Imagine a day you drive down the freeway but unable to stop the car when you apply brakes, no matter how hard you push. To avoid such situation everyone needs to understand deeply about the types of brake pads your vehicle uses and have some basic knowledge before taking your car to a brake shop.

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, ceramic , non-asbestos organic (NAO), and low-metallic NAO—and it’s important to know which type is best for your vehicle.

  • Semi-Metallic:

Semi-metallic brake pads are made of steel wire or wool, graphite or copper, and friction modifiers. Due to long-term durability and excellent heat transfer capability, these brake pads are generally used on high performance and race cars. These brake pads are 30 to 65 percent metal and are considered to be very durable.

  • Ceramic:

These brake pads are generally the most expensive, but are cleaner and produce less noise than other materials. You can find a small amount of metal in this brake pad type, but they are mainly made of ceramic fibers, bonding agents, and nonferrous filler materials. Ceramic brake pads last longer than semi-metallic as well.

  • 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. These types of brake pads are sometimes listed as organic or NAO.

  • Low-Metallic NAO

These brake pads are made of organic materials with 10%-30% metal such as steel or copper in the mix. However, the copper or steel that is used in these pads helps with heat transfer and breaking. These brake pads are known to be noisy and to let off a lot of brake dust.

With a broad range of selections showing slight variations in price and packaging, it’s easy to get confused. However, you need to make the decision depending on the type of vehicles you own and the type of roads where you drive them on.

Besides, cheap or standard brake pad repairs won’t guarantee safety of your vehicles which regularly carry loads or passengers; or you drive them in mountainous areas. In those cases, you will need an upgraded or severe-duty brake pad.