The brake system is one of the few key components responsible for the safety of a vehicle. Therefore, if the system has any problem; you need to understand the types of brake pads your vehicle uses before taking your car to a brake shop.
When Your Car Brake Pads Need Replacement?
Your brake system will give warning signs before going out of order. A grinding sound indicates to the complete worn out state of the brake pads and the possible damage to brake rotors. On the other hand, if it creates a squealing sound; you need to change the soft metal that rubs against the brake rotor.
Other alarming signs may include the brakes creating a thumping sound or vibration; or the car hauling to one side after pushing the brake pedal; and the brake pedal feels softer when giving a push.
Photo Credit: Mintye
Types of Brake Pads
Typically, the regular vehicles have four common brake pad types:
With long-term durability and excellent heat transfer capability, semi-metallic is the most common brake pad type used widely in different vehicles. It is made of steel wire or wool, graphite or copper, and friction modifiers.
Such a brake pad contains nearly 30%-65% metal. It creates more noises, wears down rotors faster, and underperforms at low temperatures.
Fibers, high-temperature resins, and filler materials are used in the making of this brake pad type. If compared to the semi-metallic type, they are softer and create less noise; but deteriorate faster and create more dust. These types of brake pads are sometimes listed as organic or NAO.
These brake pads are made of organic materials with 10%-30% metal such as steel or copper in the mix. Though they create more noise and brake dust, their braking and heat transfer capabilities are excellent.
You can find a small amount of metal in this brake pad type, but they are mainly made of ceramic fibers, bonding agents, and nonferrous filler materials.
They create less noise, wear down slowly in comparison to other brake pad types, and create less dust. Their only downside is they are pricier than other brake pads.
Photo Credit: SGL Group
How to Choose the Best Brake Pads for Your Vehicle
With a broad range of selections showing slight variations in price and packaging, it’s easy to get confused. However, you need to make the decision depending on the type of vehicles you own and the type of roads where you drive them on.
For example, full-size trucks or vans may need brake pads containing a substantial amount of metal to get extra power while braking and reduce wearing down of brakes. On the contrary, organic brake pads are perfect for the smooth operation of compact cars.
Besides, cheap or standard brake pad repairs won’t guarantee safety if your vehicles regularly carry loads or passengers; or you drive them in mountainous areas. In those cases, you will need an upgraded or severe-duty brake pad.