Brake pads are responsible for providing the friction needed to stop the wheels from rotating, while brake discs help dissipate heat and prevent warping.
What are brake pads?
Brake pads are the part of your brakes that make contact with the brake rotor, providing the friction necessary to stop your vehicle. They are made of a wear-resistant material, typically metal, ceramic, or semi-metallic, that is bonded to a backing plate. The backplate provides stability and support for the pad during operation.
As brake pads wear down, it becomes thinner and their ability to stop your car gradually decreases. When the pad gets too thin, it will need to be replaced. Replacing your brake pads is typically a fairly simple process that can be completed at home with basic hand tools.
What are brake discs?
Brake discs (or rotors) are the other main component of your vehicle’s braking system. The discs are mounted on the wheels and rotate along with them. When you press the brake pedal, brake fluid is forced into calipers which grasp the disc and slow it down.
Like brake pads, brake discs wear down over time and will eventually need to be replaced. However, because they are made of metal they can usually be resurfaced rather than replaced outright. Resurfacing involves machining off a small layer of metal from the disc surface to renew it.
Most cars have either four-wheel or front-wheel disc brakes. In a four-wheel disc brake system, each wheel has its own caliper and disc. In a front-wheel disc brake system, the two front wheels share a single caliper, while each of the rear wheels has its own caliper and disc.
Disc brakes are more effective than drum brakes because they dissipate heat better and have less chance of fading under heavy use. Disc brakes also last longer than drum brakes and require less maintenance.
The difference between brake pads and discs
Brake pads and discs both serve the same purpose of slowing down or stopping a vehicle. The main difference between the two is that brake pads are made of a softer material, while discs are made of a harder material. Brake pads are typically made of metal, ceramic, or rubber, while discs are usually made of metal or ceramic.
Discs typically last longer than pads, but they can also be more expensive to replace. Pads need to be replaced more often because they wear down faster due to their softer material. When replacing either brake pad or disc, it is important to get ones that are compatible with your vehicle and match the other brake components.
How to know when you need new brake pads or discs
It’s important to know when your brake pads or discs need to be replaced. Depending on your driving habits, you may need to replace your brake pads more frequently than your discs. Here are some signs that it’s time for new brake pads or discs:
-Your brakes are making noise (squealing or grinding)
-Your brakes are vibrating
-Your car is pulling to one side when you brake
-You have to press the pedal further down than usual to engage the brakes
If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it’s time for new brake pads or discs. Be sure to consult with a qualified mechanic to ensure that you’re getting the right parts for your car.
Photo by Benjamin Brunner on Unsplash