NuBrakes Blog How to Choose the Right Brake Pads for Your Car Image

How to Choose the Right Brake Pads for Your Car

Selecting suitable brake pads can tremendously impact your vehicle's braking system's performance and lifespan.

Brake pads are more than just a one-size-fits-all deal - choosing the wrong ones can lead to improved efficiency, additional expenses, and, most importantly, safety risks.

It is crucial to evaluate elements such as pad composition, compatibility with your vehicle's model, driving conditions you usually encounter, noise levels, and the warranty they offer.

So, let's break down these factors to guide you in choosing the ideal brake pads for your car and everyday use. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The material of brake pads significantly affects their performance and suitability. Ceramic pads are durable and quiet but expensive, metallic pads offer high stopping power but are noisy, and semi-metallic pads provide a balance between durability and noise. The choice depends on your driving style and frequency of braking.

  • Different brake pads are recommended for different driving conditions. Ceramic pads are ideal for conservative and highway driving, semi-metallic pads are suitable for aggressive and mountainous/towing driving, and organic pads are best for city driving.

  • Brake pads should be compatible with your car model for optimal performance and safety. Noise level is also a crucial factor to consider for a comfortable driving experience, with ceramic and organic pads typically being the quieter options.

  • Checking the warranty on brake pads before purchase can save you money and hassle. Warranties generally range from 12,000 to 50,000 miles, but policies vary by company, so it's important to read and understand the terms thoroughly.

Consider the material of the brake pad - organic, ceramic, metallic, or semi-metallic

When selecting brake pads, consider the material - organic, ceramic, metallic, or semi-metallic. 

Ceramic Brake Pads are pricier but last longer with less noise.  

Metallic Brake Pads offer the most stopping power but are noisier. 

Semi-metallics Brake Pads are balanced, quieter than metallics, yet more durable than organics. 

Comparison of Brake Pad Types

There are four main types of brake pads: organic, ceramic, metallic, and semi-metallic. Here is a comparison table for the different types of brake pads:






Inexpensive, quiet, suitable for normal driving

Wear out faster, less effective at high temperatures

Made of rubber, carbon, glass/fiberglass, and other materials secured together by resin


Quieter, longer lifespan, better resistance to salt and water

Expensive, takes longer to warm up, not suitable for extreme cold

Made of a durable ceramic compound, often fortified with other material to help with friction application and heat management


Durable, effective at high temperatures, suitable for performance driving

Noisy, produce more dust, wear out the rotor faster

Contain 30-70% metals, like copper, iron, steel, or other composites, often with a graphite lubricant and other durable filler material


Durable, effective at high temperatures, suitable for performance driving

Noisy, produce more dust, wear out the rotor faster

Made of a combination of organic and metallic pad material bonded together with resin

The price of brake pads varies depending on the type, brand, and quality of materials used. Organic brake pads are the least expensive, while ceramic brake pads are the most expensive. Metallic and semi-metallic brake pads fall in the middle range. 

It is important to note that brake pads need to be replaced periodically, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations and how often the vehicle is driven.

The cost of replacing a set of brake pads ranges from $115 to $300 per axle, depending on the brake pad materials and the location of the service. The cost of replacing all four brake pads can range from $200 to $600 or more

You can choose Brake Pad based on your driving style and frequency of braking. 

Here’s a quick note from our Operations Manager,

“I am a believer that the best brake pads for any application is simply whatever the manufacturer engineered the vehicle with.  I think a lot of our warranty occurrences and incidence rates have to do with the 'all ceramic' model NuBrakes historically has used.  When Dodge builds a truck with semi-metallic pads, it's because those disperse heat better and stop the truck faster.  

When you put a ceramic pad on an application where OE manufacturers tested and built with semi-mets, it changes things fundamentally.  Ceramic pads often trap heat when they get too hot and they bake into the rotors, which leads to pulsation and warpage.  We use a pad exactly 1-1 with what those engineers who get paid the big bucks think is the best option.”

Patrick Haley

Nubrakes Operations Manager

Conservative Driving

Recommended Brake Pad: Ceramic Brake Pads

Pros: Ceramic brake pads are made of dense, durable ceramic materials and copper fibers. They're quieter and cleaner than other types, and they are ideal for conservative drivers due to their long lifespan and little wear on the brake rotors. These pads handle high brake temperatures with less heat fade and recover quickly.

Cons: Ceramic brake pads tend to be more expensive than other types, and they may not perform as well in extreme, low-temperature conditions.

