Brake Rotor Pad : The Ultimate Guide
Brake rotor pad are a common component in the motor vehicle of today. With almost every automobile using disc brake, you will likely have pads as the frictional material that form the braking part of your car. We wrote this brake rotor pad guide to give you a better understanding of these useful auto parts.
The guide contains information regarding the different types of brake rotor pads, with the advantages of each. You will also get to learn about how to troubleshoot brake pad so you can keep your vehicle’s braking system working perfectly. And if you have any problems with the pads, how to replace them.
To help you use the best brake pads that guarantee you of vehicle stoppage, we included a part about how to choose the best types of brake rotor pads. In a nutshell, this is a comprehensive guide that provides you with all the information you may need about brake rotor pads. It answers the questions you might be having about these components. Read on to find out what is inside.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1：Brake Rotor Pad Definition
Different types of brake pads
Brake Rotor Pad Definition
Brake Pad Meaning
Brake rotor pads are pieces of frictional material that contact the brake rotor during braking. Also known as brake disc pads, these components produce the friction required to bring a vehicle to a halt. Brake rotor pads are used in disc brake systems. When you step on the brake pedal, the brake caliper pistons push the pads towards the rotor to produce braking force.
Brake rotor pads can be seen through the brake caliper openings. They are the blocks that mount on the end of the caliper piston or pistons, with the friction part facing and close to the brake disc. The pads usually have their ends attached to the caliper bracket or steering knuckle. The back plates hold the pads in place.
Brake rotor pads are of different types. Each type is made from a specific material or combination of materials. Most vehicles utilize two pads positioned on either side of the brake rotor. However, high-performance automobiles have several of these pads on a single brake rotor for more braking power.
Brake Rotor Pad Function and Operation
Brake pads play an important role in a vehicles braking system. They form the part that is responsible for producing friction. That is why they are made from abrasive and hard-wearing materials. Brake pads also have to maintain efficiency in the varying driving conditions. The ability to withstand different conditions ensures reliable brakes since the force remains consistent throughout the application period.
Brake rotor pads work by changing the kinetic energy of the rotating brake disc into thermal energy. The resulting heat then dissipates into the air directly and through the pad. Brake pads have their surfaces made of frictional materials. When they make contact with the brake disc, the heat produced causes a layer of the materials to wear off onto the rotor surface. This causes the two surfaces to stick together firmly.
Brake Rotor Pad Structure
Brake pads may appear to be simple vehicle components. However, they are not and comprise several parts. There is the part that produces friction, another that conducts heat away, parts that reduce vibrations, and so on. Brake pad design varies slightly across different auto parts manufacturers. However, some major components remain identical. Let’s take a look at the parts that make a typical bonded brake rotor pad.
Components of a Brake Pad
Shim- found in the area between the brake pad backing plate and the caliper piston, this part acts as a heat and noise insulator. A shim prevents the pad vibrations from reaching the calipers as well as dampens the noise in the pad itself. Shims also act as a thermal insulator or barrier and ensure temperature consistency in the brake pad. The parts of the brake pad can be either meal or rubber and single or double-layered.
Backing plate- this is the second part after the shim. It’s made from steel metal and holds the brake pad in place. It extends the full length of the pad of friction block. The plate also acts to dampen vibrations and disperse the heat that is produced during braking.
Abutment tub or ear- the part that attaches to the brake caliper bracket or other mounting surface such as the steering knuckle. It secures the brake pad and prevents it from moving sideways during the braking action.
Adhesive layer- the adhesive bond that attaches the friction block to the back plate. The adhesive layer should be strong enough to work in both low and high temperatures.
Underlayer/Intermediate layer- this is the layer underneath the main frictional block that faces and makes contact with the brake rotor. It consists of frictional materials but doesn’t produce as much stopping power as the main layer. Some brake pads have a sensor attached in this layer to produce noise when the upper part has worn out completely.
Friction block- the block that makes contact with the brake disc to produce friction and cause a vehicle to stop. This layer comprises frictional materials that include fibers, abrasives, powders, lubricants, and resin to hold them together.
Slot- a thin space in the friction block. Slots act as pathways for gases and materials to escape in the same way slotted brake rotors do. They also help to disrupt the natural frequency of the pad vibrations and help to reduce braking noise.
Chamfer- this is the angled or beveled end parts of the friction block. Chamfers serve several purposes. They help to dampen off the noise produced by the pads, allow the backing plate to flex, and help proper bedding of the pads.
