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The Different Types of Brake Pads

Brake pads are an important part of a vehicle’s braking system. Disc brakes rely on the caliper, brake pads, and rotor to function correctly. The brake pads sit inside the caliper, and are the part of the system that clamps down on the rotor. Over time, the pads will wear from the friction that is placed on the rotor to get the wheel to stop. There are four types of brake pads—semi-metallic, non-asbestos organic (NAO), low-metallic NAO, and ceramic—and it’s important to know which type is best for your vehicle.

  • Semi-Metallic These brake pads are 30 to 65 percent metal and are considered to be very durable. These brake pads may also not function well in extreme, low temperatures. These brake pads are less expensive and easier on the rotors than ceramic brake pads, but that they are louder and do not last as long as ceramics. These brake pads are generally used on high performance and race cars.

  • Ceramic These brake pads are generally the most expensive, but are cleaner and produce less noise than other materials. Ceramic brake pads last longer than semi-metallics as well. 

  • Low-Metallic, Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO) These brake pads are known to be noisy and to let off a lot of brake dust. 

  • Non-Asbestos Organic These brake pads are generally made from organic materials including fiber, glass, rubber, and Kevlar. These pads are pretty quiet, but can wear faster and produce a lot of brake dust.

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