Best Brake Pads

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018

Brake pads are one of the most important parts your vehicle needs. You can use our shopping guide to find the best brake pads around.

BEST BRAKE
PAD 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Included in this set is a lubricant that makes installing and using the pads easy. Bosch guarantees that the rubber core and other elements will make the pads perform smoothly and quietly.

PROS

Bosch designed these pads to stop your tires quickly and to help your vehicle run more smoothly. Each pad features a rubber core with an aerospace alloy added over the top for lasting performance.

CONS

Bosch only gives you one sensor instead of giving you one for each pad. You might notice that the pads sound louder than your old ones did.

BOTTOM LINE

Designed to fit different vehicles, these street performance pads will make you feel like a street racer. The set comes with a compound that prevents wear and tear from routine driving and helps the pads wear out smoothly.

PROS

The backing plates used to create these pads ensure that each one will fit perfectly on your vehicle. These pads also feature a compound that allows the pads to wear down evenly.

CONS

You may find that you need to press down harder on your brake to feel any response from these pads. The set also produces a lot of noises.

BOTTOM LINE

Many customers like that AC Delco put these brake pads through a variety of tests to ensure that they operated smoothly and effectively. You might like the limited vibrations and noises produced too.

PROS

This set went through a number of tests to ensure that the pads would wear evenly and not produce a lot of noise. The chamfers and other components work well to cut down on vibrations and sounds.

CONS

Some customers received packages that included used parts. We also found reviews from customers who claimed the set didn’t fit their vehicles.

BOTTOM LINE

With both metallic and organic materials used in each brake pad, this set is suitable for most drivers and vehicles. You may experience some minor issues until you break in the pads though.

PROS

Made from organic and metallic materials, these brake pads run quietly to help you stop without hearing any screeching sounds. The manufacturer designed this set to wear less on your rotors too.

CONS

These pads may not fit all makes and models listed in the product description. They can produce more dust than you expected also.

BOTTOM LINE

Anyone who drives often and regularly will like this set of brake pads designed for use on front wheels. Not only do you get durable brake pads, but you get a hardware kit and a brake lubricant.

PROS

Made from a combination of ceramic and carbon fiber materials, these pads evolved from the old designs used in the past. The set comes with a kit that includes both lubricant and extra hardware.

CONS

These pads will wear out quickly when used on race cars. Some drivers may find that their brakes screech when they come to a stop also.

Shopping Guide for the Best Brake Pads

No matter how old your vehicle is, you’ll need to replace the brake pads every now and then. When you read the manual that came with your car, you can find out exactly when to replace those pads. It’s important that you buy the best brake pads for 2018 because these parts play a key role in a few different things. The best brake pads will help your vehicle handle better on the open road and when you drive on crowded highways and city streets. New pads can also help you more easily handle your vehicle and maneuver it wherever you want to go.

Finding the top brake pads for 2018 that will work on your vehicle is easy when you use our shopping guide. We want to provide you with absolutely everything you need to know about brake pads. You’ll find out the different types that you can buy and whether you should go with OEM parts or pads from another company. Our shopping guide to the top pads will even help you decide how much you should spend before you start shopping. After using our product matrix to learn the ins and outs of the top five pads, you can check out all the other sections of our guide.

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Shopping Guide for the Best Brake Pads

Shopping Guide for the Best Men's Slippers

When you come home after a long day of work, you probably look forward to getting off your feet. Even if you spend much of the day sitting in front of a computer, you just want to relax and unwind. Finding the best men’s slippers for you can help you unwind faster. You might prefer a pair with a special type of tread on the bottom that will keep from sliding as you walk outside to pick up your newspaper. Other guys prefer pairs that have a thicker lining inside and an open back that they can get on faster. We found the best men’s slippers for 2018 that will meet your needs and match your personal sense of style.

Shopping Guide for the Best Men's Slippers

Our shopping guide to the top men’s slippers of 2018 doesn’t just feature a few pairs and links to where you can buy them like other shopping guides do. We actually go into depth about why you need slippers and how you can take care of the pair that you buy. You’ll also find helpful info on how much the more popular pairs cost and what makes one pair better than another. Once you finish this guide, you’ll be an expert on slippers.

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Selection Criteria

When a neighbor’s cat runs out in front of your car, you must hit the brakes and come to a complete stop. You’ll also use your brakes to avoid an accident when vehicles in front of you come to an unexpected stop. We know just how important finding the right set of brake pads for your car is, which is why we created this shopping guide. Though you can take your car to a mechanic and have a professional change those pads for you, you can also do the job at home. Even if you don’t feel confident in your own mechanical skills, you can purchase brake pads online and save some money.

Brake Pads Selection Criteria

Our shopping guide to the best brake pads is the best place to start your search. As you already noticed in the product matrix at the top of the page, we found the five best sets. When you read through this guide, you’ll find in-depth product descriptions for each set that will go beyond what you see in that matrix. We also compiled the most information about brake pads, including the materials used in those pads and the cost of those sets. To find the best brake pads for any of your vehicles, just keep reading.

In-Depth Product Description_ Bosch BC905 Quiet Cast Premium Disc Brake Set

Bosch has a great reputation for the auto parts that it makes, including its line of disc brakes such as the BC905 set. Each set comes with the four brake pads that you need on your vehicle. You can opt for a different set that comes with a fluid designed specifically for those brakes. This set costs just a little more. Bosch gives you all the stopping power that you want with this set. When properly installed, the pads will help you come to a complete stop without hearing any screeching noises and without your tires spinning. A small number of reviewers found that this set was louder than their old ones though.

We like that this set uses both copper material and an aerospace alloy. That alloy is exactly the same as the one used on aircraft today. Beneath the alloy exterior is a core made from rubber that cushions the brakes to help them stop on a dime. This set also provides the friction necessary to stop your tires on both wet and dry roads. Bosch also added a transfer layer to each brake pad, which extends the life of the pad and makes your rotors last longer.

Signs That You Need New Brake Pads

The most common sign that you need new brake pads is when your current brakes begin producing a loud noise when you come to a stop. You might hear these noises when you slam on your brakes because of an obstacle in the road ahead or when you slow down to make a turn. The most common sound is a screeching noise. You may also hear a squealing noise. Those sounds can worsen because the brake pads wore down and now there are two pieces of metal rubbing against each other.

Another sign that you might need new brake pads is when you find that you must exert more pressure on your brakes just to stop. When you install new brakes and other parts, you need to bleed the brakes first. This requires that you push down on the brake pedal multiple lines to drain the old fluid. This also ensures that the pads, rotors and other parts will work when you hit the open road. If the pads are too worn down, you may need to push the brake pedal all the way down to the floor before your car comes to a stop. If you aren’t sure if you need to install new pads, you can ask a licensed mechanic for help.

Signs That You Need New Brake Pads

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a New Mechanic

  • Amount of experience
  • Number of years in business
  • Better Business Bureau affiliated
  • If estimates are available

Brake pads are essentially pads that work with your brakes and protect them from damage. The rotor is the portion of the braking system that spins. If you do not have pads, the rotor will keep spinning each time that you apply pressure. The metal will eventually wear down over time. If you do not have pads, the rotor will wear down even faster. The pads have some type of textured surface that creates friction against the rotor. When you stop on your brake pedal, it sends a signal to the rotor and tells it to spin. The pad will rub against the rotor and slow it down before bringing it to a total stop.

Most vehicles today feature disc brakes, which are more effective and will last longer than older designs. Some vehicles still use drum brakes. You may have a newer model vehicle that has disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the back. Most cars today only use disc brakes though. That is why it’s so important that you know the make and model of your vehicle as well as its year. If you purchase the wrong type of pads, the set may not fit on your vehicle.

What are Brake Pads

If you ever wanted to feel like Vin Diesel when driving to work, these Street Performance brake pads from StopTech will help you live out your fantasies. This set comes with four pads and detailed instructions for those who want to install the pads on their own. You can also pay a mechanic to have the pads professionally installed for you. Designed specifically for street racers, this set stands up well to light racing on most city streets. You can also use this set when racing on different types of tracks. StopTech also designed this set for everyday driving and those who want better stopping power.

In-Depth Product Description_StopTech Street Performance Front Brake Pad

Those these brake pads do not fit all vehicles from all manufacturers, they will fit most cars. Each one has a scorched surface that gives you more stopping power and helps you come to a total stop faster. The pads produce less dust than other models do, which will extend the life of your rotors. This set also has a precision fit and produces less noise. StopTech added shims that will also cut down on the vibrations produced as you drive and stop. A small number of customers didn’t like the sounds that this set produced though.

