It’s important to know which brake pads are best for you, considering that they are only the most vital system on your automobile. A lot relies on the hard work they constantly perform for you. Sometimes taken for granted, they could potentially save your life, and the life of your family. So what is it that we’re actually buying when we purchase a set of brakes for our vehicles? There are 4 basic types of brake pads: semi-metallic, non-asbestos organic, low-metallic NAO and ceramic.
4 Types of Brake Pads:
1. Semi-metallic brake pad – Semi-metallic brake pads generally consist of anywhere between 30 to 65 percent metal material which may include steel wool bits or wire, iron powder, graphite or copper mixed with inorganic fillers, and friction modifiers that hold that whole recipe together. This is the most common type of brake pad and for years the majority of automobiles used this type of friction material due to their durability. Another positive is their superior brake heat transfer capabilities. However, they tend to wear down brake rotors quickly, have noise issues, and don’t always perform as well till they are warmed up.
2. Non-asbestos organic brake pad – Typically this type of brake pad is simply known as "organic brake pads" or "NAO brake pads" for short. This brake pad material is made from such items as rubber, glass, carbon and Kevlar fibers, with filler materials and high-temperature brake pad resins. Much softer than their semi-metallic counterparts, these brake pads boast lower noise complaints and less wear to each brake rotor. The downfall of these brake pads is that they wear much faster and create a lot of brake dust build-up on the wheels, and they don’t stop your car as well.
3. Low-metallic NAO – As the name suggests, these pads are made from an organic compound mixed with minimal amounts of copper or steel. Generally they contain more than 10 percent but less than 30 percent metal. The metal in these pads provides better heat transfer and braking distances. However, this also makes the pads noisier than their organic counterparts, but not quite as dusty.
4. Ceramic brake pad – Growing more and more popular on today’s vehicles, these brake pads are put together with ceramic fibers, a variety of bonding and filler materials and sometimes even small amounts of metal. No two compositions are exactly alike except for the fact that they contain a ceramic material. Ceramic brake pads are create the least brake dust, are quiet brake pads, and offer the best braking characteristics without wearing down the rotors like the other braking compounds. These brakes don’t brake as well until they are warmed up.
The brake system is the most important safety feature on your vehicle. Talk with your auto mechanic about which brake pad will work best for you. However inconvenient it may be to have them checked, it would be much more inconvenient if they failed. Whenever uncertain about your automobile, have a qualified automotive technician check it out. Your life and your family’s life ride on it.