4 Types of Brake Pads to be Aware Of

January 27, 2012

If it's time to replace the brake pads on your vehicle, you'll need to know what type of brake pads your vehicle uses before you go out and purchase them. So, here's a quick list of the 4 main types of brake pads that are commonly used in today's vehicles.

Semi Metallic Brake Pads

These types of brake pads are made from about 30% to 65% metal, and are commonly made out of steel wool, wire, copper or other metal materials. These types of brake pads are considered to be very durable, but also may wear brake rotors faster. Also, semi-metallic brake pads may not function well in very low temperatures.

Non-Asbestos Organic

This type of brake pad, commonly referred to as NAO, is made from organic materials such as fiber, glass, rubber and even Kevlar. These types of t pads are usually softer and don't create much noise, but they tend to wear faster and create a lot of dust.

Low-Metallic NAO

These are made primarily from an organic formula mixture with small amounts of copper or steel added to help with heat transfer and provide better braking. Because of the added metal, there is usually a considerable amount of brake dust and these pads are often noisy.

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads are composed primarily of ceramic fibers and other filler materials. While ceramic brake pads are usually more expensive than other types of pads, they are cleaner and produce much lower noise levels. Also, they provide for excellent braking and don't cause a lot of wear on the brake rotors.


Related Questions and Answers

Do You Need to Apply Grease When Changing a Brake Pad?

Grease is one of the items needed in the changing brake pad process. It is however very important to point out that the grease is applied on the back side of the brake pads only. Greasing the front of the pads will reduce the efficiency of your brakes and you should take great care to avoid this. The grease is applied on the back of the brake pads to deal with brake squealing. It is recommended that you use copper dry grease, as this type of grease is able to withstand the high pressures and temperatures of the braking system. The grease also helps in dealing with rust and corrosion.

Can You Repair a Brake Pad?

Your car braking system is critical to safe driving and you should not attempt to do a brake pad repair at any time. You need to have your brakes on peak performance at all times. When you have an issue with your brake pads, you can either have them adjusted or replaced. A set of brake pads will normally cost you very little money. Attempting to repair them will be a very unwise decision, since you will be making a minimal saving while taking a huge risk on your life, as well as those of other road users. If your brake pads are worn, the proper thing to do is have them replaced as a set, so as to have peace of mind while driving.

What do Brake Pad Shims Do?

Brake pad shims are thin metal or rubber strips that fit between the brake pads and rotors to deal with the small inconsistencies in between the two surfaces, and facilitate firm braking while dealing with rattling or other noises in the brakes. Brake pad shims are comparable to fillers that are placed between two surfaces to ensure a smooth yet solid connection. This is necessary for your braking system and ensures your brakes last longer. The fact that they deal with noise is evidence of their life prolonging attribute, as any noise from your car that is not normal to the smooth running of the vehicle is an indicator of wear. Brake pad shims work to prevent this excessive wear. 

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