Types of Brake Pads

Whether you buy online or purchase from a local auto shop, it’s important that you do more than just consider your budget. You must think about the best type of brake pads for you based on the age of your car as well as your budget. We also recommend checking out the manual that came with your vehicle. Auto manufacturers will usually recommend the types of replacement parts that you should use and when you should replace those parts. Before we get into the ins and outs of buying new brake pads, we wanted to go over the leading types that you can buy.

Standard Brake Pads

Types of Brake Pads - Standard Brake Pads

When you need new brake pads and can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a set, you might consider a standard set. The term standard comes from the fact that these sets are average in terms of both price and design. You’ll get the braking and stopping power that you want, but you may not get the durability that you need. Standard sets might last for a few months but will break down faster than some of the other types can. You may need to spend more money over time to replace those pads.

Original Equipment Brake Pads

Types of Brake Pads - Original Equipment Brake Pads

You’ll come across the term OE and the term OEM when shopping for brake pads. OE stands for original equipment, while OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. Both terms refer to brake pads and sets produced by the same companies that make cars. These products can also come from companies that have official authorization from auto manufacturers to make parts. You’ll find brake pads designed for specific vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Ford and other car companies. Some OE parts are also suitable for specific models or years of vehicles. Though OE brake pads are more expensive than standard models, they will last longer.

Premium Brake Pads

Types of Brake Pads - Premium Brake Pads

A step up from OE brake pads are the premium pads that some companies make. You’ll also find ultra-premium brake pads available for select makes and models. Premium sets have a unique design that allows a steady stream of air to flow over the brakes, which will keep them from burning out. The pads can last up to twice as long as others do and will reduce wear and tear on your rotors too. Ultra-premium brake pads will last even longer and do a better job of protecting the rotors. While premium pads are more expensive, ultra-premium pads can cost even more.

Performance Brake Pads

Types of Brake Pads - Performance Brake Pads

If you want to drift around corners and make sharp turns without slamming on your brakes, you should consider performance brake pads. Also called racing pads and severe or heavy duty brake pads, these are sets designed for those who drive at fast speeds and need to make sudden stops. Performance pads are also suitable for those who drive in extreme conditions, including in climates where temperatures are extremely high or low and those who carry heavy loads. These pads often go through more testing than the other types do.

Brake Kits

Types of Brake Pads - Brake Kits

Depending on where you buy your brake pads, you may have the option of purchasing a brake kit. This is a kit that comes with the exact number and type of brake pads that you need and want. Kits are best for those who need to replace more than just their pads though because most sets come with rotors and other parts. One benefit of buying a kit is that you can select different types of pads for your front and rear brakes. Most kids also come with hardware and lubricants too.

How Do You Use Your Vehicle?

With so many different styles of brake pads out there from so many different companies, the sheer number of choices can seem overwhelming. A good way to figure out which pair or set will work best for your vehicle is with a look at how you primarily use your vehicle. Many shoppers need a replacement set for vehicles that they drive to work every day and for running errands around town. OEM and standard pads are suitable for commuters.

If you need brake pads for a truck or an SUV that you use for towing, you need stronger pads made from metallic or semi-metallic materials. These pads are strong enough to support the weight of your vehicle and anything you tow and will not screech or shake when you stop.

There are also brake pads available for off-road vehicles. You might have an old pickup truck that you and your friends use to drive through the woods. Off-road brake pads are suitable for that truck. We also recommend looking at both racing and performance brake pads. Performance models help you get more out of any vehicle while racing pads are suitable for both road and course races. You must consider how you use your vehicle before buying a pair of pads.

How Do You Use Your Vehicle

How to Check for Wear and Tear on Your Brake Pads

  • Listen for any grinding or other unusual sounds that you hear when applying the brakes
  • Pay attention to the way your vehicle feels and if it shakes or vibrates when you stop
  • Look at your dashboard to see if any indicator or warning lights come on
  • Check your pads for signs of wear and tear at least once a year

No matter how much experience you have with car repairs, you probably know the name AC Delco. We choose the Professional Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set from the company because of the high reviews that it got from customers online. The manufacturer puts each set through rigorous testing before sending them out, which lets you know that this set will work effectively with your car. This set also goes through extensive testing to ensure that the pads wear out evenly and that they won’t produce a lot of sounds and vibrations that can shake your whole car.

