Brake Pads

Brake pads are components of the disc brake system. The system comprises of a backing plate that has a friction material fitted on it. They work with other disc brake system components to halt your vehicle. They are not used in heavy commercial vehicles, which often rely on a system of brakes consisting of a drum brake and brake shoes.

How do brake pads work?

When you press your pedal, the pressure exerted pushes against the master cylinder, which contains brake fluid. The fluid then activates the callipers, which apply pressure to the pads. The pads then press against the rotating disc causing friction. This results in the wheel of your vehicle slowing down and finally coming to a stop.

Types of materials used on brake pads

The friction material used on the pads is known as brake lining. Below are the different materials fitted on brake pads:

Organic materials

These are non-metallic components. They comprise glass, resin, or rubber. They can withstand high temperatures and are considerably quieter than other pads. They are also eco-friendly since they don’t contain hazardous elements.

These types of materials are softer and wear out at a quicker rate than others wear. For instance, if you drive a heavy truck, they might not be the best option for you.

Semi-metallic materials

They are made of metal residues of steel, graphite, copper, or brass. If you have heavy-duty commercial vehicles, consider using brake pads made of semi-metallic materials. These pads are durable and more effective compared to organic ones.

The downside of these types of pads is that they can cause wear and tear to other brake components due to friction. Semi-metallic pads can also be noisy, especially when they begin to wear out.

Ceramic materials

They are made of ceramic fibers such as aramid fibers or fiberglass. These materials are of high quality and last longer than semi-metallic and organic materials. Ceramic pads can withstand extreme braking and produce minimal dust. On the other hand, ceramic brake pads can be a bit costly.

How long do they last?

Typically, they work well within the first 30,000 to 70,000 miles. Others can last for up to 100,000 miles. However, their will depend on several factors:

The type of material

Heavy-commercial brake pads can last longer than those of lower quality can. For instance, ceramic ones can last longer than organic ones.

The type of vehicle

Heavy-duty commercial vehicles like transit trailers will require a regular change of pads. This is because they weigh more than regular vehicles and mostly carry heavy loads. The braking power required by a truck can be massive and result in wear and tear on your brakes.

Driving conditions

If you are driving your vehicle on rough terrain, you might require a higher braking power. When you drive on high-traffic roads, you might encounter a traffic jam that requires you to halt your vehicle more often. In this case, you might replace your brake pads sooner than a driver who operates on remote and extra urban roads.


Signs that you require brake pads replacement

Several signs indicate a change of pads is needed. They include:

Grinding Sounds

When you notice a grinding sound when you step on your brakes, it indicates that your brake pads are worn out. The grinding sound is a result of your calipers making contact with your rotor. This could be dangerous, and you should consider replacing pads.


If you have noticed a vibrating movement after pressing your brake pedals, it might indicate that you require changing your brake pads.

When the pads wear out, they can cut into your rotor and scrape off some metal. This creates a non-uniformity in the thickness of your rotor, which causes vibration. Consider getting a professional to inspect your braking pads and rotor.

Your vehicle takes longer to halt

When your vehicle takes a longer period to stop, it might be an indication that your brake pads are worn out. Worn-out brake pads might take time to apply friction to your rotor, which causes the delay. This could pose a great risk, especially when you need to stop your truck instantly.


When your brake linings are thin

The minimum size of your truck’s brake linings is a quarter inch. If you inspect your brake linings and notice they are less than a quarter-inch, you need to replace them.


Pads are a crucial element of your disc brake system. Without them, you could pose a great danger to yourself and other individuals. Call in a professional to check regularly the condition of your pads. If you require any assistance with your brake pads and brake linings for heavy commercial vehicles, get in touch with us today!

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