A high-pitched squealing, when you push on the brakes, is often a good indication that it's time for new brake pads. This squealing happens when your brake pads wear down to the soft metal indicator which begins to rub against the brake rotor. There are four types of brakes on the market that are available. The type of pad you need is dependent on the type of vehicle you own and your driving habits. Although some pads provide better heat transfer which results in better braking, they can also be noisier. Knowing the different types of brake pads can help you make a more informed decision when it's time to replace them.
Semi-metallic Brake Pads
Made from 30 to 65 percent metal, a semi-metallic brake pad is typically made from chopped copper, wire, iron powder or steel wool bonded together with friction modifiers. These are commonly considered to be one of the more durable types of brake pad and have great heat transfer. However, semi-metallic brake pads often wear down the brake rotors faster. In addition, they can be noisy and do not function well in very low temperatures.
Non-asbestos, Organic Brake Pads
Commonly referred to as NAO, or organic, this type of brake pad is made from organic fibers, such as carbon, rubber, glass and Kevlar, along with high temperature resins and other filler materials. Although softer and less noisy than other types of brake pads, they wear out faster and create a lot more brake dust.
Low-metallic NAO Brake Pads
Made from an organic formula, low-metallic NAO brake pads contain about 10 to 30 percent copper or steel to assist with heat transfer. Because of the added metal, it provides for better braking. However, the added metal also causes the brakes to be a little noisier and creates brake dust.
Ceramic Brake Pads
Ceramic fibers, bonding agents and other filler materials make up this type of brake pad. There may also be small quantities of metal in the makeup of the ceramic brake pads. These are typically more expensive than the other types of pads because they are quieter and cleaner. Also, they don't wear down the brake rotors while still providing excellent braking for your vehicle.