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The Best Brake Pads: Buyers Guide

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When shopping for the best car brake pads, there are several factors to consider. You’ll want to decide which type of brake pad is best for your needs and to pick a brake pad that fits your specific car.


The brake pads you purchase must be designed for your vehicle’s make, model, and year. You can read the description of the brake pads to see if your car is listed or you can input your vehicle’s information into the window that pops up on Amazon, and Amazon will tell you if the pads work for your car.

Pad Type

There are two types of car brake pads: drums and discs.

Drums were the first type of brake pad created for vehicles. The braking components are housed in a drum that spins along with the wheel. When the brake pedal is pressed, components called shoes are pressed against the drum to slow the wheel.

The major downside to this type of pad is that they heat up quickly. The hotter the drums are, the less friction they can produce, which decreases how well the pads can slow the wheels. This is called brake fade.

Discs are a modern alternative to drums. When you put your foot on the brake pedal, the discs come into contact with the brake rotors. This amount of pressure and friction on the rotors causes the wheels to stop moving, which stops your car.

Front or Rear

This factor ties into the type of pad. Because each type has its strengths and weaknesses, most modern cars use both. They will have disc pads in the front and drum pads in the back. High-performance cars sometimes have all disc pads for better braking and an emergency drum brake, and classic cars will have all drum pads.

The key takeaway is to make sure you know whether you’re buying brake pads for the front or rear of your car because they may be different.

Material Type

Semi-metallic brake pads are usually 30 to 60 percent metal with added organic or mineral components. This type of brake pad works well in situations that require heavy braking and they function in all weather conditions. These brake pads also last a long time. However, they wear down the rotors faster, are noisier, and create more brake dust.

Low-metallic brake pads have very low thermal attenuation and good inhibition. Even if the temperature of the brake disc is as high as 600 degrees, the brake pad can still ensure that the vehicle has good braking performance to ensure safety. The metal content of this brake pad is lower than the semi-metal brake pad, reducing the noise caused by friction, but its wear resistance is relatively poor.

Ceramic pads are made from a material that is fired in a kiln. Ceramic brake pads have the opposite qualities as semi-metallic pads, meaning that they do not function well for heavy braking and wear down faster. Similar to organic pads they manage heat well, create less brake dust, and offer quiet operation. They also tend to be more expensive than other options.


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