In-Depth Product Description_ AC Delco Professional Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set

Made from a variety of materials, including both ceramics and some alloys, this set is suitable for different types of drivers. Each pad features a carefully designed backing plate with a layer of friction material on top. The manufacturer actually molds those pieces together to ensure that they do not come loose from each other. You’ll also notice that the backing plate itself has a stamped design, which keeps the pads from wearing out. That design also reduces the vibrations that your brakes produce when you come to a sudden or slow stop. AC Delco gives you a good warranty on this set and lets you exchange or return the set if it doesn’t fit your vehicle.

Which Material is Best?

Though you should consider the age of your vehicle and its make and model, you also need to think about which material will work best for your vehicle. We recommend that you consider each type of material carefully in terms of how much that material will affect the price of the brake pads and whether one material is better for your car. The companies that make brake pads typically make them out of one of three materials. You can use the info below to see the pros and cons of each material and what goes into the process of making each one.

Organic Materials

Many people claim that brake pads made from organic materials are better than any other type. Those who are against these pads often include shoppers who heard about the dangers of asbestos before. Though manufacturers once used asbestos, they now use organic materials that include carbon fiber and rubber. Manufacturers stopped using asbestos in the 1970s, though it took some companies until the 1980s to stop. Brake pads can also use other organic materials such as glass. While these pads are often cheaper than other types and run fairly quietly, you won’t get as much wear out of a set.

Metallic and Semi-Metallic

Brake pads made from metallic and semi-metallic materials are popular with drivers and mechanics today because these materials are durable and will last a long time. Metallic pads use only metals such as steel and copper. As the friction created by those metals rubbing against each other can produce loud noises, many companies now use semi-metallic materials that mix the metal with other compounds. You might find steel or copper brake pads that feature filler materials added to the compound or pads that have a lubricant applied to the surface of the metal. These pads last longer than organic ones do but are more expensive.

Ceramic

Many of the brake pads that we looked at when creating our list feature ceramic materials. Manufacturers began using these materials in the 1980s after learning about the dangers of asbestos and researching new materials that would work in brake pads. Companies typically mix the ceramic material with copper or carbon fibers that made it more durable. Ceramic brake pads are popular with shoppers who want pads that will last for years and will run quietly. The main downside is that ceramic pads do not work well in cold weather. Cold temperatures can actually make the ceramic break. You’ll find that ceramic brake pads are the most expensive too.

WARNING

If you purchase an older or vintage auto and worry that it might have older brake pads made from asbestos, consult with a mechanic before attempting to remove those pads. Any of the tools that you use can break the pads and release the asbestos particles into the air. Breathing or inhaling those particles can make you sick.

Before you buy new brake pads, make sure that you look at the warranty that comes with the set. Most manufacturers offer either a limited lifetime warranty or a lifetime warranty on those parts. A limited lifetime warranty covers only certain things. This will typically only cover manufacturer error or damage that occurred during the shipping process. A lifetime warranty will cover more things and will last for the life of the brake pads.

It’s important that you understand what lifetime means to manufacturers also. This term does not refer to your lifespan. You shouldn’t expect to use the same pads for decades and then request a full refund later. Manufacturers generally use this term to describe the expected lifetime of the pads. The warranty may only last the first 12,000 to 25,000 miles that you drive after putting the pads on your car. Companies will often tell you how long the warranty lasts before you buy.

You should also look at the return policy of the shop or site where you buy your pads from too. We included links to these brake pads on Amazon because it has such a strong return policy. You can often return your brake pads for a full refund without going through the manufacturer.

Lifetime vs. Limited Lifetime Warranty

Expert Tip

If you put thousands of miles on your vehicle every year, consider buying brake pads with an extended warranty available. You can pay extra to get more coverage.

In-Depth Product Description_ Akebono ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set

Many drivers who do their own repairs at home want brake pads that they can easily install. That is why so many drivers choose the ProACT set from Akebono. Designed for those who want to upgrade to a better braking system, this set uses a combination of both organic and metallic materials. While some drivers found that they pads kicked up more dust than their older pads did, most found that this is a good quality set. We added it to our list of the best brake pads because it has a large number of positive online reviews and a relatively small number of negative reviews.

