You may not know that when you take your car in for brake service, you have a choice in the type of brake pads installed on your car. Most auto shops use a standard brake pad that is good for average road conditions and driving. But you may have a special need for which a different kind of brake pad would work better. Here are the choices you have the next time you have brake work done on your car.
Semi-metallic brake pads
These are the standard pads used by brake shops around the country. They are made by binding small pieces of metal together in a resin base. The typical metals used include steel, iron, copper and graphite. The pads can use one metal or be a combination of different metal fibers.
The quality of these pads vary by the size of the metal fibers. Large, coarse metal fibers are used in the least expensive pads. These pads also create the most noise and wear down the rotors faster. Pads that use finer fibers are quieter and more expensive.
All semi-metallic pads create a fine black dust that coats the wheels and other surfaces of the car. They also need to warm up to be at their peak performance.
Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO)
These pads contain no metal. Fibers of rubber, glass and Kevlar are bound in a resin base to create them. These pads are quieter than semi-metallic pads. They still produce a fine dust on the wheels. These brake pads need little warming up to work well and they have a softer touch. They are suited to urban driving where there is a lot of stop-and-go traffic and short trips. These pads are more expensive than the semi-metallic variety and they do wear out a little faster.
This pad combines the NAO pad with small metallic fibers. The metal gives firmer braking and does a better job of keeping the brakes cool than the pure NAO pads. They do produce more noise and dust than the NAO pads. These pads work better in temperature extremes. They have a longer life than NAO pads and are more expensive.
Ceramic fibers embedded in resin are used to make these brake pads. They wear out slowly and produce very little dust. They do wear down the rotors faster than other pads and are the most expensive pads available. They work best at moderate temperatures. These pads are good for city driving and on luxury cars where you don't want the fine dust building up on the wheels.
If you need to have your car's brakes serviced, look for a company like Alignment Center to do the work for you.