Other than these parts, there are the materials that make the friction block. Knowledge about these materials is essential in many ways. It helps you choose the right type of brake pad for your vehicle so you can ensure adequate braking power for your vehicle. The wrong choice of brake pads can also mean them lasting for only a short time besides not producing sufficient braking power. For more about brake pad materials read on to the next chapter.
Brake Rotor Pad Types and Materials
Brake Rotor Pad Materials
What are brake pads made of? Manufacturers usually make brake pads using different materials. These are either organic or metallic fibers and held together by binding materials. The precise composition of brake pad materials are manufacturer specific, though, and vary from one brand to another. The materials used to make brake pads need to possess certain characteristics. They should be able to :
- Withstand water or moist conditions
- Maintain performance under conditions of temperature fluctuations
- Resist the wear that is caused by braking friction
- Recover quickly from temperature variations or exposure to water
- Maintain the right friction coefficient, neither too high nor too low
- Offer smooth braking by not pitting or denting
- Offer quiet operation without compromising performance
Brake pad materials can be summarized into:
Structural materials – these form brake pad structure, maintaining its shape and strength throughout the period it is used for. Structural materials include asbestos, ceramics, and mineral fibers.
Abrasive materials – these serve to enhance the friction of the brake pad for better braking power. Abrasive materials include mineral substances such as quartz, metal oxides such as aluminum and iron oxides, and brass chips.
Performance materials – performance materials improve the pad’s performance in certain conditions. They are the materials that enable the pad to produce consistent braking in high and low temperatures, prevent corrosion, offer lubrication to prevent squeals, and more. Examples of performance materials include carbon, metal sulfides, lime, copper, and ceramic.
Binding materials – these are the adhesives that help to hold the different materials together to produce a firm block. They also act as materials to maintain pad structure, among other functions. Examples include resin, carbon fiber, and fiberglass.
Filler materials – added to improve the structure of the brake. Some filler materials used in brake pads are steel wool, rubber scrap, ground sea coal, barytes, and potassium titanate.
Brake Rotor Pad Types
There are different types of brake pads. Classification is based on the primary or structural material or material combinations used to make the pad. Often, the type of brake pad used in a vehicle depends on vehicle application, driving conditions, brake pad price, and so on. That is because different materials have varying characteristics.
Some brake pad materials will wear faster than others while some handle heat variations better than others. High-performance or heavy-duty vehicles, for example, require high performing brake pads for reliable stoppage under the tough conditions. The better performing brake pads usually carry a higher price tag but better braking capabilities.
The different types of brake pads are:
These brake pad types are made from ceramic material and embedded with small amounts of copper fibers. Ceramic brake pads offer many advantages. They operate quieter, remain stable in extreme heat conditions, and produce almost no dust. Ceramic pads wear at a slow rate, which makes them one of the most durable. These pads also recover much quickly to provide fade-free brakes. A downside of these pads is their high price. When used in cold environments, ceramic pads may lose effectiveness.
Carbon metallic brake pads contain carbon (graphite) and metal pieces, which can be either iron copper or steel. High-end pads of this type will have fine pieces while the cheaper ones contain coarser metal pieces. Carbon metallic brake pads offer high stoppage power, with a good enough bite. They produce an excellent bite or grip that is felt at the pedal. These pads cause moderate rotor wear, plus they can withstand high temperatures.
Low Metallic( non-asbestos)
Low metallic brake pads are mainly made from organic materials mixed with high amounts of metal, usually copper or steel. These types of brake pads have high braking power due to the added metallic components. They disperse heat better and can be used in situations where a lot of heat is expected. Low metallic brake pads produce a lot of braking dust and noise. This is because of the added metallic elements. The kevlar material used in these pads improves their performance significantly. However, it is such a costly filler.
Also called non-asbestos organic or NOH, these brake pads feature a lot of organic materials for the friction block. They are made from plant fibers, resins, glass, rubber and sometimes kevlar for the high-end pads. Organic brake pads are preferred by most manufacturers for factory vehicles. They are soft and quiet. A disadvantage of these types of pads is their shorter lifespan since they tend to wear at a faster rate than the others. They also produce a lot of brake dust.
These are made by fusing metal particles under heat. This creates a high-friction and hard-wearing material. Sintered brake pads maintain a constant friction coefficient in both extreme heat and cold condition. They do not require any warming up, plus they produce a firm feel at the pedal throughout a driving session. Sintered brake pads have the disadvantage of wearing the rotor too quickly.
