What to know about brake rotors and pads

It doesn’t get all the coverage that things like engines, turbos and hot exhaust systems do but the brakes on your car are performance items too.  Think about it, after you have invested in all the performance upgrades to make your car go fast, what good is it if it doesn’t stop fast! With help the service department at Legacy Jeep of Island City, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Island City, OR, we will look at the various options you have when you are upgrading your brakes or just performing a routine brake job.

What level of performance are you looking for?

Are you looking to perform a standard brake job on your regular car or a performance upgrade? In either case, the two main components you want to consider are the pads and rotors. Lets look at both.

Brake Pads

Your brake pads are the devices that squeeze the brake rotors and slow them down.  The problem is they wear down over time and need to be replaced.  The brake pads are what a mechanic generally does when doing a brake job.  Brake pads are categorized into 3 main groups:

1)    Ceramic – These higher cost pads are a performance option for most vehicles. Ceramic pads provide more stopping power than the other types of brake pads while being extremely quiet. They tend to last a long time also.

2)    Semi-metallic – This is a mid-range option as far as cost and durability. These pads will last a long time because of metallic threads embedded in them.

3)    Non-metallic – These are your standard pads. They are inexpensive and perform well but usually don’t last very long.  One complaint that frequently comes from people that go with the non-metallic pads is that they tend to shed a lot of brake dust and make the wheel rims dirty.

Brake Rotors

Brake rotors are the flat circular iron discs that are part of a disc brake system. At one time disc brakes were somewhat exotic but today they are factory equipment on most cars. If you have alloy wheels on your car, you may be able to see the brake rotors through the spokes. They are the shiny metal surfaces you see. As your car accumulates miles, the rotors on your car will wear down and develop grooves. When they get too thin, they should be replaced. Here are your options.

1)    OEM – These rotors will generally be your lowest cost option and are what most vehicles are equipped with from the factory. They are commonly made of iron. OEM style rotors will have a flat surface and can either come solid or internally vented.

2)    Slotted – Slotted rotors have shallow channels engraved on the surface of the rotor. These channels help to dissipate heat and allow water to flow off the rotor surface. Slotted rotors do, however, cause pads to wear down a little more rapidly.

3)    Drilled – Drilled rotors are built for performance applications. These rotors have dozens of holes drilled through them to maximize heat dissipation. They have a nice performance look to them too.

Bet you didn’t know there were so many options for brake pads and rotors!  That being said, don’t be intimidated by the choices, your local dealer or mechanic can help you decide which is best for you’re your car.

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Published on: January 30, 2017

Filled Under: Auto Tips and Guides

Views: 1391

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