How to Buy Good Quality Brake Pads

Brake pads sound cushy - however they’re anything but soft and snuggly. These components attach to the brake calipers in order to stop the discs (also known as rotors). The calipers squeeze the pads against the discs, which are mounted next to the tires, and this brings the whole operation to a halt when you press the brake pedal.

All this squeezing eventually causes the brake pads to wear down, and they’ll typically need replacing every 30,000-70,000 miles give or take, depending upon the usage and types of pads. Your brake pads need replacing when you hear that telltale squeal or squeak indicating the friction of metal-on-metal.

There are three different kinds of pads and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

  • Organic: These brake pads were developed when health concerns arose surrounding the original disc brake pad material – asbestos. Organic pads are made of a composite of varying materials that may include rubber, glass, carbon, fiber and more. They’re affordable and quiet, but don’t last as long as other types.

  • Semi-metallic: These are made up of iron, copper, steel, or other metal, combined with fillers and a graphite lubricant. Semi-metallic brake pads perform better than organic, and do a good job drawing heat away from the discs. They’re more expensive, and noisier, than organic.

  • Ceramic: The newest of the players in the brake pad field, coming onto the scene in the 1980s, ceramic brake pads are made up of hardened ceramic material that’s combined with copper fibers. Ceramic lasts the longest and is quiet. However, ceramic pads don’t perform as well as semi-metallic in cold climates and also are the priciest.

Things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting high quality brake pads:

  • Consider aftermarket: This is one of the few parts for which OEM may not trump aftermarket in quality. Many cars come off the line with organic pads which are the lowest performers and least enduring. There is a wide variety of quality brands and types to choose from.

  • Go with a trusted name brand: Brakes are one of those systems in your car that you want to make absolutely sure of getting genuine, high quality replacements.

  • Check the warranty: It may be hard to believe but you can get warranties on brake pads. AutoZone is famous for their extremely liberal warranty/return policy on brake pads. They even offer a lifetime replacement policy on some brands, so check first to see which the best warranty for the price is.

  • Certification: Look for D3EA (Differential Effectiveness Analysis) and BEEP (Brake Effectiveness Evaluation Procedures) certifications. These assure you that the brake pads meet certain minimum standards.

YourMechanic supplies top-quality brake pads to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a brake pad that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on brake pad replacement.


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Recent Brake Pad Replacement reviews

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Chuck

10 years of experience
347 reviews
Chuck
10 years of experience
Acura RDX V6-3.5L - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Plano, Texas
Very professional. Was running late from previous job and called ahead to let me know. Worked efficiently. So nice not to have to drive far and sit in a waiting room for hours to get the job done.
Toyota Highlander - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Rowlett, Texas
Chuck was great! We talked via phone to discuss the available options to repair my Highlander. He worked with me to schedule a time that was convenient for me, and he arrived early for the appointment. He walked me through some of the other issues that exist on my 2008 Highlander which has 223k miles. His feedback on my car was clear and easy to understand.

Pardeep

21 years of experience
1068 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper L4-1.6L - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Sunnyvale, California
Pardeep was prompt and communicated well during the whole process. He completed the service in record time.
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Jose, California
Pardeep was on time for the appt, actually early, and finished quickly and efficiently. Thank you very much.

Refugio

21 years of experience
106 reviews
Refugio
21 years of experience
Toyota Sienna V6-3.5L - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - San Antonio, Texas
Refugio is our top choice mechanic! He works with you and came early since we were available. He is honest about the work that needs to be done and we have never had trouble with our vehicles after his repairs.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - San Antonio, Texas
He was respectful, prompt, courteous, and professional. He is a no nonsense guy who did the job above my expectations and is the standard from which all other mechanics are judged by (in my book)

Raymond

27 years of experience
223 reviews
Raymond
27 years of experience
Mini Cooper L4-1.6L - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Victorville, California
Raymond was great! I didn't feel like his recommendations for other services are forced which I really appreciate. Will definitely use his services again!

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Related questions

I have a 2013 BMW M5 41.5kmi on it: is it necessary to replace rotors when replacing brake pads?
Thanks for writing in about your BMW M5. The rotors should be checked to be correct thickness. They should only be replaced if they're damaged or below the minimum thickness. If you're unsure if you're rotors need to be replaced,...
Vibrating when I stop 2007 Chrysler Pacifica
Hello - if you mean that the vibration occurs while braking, irregular brake pad deposits on the rotors (sometimes referred to as "warped rotors" (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/symptoms-of-a-bad-or-failing-brake-rotor-disc)) are the likely cause. Worn suspension struts and/or loose steering links make this problem worse....
When l start my car and put it in drive, l hear this horn noise coming from my back tires. Please help.
The noise is coming from your rear brakes. If your vehicle has rotors on the rear, then the noise you heard is your pads vibrating. You may need to replace the rear calipers (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/brake-caliper-replacement) and keep the shims that fill...

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