How Do I Choose the Right Brake Pads?

How Do I Choose the Right Brake Pads?

Our technicians at Mountain View Automotive in Thornton get asked all the time how do I choose the right brake pads? We know it can be confusing. But that’s what we’re here for. We can explain which ones will work the best with your vehicle, your driving requirements, and your budget.

Bonded or Riveted
Brake pads, which need to have a softer friction material attached to a stronger metal backing plate, can use bonded (with an adhesive) or riveted (with high strength rivets) friction material.

Riveted lasts a little bit longer because as the friction material wears down, the rivets make contact with the brake rotors or drums and making a squealing sound when you brake. When you hear the squeal it means you need new brakes. If you don’t bring it in for new brakes it can ruin your rotors or drums.

With bonded, the pads wear down right to the backing plate which increases the chance of damaging your rotors and drums the moment you first hear the metal on metal grinding noise.

Driving Requirements
You should consider your driving requirements and how you use your brakes, including:

  • Do you mind if your brakes squeal a little?
  • Do you need to pull a trailer?
  • Do you have to drive through deep puddles?
  • Do you do mountain driving?
  • Do you live in a hot climate?
  • What kind of traffic do you have to drive in?

After considering the type of driving you do, you will then be able to better choose the right brake pad materials for your needs. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Organic brake pad material extends the life of other brake components but doesn’t really give superior braking when pulling a trailer or traveling long downhill routes. Organic brake material also loses quite a bit of braking capacity when it gets wet.
  • Semi-metallic is usually a better choice. It’s a composite of soft metals which are embedded in the friction material to enhance braking. The downside is that it wears out the rotors or drums a little quicker than the organic materials. Semi-metallic brake pads are good for regular driving. They are often the choice for commuter vehicles, and they’re affordable. Lots of new vehicles come with semi-metallic pads and are what many car manufacturers recommend.
  • Fully metallic brake pads costs a little bit more but offer better quality and braking efficiency. They are good in almost any conditions, but fully metallic pads can wear out the rotors and drums faster.
  • Ceramic brake pads are the most expensive but provide the longest life and the best warranty. They can handle hot temperatures with very little fading, and they don’t lose braking power when they get wet.

One last word on the matter – while it may cost a little more, we highly recommend that you go with quality brake pads. Don’t go cheap on something that can be the difference between life and death.

When you bring your car in, our technicians at Mountain View Automotive in Thornton will consider the type of vehicle you have and the type of driving you do, and answer your question how do I choose the right brake pads? We are trained and experienced and will pair you with the right brake pads so you’ll be safe and able to stop when you need to – rain or shine, mountain or city driving.