Composite brake pads contain organic fibers, steel wool, and other metal materials. These provide increased abrasiveness and better dissipation of heat. A drawback of these types of brake pads is their over abrasiveness which causes rapid wear of the brake rotor. Composite brake pads also produce a lot of dust, resulting in untidy wheels and rotors.
Brake Pad Material Comparison
Some materials are superior for some applications and conditions and inferior in others. Let us look at the different materials or brake rotor pads compared.
Ceramic Vs. Organic
Ceramic brake pads offer better characteristics than organic pads. Were it not for the price and the poor performance in low temperatures, it would be the most preferred type of material for brake pads. Organic pads are popular for their cheap nature which also makes them the type of pad for factory cars.
Organic Vs. Sintered
Sintered brake pads offer a firmer grip, last for long, and produce high braking power. However, they wear the rotor too rapidly and may even cause to get damaged. As we have seen, organic pads are less durable and produce a lot more dust. They are much quieter, though.
Carbon Metallic Vs. Ceramic
Both produce sufficient braking power for a wide range of applications and conditions. When it comes to noise reduction, ceramic pads carry the day. In term of price, ceramic brake pads do not offer the affordability of the carbon metallic type.
Asbestos Brake Pads
It is good to note that many manufactured discontinued the production of these types of brake pads due to health concerns. Despite asbestos brake pads being easy or cheaper to produce and highly resistant to heat, the material was found to be carcinogenic.
Brake Shoes Vs. brake pads
Brake shoes are the equivalent of brake pads in the drum brake systems. Brake shoes are designed to fit inside the brake drum while brake pads are meant to mount next to the brake disc. Brake pads offer better heat dissipation due to their exposed nature to prevent brake fade. Brake shoes, on the other hand, have the disadvantage of heating up excessively.
Car and Motor Cycle Brake Pads
Brake pads are manufactured with braking application in mind. That is why we have different brake pads for cars and motorcycles. To give you an idea of the types used for each, here is a look at the common materials used.
Types of Brake Pads for Cars
The popular brake pads used in cars include organic, ceramic, carbon metallic, and low metallic. The type used depends on the car type, driving conditions and habits, and the budget. Organic pads are cheaper, provide softer braking, and produce less noise. The expensive ceramic pads are often found on high-end cars. These pads offer better performance in a wide range of conditions except extreme cold.
Types of Brake Pads for Motorcycles
Motorcycles mostly use sintered and organic brake pads. Some high-performance bikes use ceramic brake pads for their better capabilities to maintain braking force in tough conditions, especially heat. Sintered brake pads offer better grab and produce less dust. They are also durable. Organic pads are preferred for their low prices and soft braking. However, they wear fast and can mean more frequent replacements over the lifetime of the motorcycle.
Brake Rotor Pad Diagnosis and Troubleshooting
Brake pads are made from a hard wearing block of friction material. However, braking friction causes them to wear out gradually. Over time, the pads lose so much material that they become unusable. Other than wear, brake pads can also develop problems such as cracks, denatured surfaces, and more. This results in lost braking power, pulsating, or noisy brakes. Because brake pads cannot be repaired, wear or damage require them to be replaced.
Brake Rotor Pad Diagnosis
Brake pads will show wear or damage in many ways. It can be noise, vibrations, or symptoms you can observe using your eyes. Early detection helps you to keep the braking system of your car in perfect condition. What are the signs or worn brake pads or those that have become damaged? We prepared a list of the things to observe.
- Listen to the brakes. Do they make noise when driving or braking? The noise can be that of scraping metals, or louder squeals. Sounds can be from damaged or worn brake pads. It can also be from a squealer that is built into some brake pads to alert wear.
- Do you have to push the brake pedal to the floor before you can achieve braking power? That could be a sign that the pads are worn out. The only solution is to replace them.
- A vehicle that pulls to one side during braking could indicate worn pads on one side. However, that can only be ascertained by inspection as other components can also cause that.
- Observe the wheels. Do they have dust on them? Most brake pads produce dust when the frictional material wears off. This is normal and an indicator that the brake pads are fine. If you notice cleaner wheels after they have been dusty all along, the friction block is likely worn out completely.
- Examine the brake pads through the wheel openings. Do they look too thin? That shows excessive wear. Some brake pads come with a slot. If this slot is no longer visible, that is a sign of brake pad worn to the last layer.
