Car video reviews:

How to Save Money When Buying New Brake Pads

You are driving home from a hard day at the office and as you slalom through the nightmarish traffic the stoplight ahead turns red. You engage the brakes and for the first time in your life, you hear that sinister screech. That means it’s time for new pads, but which pads do you buy?
BMW wheel 6 photos
Ate Braking SystemTextar Brake PadsATE Ceramic Brake PadsBosch Brake PadsTMD Friction Services GmbH
When looking at a car you admire its design, the paintwork, or interior, but I have yet to meet someone that asks, “what kind of brakes does this car have?”

Yes, the braking system and its components might not be the most glamorous feature of your car, but it is one of the most important. The system relies on two pads positioned inside each caliper that hug the rotor when the pedal is pressed.

They all wear out at some point but even though manufacturers may specify an estimated lifespan, this largely depends on your driving style and the type of roads you usually drive on.

When they do deteriorate to the point you need to replace them, they will let you know either acoustically or through the electronic sensor that turns on a warning light on your vehicle’s instrument panel.

To avoid getting to this point you can check your pad wear every time you take the car for an oil change or a tire swap.

Likewise, if you never changed the pads yourself, do not try this on your own, take a trip to your local mechanic or dealership because it is not an easy task for the unqualified.

In order to buy the correct pads, you can either go to a parts shop or dealership, where they will offer a set based on your vehicle information. You can also find them by yourself, using a VIN-based online parts catalog, but this requires a bit of technical knowledge.

Either way, it is extremely important to use quality parts because we are talking about the braking system here. The safest bet is to get OE (original equipment) pads because your car was equipped with those from the get-go.

The downside is the steep price they usually have. This is where a bit of research can save you some money while still ending up with high-quality brake pads.

Most braking systems are made by third-party manufacturers. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, for example, has a Brembo braking system and thus Brembo pads. BMW uses Textar on newer models, a Volkswagen Golf could have ATE or TRW pads, depending on the model year, and the list can go on.

The trick is to buy aftermarket pads from OE manufacturers like Brembo, ATE, Wagner, Textar, Bosch, SSBC, APC Automotive, Delphi, or Ferodo, to name a few.

There is a load of information available online by simply searching for what company manufactured your car’s braking system.

Another useful tip you can use is to buy ceramic pads if they are available for your car. They are almost twice as expensive as traditional pads, but they will last significantly longer and save money in the long run.

They are also quieter, perform better at high temperatures, and will not cover your beautiful wheels with that awful black brake dust.

So now that you know who are the premium brake manufacturers you should look to compare prices and choose the set that best suits your budget.

Finally, be sure to have your rotors and brake fluid checked before the pads are changed to avoid another premature visit to the repair shop.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories