Improve Your Ride with the Right Brakes

Auto Smarts

Want to spend between 5 - 33% less on gas? The key could be your brakes.

Think about driving, braking, and gas in terms of energy.

Every time you brake, you’re sending tons of energy into your brake pads, and pulling it away from the energy that gets your car moving again. The more efficiently you brake, and the better your brake pads, the more efficiently energy is used in your car, the less gas your car uses, and the less often you have to fill up.

Long story short, braking correctly and finding the right brake pads for your car can improve your gas mileage, improve your ride, and save you money.


The Right Brake Pads for Your Car

Your brake pads are what convert the movement of your car into the friction that slows and stops it. The better they are at their job, the less energy it takes to brake.

To improve your ride with the right brake pads for your car, it’s important to understand the types of pads available today:

1. Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic brake pads are mostly composed of ceramic fibers.

  • Pros: they’re extremely resistant to wear and tear, quiet, don’t produce a lot of dust, and don’t wear down brake rotors as quickly as other pads.
  • Cons: not surprisingly, they’re usually the most expensive brake pads out there.


2. Non-Asbestos Organic Pads (NAO)

Asbestos isn’t used in domestically-produced brake pads anymore, but it’s still something to look out for when purchasing foreign-made pads. Made from glass, rubber, and similar materials, NAO pads are non-toxic and safe to use.

  • Pros: they’re pretty quiet and free of toxic materials.
  • Cons: they tend to wear down quickly and because of that, produce a lot of (non-toxic) dust.


3. Low-Metallic Non-Asbestos Organic Pads

Metallic and semi-metallic pads are meant for high-performance vehicles, but they’re specially-designed to be gentle enough for use in everyday cars too. These pads are similar to non-asbestos organic pads, but they contain small amounts of copper and steel.

  • Pros: the added metal makes for smoother braking and aids in heat transfer, preventing wear and tear without wearing down your brake rotors.
  • Cons: they’re typically pretty noisy and can produce high levels of (non-toxic) dust.


4. Semi-Metallic Break Pads

Semi-metallic brake pads are made from 30-65% metal. They’re essential for high-performance vehicles like race cars and heavy duty trucks, but can also be used in everyday vehicles. 

  • Pros: extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear.
  • Cons: can sometimes wear down brake rotors faster than other brake pads, and can be pretty noisy in most cars.


Braking Correctly

Smooth, gentle, and correct braking techniques can extend the life of any brake pads (whichever you choose for your car) and improve your ride. That means:

  • Gradually pushing down on the brake instead of stomping on the pedal.
  • Coasting slowly towards a stoplight and braking gently, instead of accelerating towards it and braking at the last minute.

The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only, and is not meant as professional or expert advice. Every attempt is made to ensure accuracy and timeliness, however all content is presented without guarantees.


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