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Brake Pads & Rotors

Fully functional brake pads and rotors are essential to the safe operation of a motor vehicle, and most importantly, being able to stop safely in heavy traffic or emergency situations. When your braking system needs replacement, your friends at Modern Automotive have the parts and equipment for any make or model of car, light truck or SUV. It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is foreign or domestic; the Modern Automotive staff has the expertise and experience to change your brake pads and rotors quickly with their high-quality service

Why do I need to maintain brake pads & rotors?

Modern Automotive mechanic replacing brake pad and rotorFirst and foremost, when you drive, you need care and control of your vehicle. Your braking system is what creates safe conditions for slowing down and stopping in a controlled manner. The brake pads and rotors work in concert to deliver the stopping power for your vehicle. It works like this: when a driver depresses the brake pedal, the pads will close on the rotor and create friction when they contact the rotor. The friction is what reduces speed to the point of stopping. When brake pads are worn, they can’t engage the rotor, as there is little or nothing on the pad to create the resistance needed. In some cases, the worn pads will take longer to slow the car and it increases the chances of a collision should you not be able to stop in time.

What kind of brake pads are the best?

There are a few different schools of thought for brake pads, and they come in four different types. Your needs will determine what type of pads work best for a vehicle. 

Ceramic brake pads 

Ceramic brake pads are by far the best type of pads available. The ceramic material releases less brake dust and generates less noise than other conventional brake pads. The working life of a ceramic brake pad is much longer than any other brake pad on the market due to its superior resistance to heat caused by the friction between the brake pad and rotor. But, they tend come in a little bit more expensive than other types of brake pads. 

Semi-metallic brake pads

Semi-metallic brake pads are made up of 30-65 percent metal and they are considered very durable. The semi-metallic pads are cost-efficient, and aren’t as hard on the rotors as a ceramic pad, as the primary use for this system is for racecar or high-performance drivers where function precedes durability. Low-metallic, non-asbestos 

Organic brake pads

Low-metallic, non-asbestos brake pads are a preferred option for those who prefer organic products, but come with a few drawbacks: they are noisier than other pads, and release a great deal of brake dust. The upside of this product is great heat transfer from the copper or steel in the pads. Excellent heat transfer helps stopping power, and is why they are a popular choice for drivers. Non-asbestos organic brake pads are considered a more environmentally-friendly option, and are made from either fibre, glass, rubber or Kevlar. They are quiet in terms of brake noise, but also wear out quicker than other options, and the high amount of brake dust may be considered unsightly for some.

What are the best brake rotors?

When shopping for brake rotors, you need to take into consideration the use of the vehicle to get the best stopping system for your automobile. 

  • A commuter will need high-quality, standard rotors, that will bring the vehicle to a controlled stop, and do so safely. 
  • If you drive a truck, tow a boat, or trailer, you will need slotted or drilled rotors to help with the heat transfer that will occur under heavy braking required to slow down the load you are pulling. 
  • Off-roaders will benefit from two different types of brake pads that are made for extreme use. For off-roaders that run through the forest or the desert, they need slotted or drilled rotors to keep the braking system cool under stress. For the mudders in our world, slotted or drilled rotors would be a handicap because the slots or holes will clog in the mud. Traditional rotors serve the mudders’ interest best; they slow the vehicle without any problems that the slot rotors pose. 
  • If you are a street racer, you know that running at high speeds means you need a rotor that will stay cool under intense racing. A slotted or drilled rotor is what you need to keep the braking system working optimally to be able to bring the car under control at high speeds. If you watch auto racing, one thing you may have noticed, the brakes on race cars are glowing red when a reduction in speed is needed. Race cars need high-performance rotors that are a single or two-piece design that contains specifically pattern slots or holes. These rotors are much larger than stock rotors because braking at high speeds generates a great deal of heat that must be vented. 

As we have seen, heat transfer or resistance is important when stopping our vehicles. You must consider another factor, how well the rotors will handle water resistance when trying to stop. 

When should I replace brake pads & rotors?

The age-old question: when to buy new brake pads and rotors should be considered in tandem. If you hear a squeaking sound or a grinding sound coming from your braking system, you know that your brake pads are wearing out and failing. What you’re hearing is the pad assembly grinding on the brake pad. Two problems here: first, the burned-out brake pads aren’t creating enough friction to slow or stop your car.  Second, the extra work for the rotor in this situation wear on the rotor and will demand a replacement if driven for too long with inferior brake pads. After an extended time with old brake pads, the rotors can warp, and cause your car’s braking system to fail altogether.

To keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, you should change your brake pads every 16,000-32,000km depending on your driving habits. The rotors, on the other hand, can last for at least 80,000-100,000km – as long as they aren’t damaged by pads that have reached the end of the life cycle. 

At Modern Automotive, we will ask you about your driving habits to create the best solution for your automotive problems. Call our shop, at Modern Automotive today, to book your service call for brake pads and rotors at 905.660.6100

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