What Are the Different Types of Brake Pads?

The brakes on your vehicle are comprised of a group of different parts and among the most crucial of those parts are the brake pads. They work by applying friction and pressure to the brake rotors, which in turn makes the wheels slow down and stop moving. Because of their function, brake pads endure a lot of wear and tear over time. Brakes pads are not universal, so it is not a bad idea to learn a bit about each different type of brake pad in order to understand what would work best in your vehicle.


Non-Asbestos Organic Brake Pads


Non-asbestos organic (NAO) brake pads are made from organic materials like rubber, glass, fiber, high temperature resins, and even Kevlar. They are softer than brake pads that partially consist of metal and because of that they make a lot less noise and are easier on the rotors. Organic brake pads are fairly inexpensive to produce, which is why a lot of new cars in North America (about 70 percent) have them. They are suitable for driving in many different environments and for normal, everyday driving routines. However, they also wear faster than brake pads with some metal in them, create brake dust, and are not suited for any kind of performance driving.


Low Metallic NAO Brake Pads


Low metallic NAO brake pads are made of 10 to 30 percent metal (usually steel or copper) along with organic material. They have exceptional heat transfer and braking capabilities, but also unfortunately tend to generate a lot of noise and brake dust.


Semi-Metallic Brake Pads


Semi-metallic brake pads are about 30 to 65 percent metal and because of this, are among the most durable types of brake pads out there. They are typically made out of metal materials like wire, copper, graphite, or steel wool along with some manner of friction modifier. They have better durability than organic brake pads, have a higher heat tolerance threshold, and provide a better overall braking performance. On the downside, semi-metallic brake pads are a lot harder on brake rotors than other kinds of brake pads. They can also be a lot noisier than other types and do not function as well in very cold temperatures.


Ceramic Brake Pads


Ceramic brake pads only have a small amount of metal filler and are comprised mainly of ceramic fibers, filler material, and bonding agents. They are on the higher end of the brake pad price range. They are also very quiet, do not create a lot of brake dust, have excellent braking capabilities in both hot and cold temperatures, and last quite a bit longer than other brake pad types. Ceramic brake pads are not suitable to use in heavy-duty or performance driving situations.


Which Brake Pad Type is Right for Your Truck?


Determining which brake pad type would work best for your vehicle depends largely on things like your driving style, your environment, and your budget. Normal everyday casual commuting makes semi-metallic pads a good choice. If you are a performance or off-road driver, ceramic or organic brake pads are probably best.