Some vehicles will have a dashboard light to indicate a worn brake pad. This helps to determine the condition of the pads and if they need to be changed.
To help you carry out a more thorough diagnosis, here are some common brake pad issues and their symptoms.
Worn Brake Pads- worn brake pad symptoms include brake pulsation at the pedal, reduced braking power, and grinding noise or a squeal. Grinding noise results from a brake pad that has worn to the backing plate. Some brake pads feature a metal sensor that causes a squeal if the wear goes pas a certain layer of the block. Driving with worn brake pads can be dangerous and need to be replaced.
Delamination- this often shows up as squeaking brakes or pulsation. You may also feel the brakes lose power to stop a vehicle on time. Delamination is usually caused by the adhesive layer failing to hold the friction block, extreme temperatures, or incorrect fitment. If this occurs, the pads need replacing.
Surface contamination brake pad contamination results from brake fluid material spilling on the pad surface. The problem is often caused by leaking calipers brake lines. The contamination reduces the efficiency of the braking system. You may also have grabby brakes. This problem calls for new brake pads.
Glazing- glazed pads cause the brakes to produce noise and braking force to reduce. Brake pads glaze as a result of excessive heat, especially during bedding or contamination by braking fluid. These conditions cause the pad surface to become too smooth. This problem requires new pads to be installed.
Uneven wear- this problem results from seized caliper slide pins or pistons. Because the pads continually contact the rotor, it results in excessive heat which can be felt at the wheel rim. Fixing or replacing the faulty caliper solves the problem.
Angled wear- angled wear is also caused by stuck brake calipers. However, it does not produce observable signs and can only be ascertained by inspecting the brake pads physically. Repairing the seized caliper usually remedies the problem.
Foreign materials- these cause audible sounds which can be a squeal or a grinding noise when braking. These materials come embedded either in the rotor or brake pad and are a manufacturer defect. The problem requires brake pad replacement and if the object is in the rotor, replacing or machining.
Brake Rotor Pad Troubleshooting
The symptoms of bad brake pads should prompt you to carry out inspections with the aim of finding out what the problem could be. That is because different problems may have similar signs. Bad brake pad sound, for example, may be as a result of worn brake pads or damaged brake rotor. We put together the procedures to troubleshoot brake rotor pads.
How to Check Brake Pad Wear
Checking the brake pads for wear mostly involves inspecting their thickness. Usually, there is a specific thickness that your brake pads should not wear past. Here is how to check brake pad thickness.
You will need a jack, wrench, tape measure or vernier caliper, and a compass.
Step 1. Park the car on safe flat ground and loosen up the wheel bolts without removing them.
Step 2. Jack up the car and remove the wheel.
Step 3. Locate the brake caliper. The brake pads are visible and accessible through the caliper openings.
Step 4. Using a compass’s, take the pad measurements from the surface that faces the rotor to the part that attaches to the backing plate.
Step 5 Place the compass on a vernier caliper or tape measure to determine the width measured by the compass.
If the brake pad thickness is less than ⅛ of an inch, replace them immediately. If the width is higher than this but less than a ¼ inch, prepare to change them soon.
How to Check Brake Pads Without Removing Tire
For a quicker brake check to determine the health of the brake pads, you can use a straw or vernier calipers. You insert these through the wheel spokes up to the end of the brake pad, that is, the backing plate. A vernier caliper will give you the measurement straight away.
To carry out this process, you will need a straw, vernier caliper or ruler, and marker.
If using a straw, marker the point where the straw sticks out when its tip has reached the end of the pad. Use the mark to fund the thickness of the brake pad by After getting the measurement, subtract 0.2 inches to compensate for the width of the backing plate. If the thickness is less than ⅓ of an inch after subtracting, they need to be changed.
The procedures to check for brake wear with the tire on are not very accurate. Only use them to give you a rough idea of the condition of the pads. For a more precise method, remove the tire. For an even more accurate way to check your brake pads, you may need to remove the caliper as well and detach the pads. Which brings us to the next method to determine how the brake pads are faring.
What are the Risks of Driving With Worn Brake Pads?
Worn brake pads cannot produce sufficient braking power, and your car may not stop when you want it to. This can be dangerous, especially when cruising down a busy highway. If the pads are worn to the metal backing, applying the brakes could cause sparks and risk starting a fire. Badly worn brake pads also expose the metal backing to cause damage to the brake rotor. Eventually, you might have to replace both components; the brake pads and the brake disc. How do you replace a brake pad? Find out in the next chapter.
