw

The better quality and the newer the brake pads are, the more powerful and smoother the braking will be. But with so many different types of brake pads BMW dealerships and online retailers have to offer, picking brake pads that are of high-quality can take a lot of consideration. Every vehicle has 2 sets of brake pads, and typically you’ll need to replace the front wheel brake pads more frequently. Regardless, there are a few important factors you’ll need to consider, such as:

The Friction Material

The first thing you’ll need to do is pick between a rivet and bonded friction material. Every brake needs to have a soft friction material attached to the strong metal backing plate. Brake manufacturers attach the friction material to the backing plate either by bonding it with an adhesive, or riveting it with high-strength rivets. There’s no preferred method, but bonding makes the brakes light slightly longer. This is due to the fact that as the friction material wears down, the rivets come in contact with the brake drums or rotors and squeal when they’re almost worn out. By the time you notice the squeal, it’s probably time to change the brakes anyway. Bonded pads, on the other hand, wear down right to the backing plate, meaning that your drums or rotors will be ruined if you don’t change the pads promptly.

Driving Requirements

When shopping for brake pads BMW dealerships offer a wide variety of models made for specific driving styles. That being said, you’ll need to consider things as the climate you drive in, how mountainous your driving is, whether you have to deal with deep puddles in the rainy season, do you tow anything, and what the traffic patterns that you travel in are. All of these things will influence your choice of the ideal type of brake pads. For regular, everyday driving, you’ll probably want semi-metallic brake pads.

brake pad for bmw

Types of Brake Pads

Brake pads are categorised in a few categories based on the materials they’re made of. You’ll have to decide between semi-metallic, ceramic and organic brake pads. Here are the distinct properties of each type.

  • Organic brake pads are, as their name implies, made from organic materials such as rubber, carbon or glass. Pads made with these materials are beneficial for the other brake parts. However, these brake pads don’t offer as much stopping power as the other types, especially if you’re traveling downhill routes or pulling a trailer. Another downside is that they lose a lot of braking power once they get wet
  • Semi-metallic brake pads are made up of a couple of specific metals and some non-metals. Typically, there’s about 30% of metal, but some pads feature more than 50%. Iron, steel and copper are the most commonly used, and these brake pads provide more stopping power than organic brake pads, but they also cause disc damage, are noisy, and aren’t very effective in cold weather
  • Ceramic brake pads are the most effective type, and they’re made of mainly ceramic fibres. These brake pads are quiet-running and clean, and they do minimal damage to the rotors. However, on the downside, they’re the most expensive out of all three options

brake pad for bmw

While you should look for signs of wear and tear frequently, such as screeching noises or jittery braking, generally speaking, you should consider replacing the brake pads once every 80.000km. However, this number will vary depending on the vehicle, the disc pads and your driving habits. For instance, if you mostly drive around the city where you need to brake a lot, your brake pads will need to be changed much sooner than that. On the other hand, if you drive in the country where there isn’t much traffic, and you almost always brake gradually, your brake pads may last more than 100.000km. But it’s always a good idea to let a professional inspect the brake pads when you bring your BMW for regular maintenance, and have them tell you how soon you’ll need to replace them. While replacing brake pads is technically doable in your own garage at home, given how important they are for your safety and the safety of everyone around you, it’s a job best left for a professional.

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