Comparing Types Of Brake Pads For Your Car

When you take your car in for brake service, you actually have a choice in the types of brake pads used. If you don't ask for a certain type of pad, the brake shop will use general-purpose pads that work for most types of driving in your local weather conditions. Here is how the two major kinds of brake pads compare and why you might choose one over the other.

Semi-Metallic Pads

This pad contains small metal fibers in a resin material to hold them together. The common metals found in these pads include steel, copper, iron and graphite. The size of the metal fibers affect the price of these pads. Expensive brake pads contain very fine metal fibers which wear down your rotors more slowly. Inexpensive pads contain more coarse metal fibers that wear out your brakes faster.

Semi-metallic pads are the standard pads used if you don't specify a preference. These work well in all weather types and temperature extremes. The combination of metals and size of the metal fibers create a range of pads good for normal, everyday driving and pulling heavy trailers. These are the preferred brake pads when towing heavy trailers because the pads don't need to be warmed up to be efficient.

The metal makes these pads noisier than other designs. The metal fibers wear down and create a fine black dust which coats wheel surfaces. This is especially noticeable on custom metal wheels. If you have a car with custom wheels that you just drive around town occasionally, you may want to look at the next brake pad design to minimize the dust on the wheels.

Ceramic Pads

Ceramic and non-metallic fibers are combined in a resin to form these brake pads. These are the cleanest and quietest brake pads, and the most expensive.

The materials in ceramic pads wear out more slowly than semi-metallic pads, so you get more miles between brake jobs. They are quieter than other pads and create less dust. These are good pads for luxury cars driven under normal conditions.

These are not good pads when carrying heavy loads or towing trailers. The pads themselves have a longer lifespan than semi-metallic, but they cause more wear on the rotors. You may need more frequent brake inspections. These are also more expensive than the top of the line semi-metallic pads.

Match your brake pads with your driving habits and the type of car you drive to have a better driving experience. For more information and advice, speak with professionals like Buettner Tire & Auto.