Brake Pads vs Rotors
A vehicle’s brakes are part of a complex system of many moving parts. But, all of them work together effortlessly to safely slow your vehicle down and bring it to a stop in Maple Shade, Moorestown, Cherry Hill, and beyond.
Two big parts of the braking system are the brake pads and rotors. But, what are the differences between them? We’ll answer that question in this guide to brake pads vs. rotors. Read through the information below, and contact us at Elite Acura if you have any questions.
How a Braking System Works
Before we explain the differences between brake pads vs. rotors, it’s important to go over the braking system as a whole.
This system consists of:
- Front disc brakes (aka, brake rotors)
- Rear drum brakes
- Master cylinder
- Brake pedal
- Brake lines
- Brake calipers
When you push down on the brake pedal, you push against a plunger in the master cylinder. Doing that forces brake fluid through a series of tubes to the braking unit at each wheel. This will then help bring the car to a stop.
While there are many little components inside the braking system, the two biggest and most well-known are the brake pads and brake rotors, which we’ll go over more in detail below.
Defining Brake Pads
The brake pads are what constantly connect and squeeze the brake rotors to secure the vehicle when coming to a stop. Because you make the most contact with the brake pads, they’ll often need to be replaced the most.
So, how do you know when brake pads need to be replaced? There are several warning signs to look out for, such as…
- Squealing noises: You may hear a light squealing noise when pushing down on the brakes first thing in the morning, especially after a rainy night. It simply means a bit of rust has been built up. However, if the noises don’t go away, then the brake pads will probably have to get replaced.
- Metallic grinding: If what you hear is a metal grinding sound, then the brake pads are so worn, that the brake discs and calipers are making contact. This metal-on-metal contact can greatly damage the brakes, so you’ll want to get the brake pads replaced as soon as possible.
If you have to get the brake pads replaced, there are various types to choose from, such as metallic, semi-metallic, and ceramic. Some have great stopping power, some are very quiet, and some are cost-effective. Your vehicle and driving habits will determine which is best for you.
Explaining Brake Rotors
The brake rotors are at the heart of the braking system, and are what get squeezed by the brake pads to stop your car. They’re designed to evenly disperse heat throughout the braking system so that it doesn’t overheat.
Just like brake pads, brake rotors will wear down over time. This is usually in the form of ridges or grooves where the brake pad rubs against it. When the brake pads get replaced, the rotor needs to be smoothed down a bit, so that the new pads have an even contact surface to work with. However, when the rotor becomes too thin, it’ll become unusable and will have to get replaced.
There are different warning signs that’ll alert you when to replace the rotors. For example, if your car pulls to one side when applying the brakes, then the brake pads are wearing unevenly. Or, a nonresponse or “sinking” brake will indicate a leak in the braking system.
These issues will ultimately affect the rotors. So, if anything pops up, have the entire braking system looked at, including the rotors.
Schedule Brake Service
If you’re having any issues with the brake pads or brake rotors, then schedule service at Elite Acura. We’ll make sure everything looks good, to help keep you safe on the roads of Maple Shade, Moorestown, and Cherry Hill.
So, don’t wait. Contact us for service today!