Is A Set of Brake Pads 2 Or 4?
A set of brake pads typically contains four pads, two of which fit onto the brake on each wheel. Upon pressing the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid flows through brake lines to pistons in bores on each brake. As the pads on each wheel engage, friction is applied to rotors to slow and stop a moving vehicle. Ceramic, metallic and organic brake pad materials all require replacement. The brake replacement cost and operational life are the biggest differences between brake pads.
How To Identify You Cars Brake Pad Specs
Check your vehicle manual or enter the make, year model and submodel of your vehicle into the search function of an online car parts retailer to narrow down the selection of replacement brake pads. You have the option to purchase parts made by the original equipment manufacturer or aftermarket brake parts. While it is easy to rebuy brake pads made by the same brand of the same material as worn components, you may achieve better performance from premium materials that suit your driving style and regional conditions.
The most popular brake pads are semi-metallic, which provide a good balance between smooth braking and durability. Organic pads may be more soft and quiet, but do not last as long. Ceramic brake pads are reinforced with copper fibers for soft application and long life.
How To Pick the Best Brake Pads
Although ceramic brake pads last the longest and may be the most expensive, this material is not optimal for every vehicle or region. Very cold weather reduces the functionality and shortens the lifespan of ceramic pads. Semi-metallic brake pads may be better for a wide range of vehicle builds and driving conditions.
Factor in material features, part cost and longevity to choose the best replacement brake pads for your vehicle and the way you drive. It may be possible to save on OEM or aftermarket brake pads by shopping sales or using AutoZone coupons.
How To Replace Brake Pads
Engage the parking or emergency brake and put cinderblocks behind the front wheels to keep a vehicle from rolling during brake work. Loosen wheel lug nuts on both front wheels, both back wheels or all of the wheels depending on how many brake pads you plan to replace.
Either replace both sets of driver and passenger-side front or back brake pads or all of the brake pads. This allows for even wear and is helpful for keeping track of the mileage on these parts. You may need to switch out brake pads sooner or later depending on frequency of use and signs of wear.
Most brake pads last 35,000 to 60,000 miles. Visible indications that these components have worn down to being about 5 millimeters thick, or less than half the original thickness, are the clearest sign that it is time to replace brake pads.
Many brake pads also have a metal burr embedded at the 3 mm level that squeals as it comes into contact with the rotor. This sound signals that that pads should be changed to prevent wear on other disc brake components.