What Types of Brake Pads Exist? 



No matter how well you take care of your car or truck, it will need to have the brake pads replaced on a regular basis as a matter of automotive safety. The question is, do you know what kind of brake pads you really need to best protect your car based on your vehicle type and your driving style? Educate yourself about the different kinds of brake pads and the pros and cons of each to select with confidence the right pair for your automotive needs. 


What Types of Brake Pads Exist? 

There are four main types of brake pads on the market: 

While brake pads come at a range of price points, the most expensive brake pad is not necessarily the best brake pad, or even the right choice for your car. More than cost, what matters is performance, composition, heat transfer, and other characteristics. 

Take the first step in determining which brake pads are right for you and learn about the use cases for each of these different kinds of brake pads. When you understand the advantages and the disadvantages of brake pads by type, then you’ll make a more informed choice over what your car really needs.


Ceramic Brake Pads

What are Their Pros and Cons? 

Nowadays, ceramic brake pads are very commonly recommended for consumers. A relatively new type of brake pad, ceramic pads are composed of a ceramic compound. 

Popular for their durable construction and lack of dust emitted while braking, ceramic brake pads will stop hard when you need them to without putting undue wear and tear on your brake rotors over time. Ceramic brake pads are strong, quiet, and will not overheat due to brake system friction.

While they have a lot to recommend them, ceramic brake pads are more expensive than other types of brake pads so they may not be right for drivers on a budget. If you have ever had to clean brake dust off your wheels, then you may enjoy the convenience of these low-maintenance brake pads and find them well worth the cost. 


Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

What are Their Pros and Cons?

The most common and traditional choice for brake pads, a metallic pad is an inexpensive and reliable option for cars and trucks. In the past, these were made with asbestos; nowadays, a semi-metallic or metallic brake pad is typically composed of 30 to 65 percent mixed metal (such as steel, iron, or copper) bonded with resin. 

In general, a metallic brake pad is more aggressive than a ceramic one, which tends to perform better with gradual braking. If you consider yourself an aggressive driver, or worry about your vehicle coming to a stop when you jam on the brakes, metallic brake pads may be the right choice for you. 

These brake pads do create dust, and can operate somewhat noisily compared to ceramic brake pads. Still, they are a good everyday option and are recommended for drivers on a budget. 

If you live in a cold climate, you may find that metallic brake pads do not operate as well as they do in warmer temperatures. It may be worth it the peace of mind to purchase different brake pads for use in winter, and know that you will be able to stop if you hit a patch of ice because your brakes perform consistently. 


Low Metallic Brake Pads

What are Their Pros and Cons? 

While they are similar in composition to semi-metallic, low metallic brake pads have less metal and create less dust as a result. These brake pads typically have anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent metal content versus 30 to 65 percent in semi-metallic versions.

Low metallic brake pads are often used in commercial vehicles (such as trucks and buses) due to their reliability and low cost; however, they can still be installed in passengers cars and trucks. They generally have the same advantages and disadvantages as the semi-metallic version. For example, these brake pads still make noise and cause dust when braking since they contain a fair amount of metal. They are better at dissipating heat than the semi-metallic version, and provide reliable braking even for large commercial vehicles. Like metallic brake pads, they work well for aggressive drivers who may need to quickly respond to other drivers or road traffic.


Organic Brake Pads

What are Their Pros and Cons? 

Composed of resin and natural fibers, such as carbon or glass, organic brake pads are sturdy and create relatively little dust. They are sometimes referred to as NAO brake pads, which stands for non-asbestos organic brake pads. 

Organic brake pads do not put much wear and tear on brake rotors, but they cannot dissipate heat very well and brakes could overheat as a result. Urban commuting drivers may like these strong brake pads, which are built to withstand aggressive city driving through efficient performance. 

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