Brake Rotor Pad Replacement
Brake Rotor Pad Replacement Process
With all the wear, heat, and pressure that brake pads have to undergo, you will eventually need to replace them. When that time comes, you may have to choose between doing it yourself or seeking the help of a mechanic. Brake pad replacement may appear to be challenging. However, it is a simple procedure that you can carry out yourself using a few simple tools. The process takes less than an hour, and you will have saved a few dollars.
Should you decide to replace worn out or damaged brake pads, here is the procedure to do it.
You will need: a jack, lug wrench, and socket spanner.
Step 1. Have the vehicle cool down if you are just from driving. That is because the brake system at the rotor, brake pads, and calipers can get really hot.
Step 2. Use the wrench to loosen the bolts of the front or back wheels. Do not remove them entirely.
Step 3. Jack the car up safely observing every safety measure such placing it on the correct position (which varies from one vehicle to another) and other precautions.
Step 4. After the car is safely above the ground, remove the wheels. This will expose the brake calipers where the brake pads are held.
Step 5. Remove the calipers by loosening the mounting bolts using a socket spanner. Brake calipers differ in design and mounting, and you may have to remove yours the correct way. Do not detach the brake line to the caliper.
Step 6. Remove the old brake pads, and in their place snap or clip in the new pads.
Step 7. Check for the components that need fixing such as the caliper, rotor or brake line. Sometimes, the brake disc may require machining or changing. A seizing caliper may need to be cleaned or lubricated and contaminated brake fluid bled.
Step 8. Replace the caliper observing the correct procedure to do so. Replace the wheel, too.
If the other two wheels need their brake pads replaced, use the same procedure. You will need to test the new brake pads to ascertain correct replacement. To do this, drive starting at a moderate speed and increasing of gradually. If the bite is good enough and the braking power adequate, the brake pads are good and you can go about your business as usual.
Brake Rotor Pad Replacement Questions and Tips
How long do brake pads last?
The opinion of many brake pad manufacturers and vehicle mechanics is that the average brake pad lasts for between 30,000 to 70,000 miles. However, that varies depending on many factors. Low-quality pads wear out quickly or get damaged faster than the high-end models. Some brake pad types also last longer than others due to their ability to withstand tough conditions. Driving conditions and habits also come into play, with aggressive driving reducing brake pad lifespan considerably. The condition of the brake rotor also matters. Scored rotors cause rapid brake pad wear or even damage.
How often should brake pads be replaced?
As we have seen, how often to replace brake pads depends on vehicle application, driving habits, pad type, quality, and so on. Therefore, the question of when to replace brake pads or how often is usually user-specific. It is recommended that you change the pads as soon as you notice the signs of damage or wear such as noise or reduced braking power.
How long does it take to replace a brake pad?
How long to change a brake pad depends on the experience you have. If you have done that several times before, it can be less than an hour to finish every step. First timers may take longer than this. But brake pad replacement time should not worry you unless you so long as you get it done correctly- unless you are in a hurry, of course.
Could you change brake pads without changing rotors?
You could, but only if the rotor is not damaged. A bad rotor will wear out new brake pads and reduce their lifespan. It may also cause noisy braking, a pulsating brake pedal, and other problems even with the new pads installed.
How do you replace the rear brake pads?
If you are wondering how to change rear brake pads, the answer is, in the same way as the front ones. Both rear and from axle brake pads are located in the caliper. Once you get hold of it, you apply the same procedure to remove the old pads in place new ones.
How long do ceramic brake pads last?
These brakes pads outlast the other types by far. Usually, they would sever for at least 70,000 miles before they require replacing. But that is if good driving habits and brake system maintenance are observed.
How much does it cost to replace a brake pad?
Here we need to take into account several factors. The first one is brake pad cost. High-end brake pads such as those made from ceramic material will cost you more than the cheaper options such as organic brake pads. The area of residence, too, will vary the brake pad replacement cost as the rates of mechanics are different in different regions. But that is if you decide to take your car to a repair shop. On average it costs $150 to replace the brake pads on a single axle.
How to Make Brake Rotor Pads Last Longer
Brake pads will eventually wear out or get damaged in one way or another. However, there are factors that accelerate the rate of wear or damage. If care is not taken, it can mean having to replace brake pads even before they have served their entire lifespan. This chapter dwells solely on the ways to increase brake pad lifespan. These include tips to avoid aggressive driving, inadequate maintenance of the brake system, and so on.