As an ultra-premium set, these brake pads run much smoother than others do and run more quietly too. Not only do they produce less noise, but you may find that your car shakes less also. Though some customers found that they needed to break in the pads over time, a large number of users claimed that the pads required no break-in time and that they worked properly right away. We like that this set uses some ceramic materials in addition to metallic materials. Ceramic brake pads will not wear down your rotors as quickly as other kinds can.

Certification Status

You should never purchase brake pads without first making sure that the set has at least one type of certification. One of the more common types of certification is something called Differential Effectiveness Analysis. Also called D3EA, this lets you know that the brake pads meet the standards for this type of certification. Another important certification to look for is something called Brake Effectiveness Evaluation Procedures. Also known as BEEP, this tells you how effective the brake pads will work when installed on your vehicle. BEEP certification also lets you know that the pads went through and passed an extensive amount of testing.

Most product descriptions will include information about any certifications that a brake pad set has. You can also read through those descriptions to find out more about the testing that different manufacturers use. The top brake pads will go through both mileage and usage testing. This tells you how many miles the pads can go before they need replacing and whether the pads will stand up to use on different types of roads. You may want to find out if the manufacturer tested those pads in different climates and at different temperatures, especially if you live in a region with both hot and cold weather.

Certification Status

Simple Brake Repairs That You Can Do On Your Own

  • Replace the rotor
  • Pad replacement
  • Bleed brakes of excess or old fluids
  • Install new calipers

What Type of Car Do You Drive?

The amount of force that it takes to bring a vehicle to a complete stop depends on the overall weight of that vehicle. A large pickup with a bed full of logs will take more force to stop than an economy car with a single person inside will. You must consider both the weight and the size of your vehicle when buying new brake pads.

  • Compact cars will work well with lighter brake pads made from ceramic materials. If you have a compact or economy car and buy ceramic pads, you should be aware that those pads can produce quite a bit of dust.
  • Sports cars require either performance or semi-metallic brake pads. These pads allow those vehicles to come down to a lower speed much faster without kicking up debris that can prevent drivers from seeing clearly.
  • Trucks and SUVs do best with severe duty and ultra-premium brake pads. Even if you drive in an SUV without any passengers or cargo, the weight of that vehicle will affect how quickly you can stop. Any larger vehicle needs thicker brake pads.
  • If you have a sedan or any larger car, you can use almost any type of brake pads. Both semi-metallic and ceramic pads will work well.
What Type of Car Do You Drive

Thanks to Power Stop, the next evolution in brake pads is here. The Z23 Sport Brake Pads are pads that work just as well on those days when you need to pick up groceries as those times when you want to compete in a street race or on the track. These pads use a combination of carbon fiber and ceramic materials to give you the stopping power that you need on a wet road. Power Stop actually took standard ceramic brake pads and infused a carbon fiber material inside. This process ensures that the brake pads will last for hundreds of miles or more.

In-Depth Product Description_ Power Stop Z23 Evolution Sport Brake Pads

One of the top features that many customers like about this set is that the backing plates have a powder coated material. This material makes the back plates last longer because it keeps the metal from rusting when exposed to any type of moisture such as rain or snow. You’ll also notice shims on each pad made from rubber. Those shims keep the metal parts from grinding against each other and producing loud noises when you stop. Power Stop also gives you a hardware kit and some lubricant with the Z23 set of brake pads.

What to Avoid When Buying Brake Pads

  • Pushy sales tactics: When you shop for new brake pads at a local auto parts store, you might encounter a few pushy salespeople who use tactics to make you spend money on the spot. Any person who keeps telling you to buy one set over another without giving you any specific reasons is someone who just wants to make a big sale.
  • Low prices: You can look at our price section to see how much it will cost to purchase a set of brake pads. Most sets retail for between $50 and $125, which lets you know how much you should spend. You should avoid any products priced well below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
  • Packaging with little information: We also recommend that you avoid any brake pads that come in boxes or packaging without much information on the sides. While you might not see everything you need to know on the outside, the packaging should contain more than just an image of the brake pads and the name of the product.
  • Untested pads: You should also avoid any brake pads that did not go through any type of testing. The Department of Transportation (DOT) does testing on brake pads sold in the United States. When you buy pads, they must meet DOT standards.
What to Avoid When Buying Brake Pads

Let’s say that you buy a keyboard piano and want some help learning how to play simple songs. Bundles that come with teaching tools will include workbooks that show you proper finger placement and fingering techniques. You can follow along in those books until you feel confident in your skills and ready to move up to more advanced exercises. Some bundles come with teaching tools that you can use online too.

