Many different parts and systems contribute to your vehicle’s dependability, safety and comfort. But none are quite so critical as its brakes. To give you reliable stopping power, they must work at peak performance. If you’re new to DIY maintenance, you may have some questions. Does a brake pad set contain two or four pads? How can you find the right pads that fit your vehicle? Thankfully, this useful guide provides answers to these and other questions. You won’t become the world’s expert on brakes overnight, but you can learn what you need to know for getting the best replacements.
How To Identify You Cars Brake Pad Specs
Modern vehicles use either disc or drum brakes. With disc brakes, hydraulic fluid multiplies the force of your foot and makes brake calipers press the pads against the discs. Drum brakes use shoes instead of pads: Hydraulic cylinders press the shoes against the drum’s interior to slow your wheels.
Most braking systems equip two pads on each wheel. But brake pads are typically sold per axle, not per wheel. That’s because you need to change all the pads on either the front or the back wheels at the same time. You can’t just change the pads on one wheel – the other wheel is stuck with worn pads and that can cause problems stopping the vehicle. When you buy a new set of front or rear pads, you usually get four in each package.
Now that you know what you’re buying, you need to choose pads that fit your vehicle. Fortunately, this part is pretty easy. Many auto parts retailers let you shop their online stores with your vehicle’s make, model and year information. This narrows down your selections, ensuring you only pick brake pads that properly fit.
How To Pick the Best Brake Pads
You want the best parts you can find, but you’re naturally concerned about your brake replacement cost. Thankfully, you can get affordable pads without sacrificing quality. Most brake pads tend to be inexpensive but offer dependable stopping power. Duralast pads are a great example – most come in either organic or semi-metallic versions and cost under $30 per set. Organic pads are quieter and exert less force on your rotors, so they’re ideal for lightweight vehicles and infrequent driving. Daily commuters can get good mileage out of semi-metallic pads, since they cool faster and last longer.
If you’re doing heavy-duty or performance driving, you have plenty of options in brake pads. Duralast Elite’s copper-free ceramic pads deliver noise- and dust-free braking and last up to three times longer than standard pads. There’s also the Duralast Gold collection – semi-metallic pads designed to handle higher temperatures. You’ll find Gold and Elite pads within the $40 to $80 range.
More Smart Shopping Tips
Picking out a new set of brake pads isn’t as hard as you may think. All it takes is understanding your driving habits and knowing your vehicle’s specs. Bargain-hunters aren’t left without money-saving options, either. Many retailers offer high-quality aftermarket brake pads for less. And AutoZone coupons can help you save even more.