Suspension System Secrets: Tips For Customization And Repair

Should You Worry About Your Brake Pad's Brand?

by Leon Payne

People often wonder if a store brand is just as good as the pricier name brand. Sadly, maintaining your vehicle can come with the same bevy of challenging questions.

Your brakes are one of several critical components that keep you safe on the road, so you want to make the right choice when replacing worn-out pads. At the same time, the wide range of brands and options available may seem like a lot to manage. Fortunately, choosing suitable brake pads for your car doesn't need to be a source of stress.

Understanding Your Existing Brake Pads

Whether you're replacing your brake pads for the first time or just paying attention for the first time, it's a good idea to know what you already have. Most manufacturers equip their vehicles with either ceramic or organic pads. You can usually expect upgraded brakes to use ceramic pad material and lower-end models and trims to use organic brake pads.

There's more to the difference than just the name, however. Organic pads offer good stopping power and quiet operation but often have a shorter lifespan. Ceramic pads improve on the organic option, typically providing better stopping ability, longer life, and less brake dust. Although ceramic will improve your braking performance, remember that both options are generally safe and effective.

If you aren't sure which option is on your car, a good approach is to research manufacturer-recommended replacements. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) pads or pads from your dealership should use the same material as your original factory brakes.

Coming to Terms With Brand vs. Brake Pad Type

Brake pad type typically matters more than brand. When replacing your pads, you should begin by deciding if you want to consider an upgrade, either in stopping power, lifespan, or brake dust generation.

If you're looking to improve your brake's performance, the best option is usually to upgrade from organic and ceramic pads. While cheaper brands may be slightly noisier or produce a bit more dust, performance usually doesn't vary significantly. When in doubt, discuss your options with your brake shop and choose a brand they recommend.

On the other hand, you can maintain your current factory performance by determining the brake pads used by your car's manufacturer. In most cases, you can find these listed as OEM or OE replacements. These pads will offer identical performance to the ones that came with your vehicle. Whatever you choose, the most critical decision is replacing your brake pads as soon as they begin to wear out.

To learn more about brake replacement, visit an auto shop near you.