Budding pianists often want headphones and microphones because they want to hear their skills improve over time. The microphone allows you and loved ones to sing along as you play. You may want to look for a bundle package that comes with a stand that holds the keyboard or a cover that you can place on top of the piano after you finish playing.

Signs You Should Replace Your Brakes

There are some signs that might indicate you need to replace your brakes or do some serious brake repairs rather than just changing your brake pads. Those signs can include:

  • You need to push the brake pedal all the way to the floorboard to stop your car
  • The brakes make squealing and grinding sounds when you try to stop
  • You notice the car shaking or vibrating when you slow down or apply the brakes
  • Fluid leaks out of the brakes

Signs of Bad or Poor Brake Pads

Signs of Bad or Poor Brake Pads

You may not know that you have bad or poor brake pads on your car because they are the only pads you ever used before. We encourage you to look at some of the signs of bad and poor brake pads to decide whether you should replace the ones already on your car.

  • Loud noises: Bad brake pads, as well as cheap products, will operate much louder than better ones do. You might hear a loud squealing sound each time you apply the brakes or a soft grinding sound.
  • Brake dust: The next time you stop, look out your back window and see if you notice a cloud of dust coming out from under the carriage. Most pads will produce a small amount of dust as the pads rub against the rotor. If you see a big cloud or a large amount of dust though, you’ll know that you have bad brake pads.
  • Pulling to one side: Another thing you might notice is that your car pulls or leans to one side when you hit the brake. This can occur because one of the pads wore out faster than the other. When you attempt to stop, one brake will work better than the other, which will cause the car to lean to one side.

Other Signs of Bad Brake Pads

  • They wear out faster than you expected and faster than the manufacturer claimed
  • Your brakes do not respond quickly when you touch down on the pedal
  • The brakes fail completely and cause you to run into other vehicles or objects

Benefits of Buying Brake Pads Online

  • Save time: Even if there is an auto parts store right down the road from you, it can take more time than you expected to stop in for a quick visit. By the time you find someone to help, examine all the pads available, make your decision and wait in line to pay, you might find yourself tired and cranky. Buying the same pads online will take you a few minutes or less.
  • Save money: The manufacturer’s suggested retail price, also called its MSRP, is the price that a manufacturer recommends someone put on its products. When you buy from a local store, you’ll pay this exact price because that store has overhead costs. You can usually get the same brake pads that will fit your car online for 10 to 20% off the MSRP.
  • Find what you need: The biggest benefit of buying your new brake pads online is that you can find exactly what you need. Amazon takes all the guesswork out of buying pads because you can enter information about your vehicle and find compatible parts. You simply enter the make and model of your vehicle and its age. Amazon will then tell you if those pads will work for you.
Benefits of Buying Brake Pads Online

Brand Name vs. Generic

When you stop by the grocery store to pick up ingredients for a weeknight dinner, you have the choice of buying name brand or generic ingredients. Though it might seem hard to believe, you can do the same thing when it comes to auto parts. Many companies now make aftermarket parts that work just as well as name brand parts do but cost less. A great example is a company that buys old molds and machines from major auto companies. Those companies often sell old equipment when they stop making parts for later model vehicles. If you have a car that is a decade old or even older, you can save money with generic parts.

Brand Name vs. Generic

Brand name parts come from both auto giants and leading auto parts suppliers. Advanced Auto Parts and other companies that own auto parts stores often have deals with companies. Those companies will make products such as brake pads and allow the stores to put their own names on those parts. You can get the same brake pads with a different name on them for a lower price. Some shoppers will only buy name brand parts because of the warranties on those parts. Brand name brake pads may come with a better warranty than a generic set does.

Expert Tip

If you aren’t sure who actually made the brake pads you have your eye on, check the label on the bottom for a manufacturer name or contact address. Even if the packaging has the store’s name on it, it may have contact information for a different manufacturer listed.