6 Tips to Make Brake Pads Last Longer
Avoiding High Speeds
Cruising down a busy road at high speeds compels you to jam on the brakes every now and then. This puts a strain on the braking system and wears many components, among them the brake pads. To avoid that, drive within the speed limit. Driving slowly protects not only you and the other occupants in the car but also the brake pads. It helps to enhance brake pad life.
Keeping an Ample Distance Between You and the Car In front
Doing so means you will not have to decelerate at short notice and have to press on the brake pedal hard. Using heavy braking produces a lot of friction. Besides causing brake pad wear, it creates high temperatures that have a damaging effect on the brake pads. A good way to ensure this would be keeping at least two driving seconds distance between the car in front.
Coasting in driving means allowing a vehicle to slow down on its own. It eases the pressure on your brakes, making them to last longer. You will not have to use a lot of braking power to stop which always takes a toll on the brake pads. Coast when conditions are clear, or when going down a gentle slope that ends in an uphill drive. In such conditions, applying the brakes only serves to reduce the lifespan of various components.
Keeping the Foot Off the Brake Pedal
If you are used to keeping your foot lightly pressing on the brake pedal, you may have to desist from doing so. That is because it engages the brakes and causes wear, however gradual. Over time, it leads to a reduced lifespan of the brake pads. Only step on the pedal when necessary. It preserves the brake pads and several other components.
Avoiding High Traffic Conditions and Hilly Areas
These require you to brake frequently. While it may not always be possible avoiding driving in these such conditions can help preserve the life of the brake pads. It prevents unnecessary wear that builds over time to require early brake pad replacement.
Keeping the Vehicle Light
The heavier the vehicle, the higher the amount of force required to bring it to a halt. You may have to press on the brake pedal harder and for longer. If possible, avoid varying a lot of weight. It will only cause a strain on the brake pads and other components such as the brake disc. Within no time, you might find yourself having to replace them.
Replacing or Resurface Damaged Brake Rotors
Damaged brake discs wear out the brake pads at a quicker rate than if they are in good condition. If the rotor is pitted or grooved, you may want to have it turned. If the rotor thickness does not allow for machining, have it replaced. It will preserve your brake pads while also improving the braking power.
Buying Quality Brakes Pads
The quality of brake pads varies from one manufacturer to another. With brake pads featuring materials whose composition is often a company’s secret, the variation in quality can be extensive. That is why care is necessary when choosing the brand to buy. Reputable and trusted manufacturers usually produce high-quality products. Quality brake pads assure you of not only excellent vehicle stoppage but also a longer lifespan.
Choosing the Right Type for Your Application and Conditions
If you looking for brake pads to install in a heavy truck, you would need to find the type that can withstand heavy braking and high temperatures. In such cases, you may want to go for those that contain high metal quantities. If yours is the regular car, it would be advisable to choose the budget-friendly, low-noise organic brake pads.
Switching off Traction Control System When on Surfaces Without Grip
If your car uses traction control to lock the wheels for safety reasons, you may need to switch it off when driving on a surface that offers reduced tire grip such as sand or mud. That is because the traction will lock the wheels and cause the pads to wear.
Maintaining the Brake Caliper
A seizing caliper can have a disastrous effect on the brake pads. It causes them to remain in contact with the rotor even when you have not stepped on the brake pedal, which causes wear. Always inspect the calipers for debris, rust or corrosion so you can clean it before the pistons stick. For the sliding calipers, ensure the sliders are adequately lubed with caliper grease.
Keeping the Brake Lines and Hoses in Good Conditions
A leak of the brake fluid can flow all the way to the brake rotor and brake pads. This can cause the brake pads to lose braking power. If that happened, the pads would need replacing even before the normal lifetime. Ensure, too, that the caliper pistons are in good condition and that the seals are not with or broken. They can leak brake fluid and contaminate the brake pads.
While observing good driving habits and brakes maintenance is great, choosing the right brake pads also helps. The right type of pads will last the entire lifespan, which varies from 30, 000 to 70, 000 miles. How can you choose the best brake pads for your vehicle? The next chapter delves into that and helps you to make the right decision.
