Northern VA Auto Repair


Brake Pads 101

Everything you need to know about your brake pads to keep you and your car safely on the road!

What are Brake Pads? Brake pads are a key component of your vehicle's braking system. Made of steel that has a thick, friction material on one side - brake pads connect with the brake disc when you press on the pedal, causing friction and bringing the wheels to a stop. Over time, brake pads wear down as the constant friction causes stress. How quickly your brake pads wear down depends on how often you drive, conditions, and driving habits. 

What's the Difference in Brake Pads? Brake pads are made of a material that maximizes friction. To maximize this grip power on the rotors, different materials are applied to withstand higher temperature and friction demands. There are 3 different types of brake pad materials:

Non-Metallic/Organic: This material is the softest brake pads that are available. They tend to wear quickly and are known to generate large amounts of brake dust.

Semi-Metallic: You can find these brake pads in most new cars today. The metal element makes them more heat resistant, but can be slightly less efficient at lower temperature. This is usually your best bet for daily driving and normal performance. 

Ceramic: This is a higher performance brake pad and must be warmed up properly, making them less appealing for daily driving. 

To find the optimal brake pads for your vehicle, you can turn to your car's manufacturer or one of the skilled technicians at Craftsman Auto Care. We will assist you in finding you the best brake pads for your vehicle!

How Often Should Brake Pads be Replaced? Your vehicle's owner manual will tell you how often you should change your brake pads, but driving habits are ultimately the biggest factor on your replacement timeline. For example, city driving can be significantly harder on brake pads than highway driving. As a rule of thumb, brake pads should be replaced between 40,000 and 60,000 miles from a new set. 

At Craftsman Auto Care, we will assess the wear of your brake pads during our complimentary digital inspection we perform on every vehicle. 

What are the Signs it is Time for New Brake Pads? Incorporated into the brake pads is a piece of metal that rubs against the brake rotor to indicate when the friction material of the brake is getting low. When this wear indicator reaches the brake rotor, there is usually a high-pitched screech or squeal, indicating your pads will need replacing. If your vehicle is experiencing any of these symptoms, it's time to come by Craftsman Auto Care and let us take a look:

- A screeching sound when pressing on the brakes. 

- Grinding or squealing noises when driving. 

- Longer stopping distance. 

- Pulsations or vibrating through the brake pedal. 

- Brake pedal is sitting lower to the floor than usual. 

What Else is Checked During a Brake Job? Some other components of your crakes that our technician will check are the thickness of the brake rotors, the wear and tear of the brake disc, and the level of brake fluid - which should be flushed or topped off if needed.

Schedule your appointment TODAY and get $25 OFF your next brake job through Labor Day 2023!