Scorched Brakes

One of the brake pad sets that we included on our list features something called scorching. You might read about sets with scorching or products called scorched brake pads. This is a process that manufacturers use to reduce the amount of time it takes to break in a new set of pads. The breaking-in process can take a few days or more depending on how often you drive and the number of miles you drive each day. During this process, you’ll likely hear the brakes producing more noises and louder sounds.

With scorched brake pads, you can avoid the breaking-in process completely. The pads are ready to go almost as soon as you put them on your car. You can avoid those loud noises and enjoy the freedom of stopping and accelerating as you need. Though most drivers don’t need scorched pads, they are good for those who stop frequently such as delivery drivers and commuters who drive in major cities.

Scorched Brakes

Insider Tip

You shouldn’t worry if the new brake pads squeak or squeal. This is a common sound that you might hear for the first few days. It will usually stop after the brakes adjust to the pads, which can take up to 100 miles of driving.

Most Important Features to Consider in New Brake Pads

Most Important Features to Consider in New Brake Pads

While we talked a lot about brake pads, choosing the right ones for you really comes down to three key things:

  • Type: You need to consider the type of brake pads that are best for your car. This depends on the size and weight of your vehicle as well as how often you drive and the way you drive.
  • Material: The top materials used in brake pads today include organic, semi-metallic, metallic and ceramic materials. Ceramic brake pads cost more and are the longest lasting type too.
  • Warranty: We also recommend looking at the manufacturer’s warranty in terms of how long it lasts and how the return policy works. You want to make sure that you can return pads that won’t fit or work on your vehicle.

Tips for Changing Your Brake Pads

If you decide to tackle the job yourself and change the pads on your next day off from work, use some of the following tips.

  • Replace two sets at a time: Some DIY enthusiasts think they only need to change one brake pad that looks worn down. You should always replace two sets or pairs at the same time. Instead of working on just the right or the left side, you’ll want to replace the pads on the front or the rear tires.
  • Keep your hands clean: Once you finish replacing the pads, you’ll need to flush the brake lines to remove any old fluid. It’s possible that you might get some of the fluid on your hands. If you notice oil or any other type of fluid, wash your hands immediately and avoid touching your eyes.
  • Tell someone: Before you start working, tell someone exactly what you want to do and how long you think the job will take. This ensures that someone knows where you are and can check on you later. There is a risk that the vehicle might roll off the lift or jack and trap you below. You may want to ask a friend or loved one to help you with this job too.

Expert Tip

You should always keep a cell phone handy when doing any auto work outside or in your garage. If you find yourself incapacitated, you can call for help.

Tips for Changing Your Brake Pads

When to Pay for Professional Brake Pad Installation

  • Lack of equipment: You should have a mechanic install brake pads when you do not have the right equipment for the job. Experts recommend putting the vehicle on a lift and working underneath it. You’ll also need tools to remove the tires and the old pads as well as other parts.
  • No experience: If you have no experience changing brake pads, let a professional handle the job for you. Even if you watch YouTube videos or read through the instructions and think the job sounds easy, turn it over to the pros. You don’t want to risk your own personal safety or the safety of any of your passengers.
  • Less time: Though you might have all the tools required for the job, you might not have the time that it takes. It can take an hour or more just to strip off the wheels and remove the old pads. You might waste a few hours changing each brake pad. Professional shops can get the job done in around an hour or less.
  • You don’t feel 100%: Unless you feel 100% confident about your skills, drop your car off at a mechanic’s shop and let them replace your brake pads. Mechanics have years of experience and can handle all the unexpected issues that can arise.

Expert Tip

When choosing a mechanic, consider looking for a shop that offers pick up and drop off services. A worker can pick up the car from your home or place of work and drop it off later. Some shops let you drop off your car and borrow a loaner vehicle for the day. A worker might take you home and pick you up again later when your car is done too.