Aggressive Driving

Recommended Brake Pad: Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Pros: Semi-metallic brake pads are ideal for aggressive driving because they provide excellent heat dissipation, essential when brakes are used heavily. They offer superior braking power and are resistant to brake fade.

Cons: These pads can be noisier than others, produce more brake dust, and can wear down brake rotors faster due to their abrasive nature. They might also not perform as well in very cold conditions.

City Driving

Recommended Brake Pad: Organic Brake Pads

Pros: Organic brake pads are made of materials like glass, rubber, carbon compounds, or Kevlar. They are softer and quieter, and produce less dust, which makes them perfect for stop-and-go city driving. They are also relatively inexpensive.

Cons: Organic brake pads wear out faster than semi-metallic or ceramic brake pads, meaning they will require more frequent replacement. Also, they do not perform as well under high-stress situations or high heat.

Highway Driving

Recommended Brake Pad: Ceramic Brake Pads

Pros: Ceramic brake pads are quieter, produce less dust and are durable, which makes them great for consistent speed, highway driving. They offer consistent pedal feel and are less likely to fade under harsh braking.

Cons: These brake pads are more expensive than others and may not perform as well in extreme cold conditions or aggressive driving.

Mountainous/Towing Driving

Recommended Brake Pad: Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Pros: Semi-metallic brake pads, due to their excellent heat dissipation, are perfect for mountainous or towing driving conditions where there is a lot of heavy braking. They provide superior braking power and are resistant to brake fade.

Cons: Semi-metallic pads are generally noisier, create more brake dust, and are more abrasive to brake rotors than ceramic or organic brake pads

Why you need to check if the brake pad is compatible with your car model

Your car is a precision-engineered machine, each model needing its own specifically designed brake system for optimal performance, safety, and reliability. It’s like a key-and-lock system - only the right brake pad fits your car's unique specifications in size, shape, and material.

“Take a compact car and a heavy-duty truck, for example. 

Their brake pads are not interchangeable due to their vastly different stopping requirements and brake system designs. Same goes for a high-speed sports car and an electric vehicle - their unique needs require special brake pads, whether it's for withstanding extreme temperatures or working seamlessly with a regenerative braking system.”

Patrick Haley 

Nubrakes Operations Manager

This all boils down to one crucial point: always use the right brake pad for your car. 

Vehicle manufacturers and auto parts reference catalogs provide all the information you need to make sure you get the right fit. Not only does it keep your braking system functioning at its best, but it also safeguards your safety and protects your brake components from unnecessary wear and damage.

So remember - it’s not just a brake pad, it’s the key to your vehicle’s performance and your safety on the road. Make sure it’s the right fit.

Consider the noise level of the brake pad

When choosing brake pads, considering noise level is crucial as it directly impacts your driving experience. Excessively noisy pads can be distracting or even hazardous by masking critical external sounds. 

To gauge noise levels, look at online reviews or seek advice from a trusted mechanic. When replacing your brake pads, request your mechanic to assess noise during a test drive.

While price is a factor, prioritize a balance between cost, performance, and noise level for optimal comfort and safety on the road. Remember, the quietest options are typically ceramic or organic pads. Choose wisely for a more peaceful driving experience.

Check the warranty of the brake pad

Checking the warranty on brake pads before purchase is essential as it can save you money and hassle. A warranty is the manufacturer's guarantee of product quality and reliability.

Warranties on brake pads generally range from 12,000 to 36,000 miles, with some even up to 50,000 miles. This means, should the pads fail within this period, the manufacturer is obligated to repair or replace them at no extra cost to you.

However, warranty policies vary by company. Some require professional installation for the warranty to apply, while others may be specific to certain vehicles or driving conditions. 

So, before buying, read and understand the warranty terms thoroughly. A good warranty not only indicates a quality product but also provides you with peace of mind, knowing you're covered in case of unexpected brake pad issues.

Don't compromise safety and performance. 

Let NuBrakes Mobile Brake Repair handle your brake pad replacement for a smooth, hassle-free experience. We offer top-quality brake pad options, tailor-fit to your driving style, vehicle model, and budget. With our mobile service, there's no need to wait in a garage. We come to you, wherever you are, at a time that suits your schedule.

So, are you ready to experience the NuBrakes difference? 

Head over to our website and schedule your brake pad replacement service today. Drive with confidence knowing NuBrakes has got you covered!

Your safety is our priority. Choose wisely, choose NuBrakes.

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