Common Types of Brake Pads You Need to Know
Imagine one day you are driving down the freeway. As you are about to take the exit, you tap on the brakes but — you don’t slow down. No matter how hard you push, nothing happens. You are driving with no brakes. This situation is so terrible than whatever you can suppose. Therefore, to avoid it, you need to understand deeply about the types of brake pads your vehicle uses and have some basic knowledge before taking your car to a brake shop. Let’s look at this article to find out more useful information about brake pad types.
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.
2. Non-Asbestos Organic
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.
3. Low-Metallic 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
|No||Brake pad type||Main features|
|1||Semi-Metallic||- Being used widely in different vehicles
- Made of steel wire or wool, graphite or copper, and friction modifiers
- Long- term durability and excellent heat transfer capability
- More noises, wear down rotors faster, underperforms at low temperatures
|2||Non-Asbestos Organic||- Made of fibers, high-temperature resins, and filler materials
- Softer and create less noise than Semi - Metallic
- Deteriorate faster and create more dust
|3||Low-Metallic NAO||- Made of organic materials with 10%-30% metal
- Excellent braking and heat transfer capabilities
|4||Ceramic||- Made of ceramic fibers, bonding agents, nonferrous filler materials
- Less noise, wear down slowly, create less dust
- Expensive than other brake pads
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. For towing job, you should spend time to research carefully on stopping power, noise, brake dust of each products to find the best brake pads for towing.
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.