Why You Shouldn’t Go for the Cheapest Brake Pads

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I have a friend who prides himself on buying the cheapest brake pads he can find. There are good ways to save money and then there are bad ways to do it.  One such faux pas in stretching your dollars’ worth is by buying the cheapest brake pads that you can find.

While saving money on brake pads may seem like a wise idea monetarily, it’s actually  counter-productive and unsafe for you – the reasons being the topic of this article.

As it is, a lot of vehicle owners believe that the cheapest is always the best. But when it comes to performance and safety of vehicle owners and their passengers, going for the best brake pads on the market is the way to go. 

Ok, so why not go for the budget-friendly ones, you may ask?

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Before we try answering that, let’s first discuss the different types of brake pads and their applications, so we can better appreciate their functions.

Types of Brake Pads

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The following are the various types of brake pads commonly used in vehicles and the applications they are best suited for.


Semi-metallic brake pads are by far the most common type of pads and are used in many vehicle makes and models. These pads consist of roughly 30% to 65% metal, with the remaining materials made up of wire, steel wool, or copper. 

One thing that makes them well-loved by car manufacturers and owners is their heat-resistance, thus allowing them to perform better than other brake pad types. They are also more rotor-friendly, which means that they don’t wear down the rotors over time unlike the rest of their counterparts.

Ideal application: Best for race cars and similar high-performance vehicles.

Non-asbestos organic

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly brake pad type, then this is the variety for you. These organic pads are normally made from Kevlar, rubber, and fiberglass and are known to be quiet and easy on the rotors. 

However, they do wear easily and should only be used for typical road drives and never on the race track.

Ideal application: Typical vehicles that do not require power braking.


Ceramic brake pads are the choice of supercar owners and makers for their outstanding braking power and heat-absorption. These pads are manufactured using ceramic fills and are favoured for their quietness during braking actions. 

Since they function best when the rotors are already warm or hot, they can be inefficient when the vehicle has just left the driveway.

Ideal application: Sports cars and similar high-performance vehicles.

Low-metallic NAO

If you want a slightly better braking performance than the one offered by an organic pad, then go for low-metallic brake pads instead. They are made using a mix of steel or copper and organic materials. 

But be forewarned that they can be noisy when used plus produce a lot of brake dust that can make your wheels unsightly.

Ideal application: Regular vehicles that need a slightly better braking power than daily-driven cars.

5 Reasons Not To Buy the Cheapest Brake Pads

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Now that you’ve gained a better understanding of brake pads, take a quick read of these 5 reasons why buying the cheapest brake pads is a big no-no.

Reason #1: They rust easily

Jason Fenske, host of the YouTube channel Engineering Explained, once did a video that explained in great detail the biggest reasons why using cheap brake pads on your vehicle is flat out bad. 

One reason that he gave is that based on a test pitting cheap brake pads against OEM and branded pads, he found out that the cheap pads formed rust on the backing plate and the friction material itself. 

Fenske simulated winter conditions to achieve such results to show that having inferior-quality pads on your brake system can be bad during harsh weather. Rusting can definitely affect the life and performance of the brake pads, which will only lead to headaches and trouble. 

Reason #2: They offer a less predictable pedal feel

When slowing down your vehicle or going for a full stop, it’s vital to have the brakes offer you a predictable pedal feel, so you can exert the optimum force possible. 

Having a predictable pedal feel will also give you confidence knowing that you can push the brake pedal correctly each time. With cheap brake pads, it’s not the case, as Fenske found out in his tests.

Reason #3: You can’t expect great stopping power when you need it most

The best brake pads undoubtedly provide the strongest stopping power, which can be life-saving during emergency braking situations. However, you can’t expect this same benefit if you instead chose to buy the lowest-priced brake pads.

Reason #4: They smell bad when burning out

While a burnt smell is somewhat normal from brake pads, some pads just smell more badly than others. 

Because the cheapest brake pads in the market are made from inferior filler materials, they typically emit a nasty burnt rubber scent over time. Now, I don’t know about you, but I hate such smells, especially when I’m on the road and enjoying a quiet drive.

Reason #5: They tend to crack during emergency braking

One last thing about cheap brake pads is just how normal it is for them to crack during panic stops. 

Not only will this make your wheels dirty, it can also be quite scary knowing just how much pad materials can be lost over time. Hence, you can find yourself in a bind particularly during instances when you need to slow down or stop your car quickly to avoid collision.


Car Technicians You Can Rely On

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If you’re in the market for the best brake pads or just looking for a great vehicle repair job, you can count on us at American Auto Care/Automotive Service and Repair of Murrieta. For many years now, we have established a solid reputation for outstanding work ethic, high quality service, and keen attention to clients’ needs.

We have served countless residents across Murrieta, CA, and nearby locations, establishing ourselves as a household name in these areas. We have achieved this by providing comprehensive vehicle services at competitive rates. 

Our ability to handle all vehicle makes and models allows us to help the greatest number of vehicle owners possible. Plus, we put the highest priority in ensuring that our clients’ vehicles are 100% road-worthy once they go out of our service area.

For any questions about our offered services, call us now at (951) 461-2507. We’re happy to answer all your queries and provide the right solutions to your vehicle-related problems. 

We look forward to seeing you soon and giving you the best bang-for-money service in the Murrieta area.

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