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Brakes are one of the most important safety features that your vehicle is equipped with. In most automobiles, there are four basic types of brakes including; service brakes, anti-lock brakes, emergency brakes and parking brakes.

Service Brakes are the system that is designed to slow down the vehicle and bring it to a stop. Service brakes usually consist of disc brakes, drum brakes or a combination of both and are operated by hydraulic pressure.

  • Disc Brakes use calipers to squeeze pairs of pads against a disc or "rotor" to create friction. This action slows the rotation of the wheels which in turn slows the vehicle.
  • Drum Brakes use friction caused by a set of shoes or pads that press outward against a rotating cylinder-shaped part called a brake drum. This is an enclosed system where the brake shoes press on the inner surface of the brake drum.
  • Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) are a system of electrical components that act as a safety anti-skid braking system. The ABS operates by preventing the wheels from locking up during braking, thereby maintaining tractive contact with the road surface.
  • Emergency Brakes or Parking Brakes is a mechanism that bypass' the normal braking system and is used to help perform an emergency stop should the main hydraulic brakes fail. It is also used to keep the vehicle securely motionless when parked.

5 Types of Brake Pads

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads are the ultimate in brake pads. They are the most expensive types of brake pads available, but they also last longer than any other type. The ceramic compound that these brake pads are made of is great for absorbing the heat that results from any type of continuous and hard braking. They work efficiently whether your brakes are warm or cold and create very little dust. They are made with small amounts of copper and clay, which is molded into the compound to make for a strong and long-lasting brake pad.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Semi-metallic brake pads are found in the majority of vehicles sold today. Made with a metallic hybrid compound and an organic resin seal they are then molded into various shapes and baked in a furnace to harden them. Semi-metallic brake pads are very durable, as well as heat-resistant and resistant to wear. However, because these pads have a lower friction coefficient when it comes to lower temperatures, they may need a little more pedal power when the brakes are cold and can be noisier to operate. These types of brake pads are great for a majority of vehicles because they are sturdy, well-made, and diverse brake pads.

Low-Metallic Brake Pads

Low-metallic brake pads have excellent heat-transfer capabilities but they tend to be quite noisy and release a lot of brake dust. They are organic in nature and offer good braking capabilities. Low-metallic brake pads are good when it comes to braking and the materials that they are made of are completely organic.

Non-Metallic Brake Pads

Non-metallic brake pads are the softest type of pads, being made of various rubbers, resins, and glasses, along with a small number of metal fibers. Because they are soft, non-metallic brake pads are not the top choice for people who drive a great deal or put their vehicles through a lot each and every day. Regular organic pads cause a lot of dust to cover components located near the brakes, along with other materials that are thought to be toxic to humans, which is one of the many reasons that the non-metallic brake pads were developed. If you choose an alternative, the price may be a bit higher, but they will last you much longer than regular non-metallic brake pads.

Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO) Brake Pads

Non-asbestos organic brake pads are made of materials such as high-temperature resins, fibers, and fillers. They are softer and quieter than the semi-metallic type of brake pad but they create more dust in the long run. NAO brake pads deteriorate rather quickly so if you do a lot of driving, you should either purchase the metal-type brake pads or be prepared to change your non-asbestos organic ones frequently.

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