How to Choose Brake Rotor Pads
When looking to replace your brake pads, you want the type that will satisfy several requirements. You need brake pads that suit the type of vehicle that you own. The driving conditions, too, which can be harsh or moderate. Heavy-duty vehicles require brake pads that can withstand the heavy braking and extreme heat conditions. For the regular car, that may not be important. You can use average brake pads that perform well but cost less. While there is no type of brake pad that fits all descriptions, you can at least get one that matches the main requirements. This section will help you on how to choose brake pads that meet your vehicle type and braking requirements.
Different types of brake pads
The best brake pads for your vehicle are those that fit its braking needs. Choose brake pads based on:
- Vehicle Type and Application
Light and compact vehicles do not require a lot of braking force to bring them to a stop. They can, therefore, do with organic brake pads. These produce less noise when braking, plus they are inexpensive. Their main disadvantage is rapid wear but which is offset by the low price to acquire them.
Medium automobiles require medium braking power, and the low-metallic brake pads would be the most suitable. These types of brake pads provide enough abrasion to offer high braking force. However, the pads do produce noise due to the metallic bits in the friction block. Low metallic brake pads also tend to produce braking noise.
Heavy trucks require more force to bring them to a stop. But they also cause a lot of heat to be produced at the frictional surfaces. They, therefore, need matching brake pads. The best types of brake pads for these vehicles would be those that contain higher amounts of metal pieces such as semi-metallic brake pads. While these emit a lot of noise, they offer high braking power, plus they disperse heat better.
Racing cars, on the other hand, need brake pads that produce high braking power. Also those that can withstand high temperatures. Semi-metallic brake pads would be a suitable choice. But the ceramic pads would make a better option. These guarantee stoppage in a wide range of conditions, which is desirable in the high braking requirements of these cars.
High performance brake pads carry a higher price tag. Ceramic pads, despite offering quiet operation, less dust and consistent braking force, are highly expensive. They may, therefore be not suitable if you are looking for a pocket-friendly option.
Organic brake pads are the cheapest. But then, they do not offer high braking power and wear out rather rapidly. They are only appropriate if you will not need to brake in extreme conditions. Also if the vehicle is light and small-sized.
If looking for brake pads that offer adequate braking force that is neither too high nor too low, it would be advisable to go for the semi-metallic or carbon metallic pads. These are also moderately priced. Some brands of brake pads have higher prices for the same material and pad quality. You may want to consider the fairly priced brands.
Based on The Backing Plate
While most brake pads feature an adhesive layer to bind the friction block onto the backing plate, there are those that use rivets. Bonded brake pads offer better structural integrity than the riveted type. Riveted brake pads also have the disadvantage of causing damage to the brake rotor. When the frictional materials wear out to the last bit, the rivet studs may get exposed and score the rotor, causing damage and unwanted braking noise. Apart from the damage they can cause, riveted brake pads do not.
Based on Compatibility
Different brake pads brands come in different designs. Some are meant to fit certain vehicles, and the wrong type can mean poor installations. If a brake pad is mounted incorrectly, it can cause uneven or rapid wear of both the brake rotor and the pad itself. To avoid brake pad damage, select the type and of brake pads that provide a firm fit when installed.
Based on Driving Conditions
Different conditions require brake pads with specific capabilities or characteristics. If you drive in mountainous regions, for example, you may need brake pads that can withstand the constant application of the brakes and the resulting heat. Ceramic brake pads would do well in that area. The sintered type, too.
If you drive in hot climates, you may need brake pads that can cope with the high temperatures without losing the ability to produce the right friction coefficient. If you drive in wet environments, you need to choose brake pads that can work in such conditions.
There are other aspects to consider when choosing the brake pad to use in your automobile. These include the brand, warranty, and certifications. It is advisable to buy a trusted brand. This guarantees quality. A lengthy warranty is also an indicator of a company that has confidence in the lifespan of their product. Certifications indicate a manufacturer who follows set standards of quality to manufacture their brake pads.
Brake pads are one of the smallest vehicle components but also one of the most essential. They contain the frictional materials that allow for braking to take place. If brake pads cannot produce the required friction coefficient required, it can mean lost braking power and risky driving. That should never be let to happen.
After reading through this brake rotor pad guide, you are now knowledgeable in the functioning of brake pads. This should help you to ensure the pads are working correctly every time you drive, which is essential for every vehicle owner.
You know where these components are located, what causes them to wear out or get damaged and. The symptoms of bad brake pads, too, so you can quickly take action to restore the working of the braking system. If taken care of, brake rotor pads can last for a long time while ensuring efficient braking throughout.