How To Choose The Right Brake Pads For A Car? 10 Easy Steps

The braking system on modern cars is a complex network of components designed to ensure your vehicle can slow and stop safely. The component that takes the brunt of the wear and tear is the brake pads, which generate friction when pressed against a rotor, slowing or stopping your car.

It’s important always to choose brake pads compatible with your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. To choose the right brake pads for your car, you should consider the type of pad (ceramic, metallic, organic), thickness, fitting tolerance (to ensure compatibility with existing rotors and calipers), noise level, and dust produced by the pads.

Understanding these factors will help you decide what type of brake pad is best suited for your needs. It also pays to research various brands available in the market before making a purchase decision – as with anything else in life – because not all brake pads are created equal. Read through this and save your time on research.

Here is How to Choose the Right Brake Pads for A Car

1. Look Into Brake Pads Feature

When shopping for the best brake pads, there are seven things to consider. The type of pads depends on the driving conditions and style, such as those designed for everyday commutes not requiring strong brakes versus higher performance cars that require more powerful response underneath the pedal for extreme braking.

The brake pad should also perform in all conditions, including dry, wet, and muddy. Cold bite refers to the initial response of the brakes when cold, while hot bite indicates how well the pads grip after long use or under high temperatures.

Maximum operating temperature is essential as every brake pad must have a maximum temperature before it begins to wear out or even disintegrate through heat damage.

It’s important to research your car make and model before picking new brake pads, as not all pads are equal. A racing car may need something different than a minivan, for instance; therefore, double check specifications for compatibility as safety is always paramount.

Understanding these crucial points surrounding brake pads makes it easier to decide what might work better where you can gain better confidence in your purchased product that yields higher performance so you can get back onto the road with assurance thanks to a smooth braking experience every time.

2. Types Of Brake

When it comes to choosing the right brake pads for a car, several different types of brake pads are available. Depending on the type of vehicle and its braking system, each kind has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when selecting the appropriate brake pad.

The most common brake pad type is organic, consisting of non-metallic fibers held together by a resin binder. This type of pad is quiet and generates little dust, but doesn’t have the stopping power as ceramic or semi-metallic pads.

Ceramic brake pads are made primarily of ceramic fibers, giving them a high heat tolerance and excellent stopping power. They don’t produce much noise or dust but cost more than the other brake pads.

3. Specification Requirements

In addition to the type of brake pad, it is important to consider the specification requirements for a particular car model or make. The specifications differ according to car models and manufacturers, so it is important to check what type of brake pad is compatible with your vehicle before purchasing.

It is also important to check the fitting tolerance of the brake pads, as it ensures that the brake pads are compatible with the existing rotors and calipers. The brake pad’s thickness is also important, directly affecting the braking performance and noise level.

4. Select Either Bonded or Riveted Friction Material

To ensure the longevity of brakes, it is important to attach a softer friction material to the stronger metal backing plate. Brake manufacturers generally use two methods for this purpose: bonding with an adhesive or riveting with high-strength rivets.

While there is yet to be a clear winner between these methods, bonding usually results in brakes that last slightly longer. 

If riveted brakes wear down to the point where the rivets make contact with the rotors or drums, they may squeal. Nonetheless, it is time to replace the brakes anyway by the time this occurs.

If bonded brakes wear down to the backing plate, it may damage the rotors or drums, and the metal-to-metal grinding noise when applying brakes would indicate that they need to be changed promptly.

5. Choose Brake Pad Material Based on Driving Needs

When buying new brake pads or shoes, it’s important to consider the material they’re made from based on your driving needs.

You should assess factors like the terrain you’ll be driving on, the temperature of your climate, the traffic conditions you typically encounter, your tolerance for noise from the brakes, whether you tow a trailer, and whether you must navigate through deep puddles in wet weather.

Considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose the best brake pads or shoes for your vehicle.

6. Consider Durability and Longevity

When choosing the right brake pads for a car, it is important to consider durability and longevity. Brake pads can wear down over time, so choosing a set that will last as long as possible is important.

This means looking for pads made of high-quality materials, preferably from a trusted manufacturer with a history of good performance. It is also important to consider your driving, as certain brake pads may be better suited for heavier or more frequent use.

