You likely don't know that there are a variety of different types of brake pads available. Most people just accept the standard pads that they get from the auto shop that does brake services. But you can specify the type of pad you want them to use to better match your style of driving. Here are the choices you have in brake pads and how each one affects your car.
Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
This is the standard pad put on cars during a brake job. This brake pad is made by embedding small pieces of metal into a resin base. The typical metals used include steel, copper, iron or graphite. There could be a mixture of metals used in the pad. The size of the metal pieces determines the cost of the pad, with the pads having smaller metal pieces being the most expensive.
These pads are less efficient at low temperatures and need to be warmed up to be at their peak performance. You'll need to tap on these brakes a few times before going down steep inclines with a heavy load.
These pads also create a fine black dust that coats the wheels and adjoining parts of the car.
Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO)
Instead of pieces of metal, these pads use glass, rubber or Kevlar fibers embedded in the resin base. These pads are quieter than the semi-metallic pads, but they still produce the dust on the car. These pads are good for use in the city where there is a lot of stop-and-go driving.
These pads need less warm up, which makes them good for hilly roads and pulling heavy loads. They also retain heat longer than the semi-metallic pads, so you may need to let them rest and cool off when driving in mountainous areas.
These pads are also more expensive than semi-metallic pads and they tend to wear out faster.
This pad combines metal pieces to the NAO pad to give a firmer braking response and to do a better job of dissipating the heat. This pad works well at all temperature extremes. It is noisier than the straight NAO pad and still produces dust. It is more expensive than the previous two pads but does have a longer life.
Tiny ceramic fibers are used in these pads. They produce no dust, which makes them the choice on luxury automobiles. They don't do well at high temperatures, so their use should be limited to city driving. These are the quietest of all the brake pads and the most expensive. They are also the hardest on the rotors, so when using ceramic pads, you should plan on more frequent brake inspections.
For more information and options for your breaks, contact your local auto repair services shop.