Brake pads are manufactured using various materials, each with its own characteristics in terms of cost, performance, and life expectancy. The three primary types of brake pad materials are non-asbestos organic (NAO), semi-metallic, and ceramic. Here's a brief overview of each:
NAO brake pads are made from a combination of organic materials, such as rubber, glass, Kevlar, and other fibers, bound together with resin.
Generally, NAO brake pads are among the least expensive options.
NAO pads provide smooth and quiet braking with low levels of dust. They are suitable for everyday driving and commuter vehicles.
NAO pads may have a shorter lifespan compared to semi-metallic or ceramic pads, especially under heavy-duty or high-performance driving conditions.
Semi-metallic pads contain a mixture of metal fibers, typically made of steel, combined with organic materials and fillers.
Semi-metallic brake pads are moderately priced, falling between NAO and ceramic pads.
Semi-metallic pads offer good stopping power and are often used in high-performance and heavy-duty applications. They can handle higher temperatures but may produce more brake dust and noise compared to NAO pads.
Semi-metallic pads generally have a longer lifespan than NAO pads and are well-suited for various driving conditions.
Ceramic brake pads are made from a dense ceramic material, mixed with copper fibers and sometimes other components.
Ceramic brake pads are often the most expensive option among the three types.
Ceramic pads provide excellent stopping power, generate less dust, and operate quietly. They also offer good performance in various temperatures and are known for their smooth engagement.
Ceramic pads tend to have a longer life expectancy compared to NAO and semi-metallic pads. They are suitable for daily driving and are often preferred for luxury and performance vehicles.
I highly recommend the use of ceramic pads on all of our brake jobs, except in cases where the owner is planning to sell the vehicle in the near future. While ceramic pads may have a higher upfront cost, their longer lifespan and lower maintenance needs result in cost savings over time.