When to Pay for Professional Brake Pad Installation

What to Look for in Customer Reviews

  • Shipping: You should look through customer reviews to get an idea of how long it took for them to get their brake pads and how well the seller packaged those parts. If you see reviews that claimed the parts arrived with crushed boxes, you might want to keep searching.
  • Quality: One of the best ways to find out about the quality of a new brake pad is with a look at a few customer reviews. Customers are very vocal with their thoughts and opinions on the quality of the products they buy online. You can easily see if the pads are worth your time and money.
  • Potential problems: Would you buy a set of brake pads if the manufacturer refused to let you send back a set that didn’t fit your car or refused to answer any questions that you had? That’s why you should look at reviews from customers who contacted manufacturers in the past. You can find out whether the company has an office that is only open a few hours out of the day or whether the manufacturer responds quickly to emails.
  • Longevity: You can also read customer reviews to see how long the brake pads will last. Many customers will come back and update their reviews when the pads performed better or worse than they expected.
What to Look for in Customer Reviews

How You Can Make Your Brake Pads Last Longer

  • Rotate your tires regularly
  • Perform regular inspections of your brakes and rotors
  • Choose the right type of pads for the weight and type of vehicle you drive
  • Avoid making sudden stops

How to Avoid Counterfeit Auto Parts

When you buy any type of car part, you must be aware of the counterfeit parts out there. You can use the following tips to ensure that you buy authorized car parts.

  • Shop from reputable sites: If you come across a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t worth your time. Good brake pads will cost at least $50. You should only buy from sites that you know and trust such as Amazon.
  • Read reviews: Though you already know where to find reviews and what to look for as you read, you should also look at reviews to see if shoppers mentioned any counterfeit parts. Those parts can include pads from other companies packaged inside boxes that have another manufacturer on the outside or parts that are not of the same quality that manufacturers use. Customer reviews will help you decide which sellers to buy from and which sellers to avoid.
  • Inspect the pads: As soon as you get a new set of brake pads, take them out of the box and do a full inspection. Both the packaging and the pads should look authentic and have the name of the manufacturer clearly displayed. You can also check the serial number on the pads against the number used by the manufacturer.
How to Avoid Counterfeit Auto Parts

Other Tips for Developing Better Practice Habits

If you purchase brake pads from any website and receive counterfeit merchandise, notify the site as soon as possible. The site should offer you a full refund and take action against the seller.

How Much Do Brake Pads Cost?

Bosch BC905 Quiet Cast Premium Disc Brake Set
Bosch BC905 Quiet Cast Premium Disc Brake Set | $30.94
AC Delco Professional Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set
AC Delco Professional Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set | $44.85
Akebono ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set
Akebono ProACT Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pad Set | $46.43
Power Stop Z23 Evolution Sport Brake Pads
Power Stop Z23 Evolution Sport Brake Pads |$57.78
StopTech Street Performance Front Brake Pad
StopTech Street Performance Front Brake Pad | $88.30

The amount that you’ll pay for a new set of brake pads will depend on how many pads there are in the set and the type that you buy. You have the option of purchasing a full set that comes with four pads: one for each of the brakes on your car. Companies also sell packs that come with just two pads for either the front or back brakes.

  • Standard pads retail for around $75 or less. Many of the brake pads that we found actually cost in the $50 to $60 range.
  • OE and performance brake pads sell for around $100 for a set of four. Brake pads designed for street and course racing may cost more.
  • Ceramic brake pads are the most expensive. To get a good set of four that you can use on your car, you’ll spend at least $125. Ultra-premium sets cost around the same amount.

While ceramic pads cost more than other types, these products last longer and are worth the price. Metallic and semi-metallic brake pads are more affordable and can sell for between $75 and $100 a set. Before you buy, make sure that you see whether the set comes with two or four brake pads.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: You generally need to replace your brake pads once every year. This really depends on how often you drive your vehicle and how often you use your brakes though. You can also check your pads every 12,000 miles to see if you should replace them. We recommend putting an alarm in your phone that tells you when to inspect the pads. You might get up to 70,000 miles out of a simple set of brake pads.

A: Aftermarket brake pads refer to those made by companies that do not typically make cars. OEM parts can include companies that have a license to make parts for specific auto manufacturers. When buying aftermarket brake pads, you must make sure that the manufacturer has authorization from the manufacturer of your car. This ensures that the pads will fit correctly.

A: Though you might think you need to completely remove your brakes just to find out if you need new pads, you can actually get under your car or put the car up on a lift. You’ll want to check the pads for any signs of wear and tear. If the pads are worn down and no more than 1/8-inch thick, you need to replace them.

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