What's That Part? - Break Pads

The moment that a service technician approaches and says "To pass your state inspection we'll need to replace your brake pads," can make anyone squirm and wish they hadn't come to get their inspection done. Brake pads are a key part to your car because they apply pressure and friction to a vehicle's brake rotors -- those flat, shiny discs that you can sometimes see just behind the wheels of some vehicles. This is what allows your vehicle to come to a complete stop at your local ice cream shop.

They can be made from material ranging from specialized glass composites, to metallic allows, and ceramic. Cost for your part will vary by the make and model of your car and the material you choose; however, the standard price for the pads by themselves hovers around $40 for a set of 2.

What options are available?

Composite brake pads - made of a mixture of materials, they are gentle on rotors, but produce a fair amount of dust and have a short service life.

Alloy brake pads - synthetics mixed with some proportion of flaked metals. These are harder than non-metallic pads, and are more fade-resistant and longer lasting, but at the cost of increased wear to the rotor/ drum which then must be replaced sooner.

Metallic - these pads are used only in racing vehicles, and are composed of sintered steel without any synthetic additives. They are very long-lasting, but require even more force to slow a vehicle and are extremely wearing on rotors. They also tend to be very loud.

Ceramic - composed of clay and porcelain bonded to copper flakes and filaments, these are a good compromise between the durability of the metal pads and the grip and fade resistance of the synthetic variety.

Can I install them myself?

Like most parts on a car, it is possible to install brake pads yourself. However because of the vital nature of this part it is recommended that you have your car serviced by trained professionals like those at Barton Ford.

Categories: News, Service, Parts
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