7. Pick Brake Pad Materials: Organic, Semi-Metallic, Fully Metallic, or Ceramic

When selecting brake pads or shoe material, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Some vehicles have organic brakes, which have a longer lifespan than other brake components but may not provide the best braking power when towing or driving down steep hills. Additionally, organic brake material loses effectiveness when wet.

On the other hand, semi-metallic brakes offer enhanced braking power due to a composite of soft metals embedded in the friction material. Still, they may wear out rotors or drums more quickly than organic brakes.

For the highest quality and braking efficiency, fully metallic brakes are the way to go, but they do wear out rotors and drums faster. Ceramic brakes are the most expensive option but offer the longest lifespan and best warranty. They can tolerate very high temperatures with minimal fading or wear.

8. Care for Brake Pads Properly

Proper maintenance of brake pads is essential to extending their lifespan and ensuring their effectiveness. Regularly inspect and clean your brakes, as dust or other debris can accumulate on the brake pad’s surface, reducing its performance.

Additionally, check the brake fluid level in the system, as low levels may cause the brakes to malfunction due to a lack of hydraulic pressure. Finally, if you’re doing a lot of driving, consider using higher-grade brake pads designed for more aggressive or frequent use.

9. Choose a Semi-Metallic Brake if You Drive Regularly

Selecting the right brake pads for everyday driving requires careful consideration. Semi-metallic pads are affordable and versatile for a smart choice, making them ideal for commuter vehicles. Car manufacturers commonly use these pads in newer vehicles, and they are compatible with harder metal rotors.

However, for tougher jobs like hauling a trailer up steep mountainous roads, it’s more beneficial to opt for higher-end, fully metallic or ceramic brake pads. Your decision should be based on your driving conditions and how much pressure is put on the brakes. Remember, safety is of utmost importance, so choose wisely.

10. Make Sure You Have the Right Size and Fit

When selecting brake pads for your car, it’s important to ensure they are the correct size and fit. Different vehicles have different-sized brakes, so check the manufacturer’s specifications before making a purchase.

If you’re unsure of what size to get, always err on the larger side since some cars have brakes that are slightly different sizes than the manufacturer’s dimensions. Additionally, be sure to check the pads’ fit once installed. Ensure they sit properly and don’t rub against other brake system parts.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. How Do I Know If My Brake Pads Are Good Quality?

To determine if your brake pads need replacement, look at their thickness. If they appear to be less than a quarter inch thick, it’s recommended to get them replaced, as advised by J.D. Power.

Certain brake pads come with a slot in the center, a wear indicator. Check if the slot is almost worn out – if so, the pad likely needs to be replaced.

2. Which Brake Pads Are Most Important?

When choosing the right brake pads for a car, the most important factor is finding a pad that meets or exceeds your vehicle’s stopping power and safety standards. The type of brake pad you should choose depends largely on your driving style and the conditions under which you typically drive.

3. Is It OK To Replace Brake Pads Only?

When it comes to brakes on a car, replacing only the brake pads is not recommended as a comprehensive brake repair. Brake pads are only one component in a car’s braking system and should be replaced with other components.

For example, if a car has disc brakes, the brake rotors and calipers should be inspected for damage or wear before replacing just the brake pads.

4. How Do I Test My Brakes?

When applying the brakes, you should feel a gradual increase in firmness as you press down on the pedal. If you notice a light feel with sudden moments of heaviness, it may signal an issue with air in the system or a mechanical malfunction, such as a seized caliper slider.

5. Should I Use Cheap Brake Pads?

When choosing the right brake pads for your car, it is important to consider quality over cost. Cheap brake pads may be tempting because of their lower price tag.

However, they are likely to wear out faster and may not provide the necessary performance you need. Cheap brake pads have inferior materials, leading to excessive noise, vibrations, and decreased braking performance. In addition, they may also contain asbestos, which is a known carcinogen and hazardous to your health.


Choosing the right brake pads for your car depends on various factors, such as driving style, braking conditions, and performance requirements. It’s essential to select quality brake pads that meet or exceed your vehicle’s specifications to ensure maximum safety and performance. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of the size and fit when purchasing new brake pads and avoid cheap options due to their inferior materials and potential hazards.

John D. Archer

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.