Brake Pad & Rotor Kits

Brake Pad & Rotor Kits

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Brake Pad & Rotor Kits at 1A Auto

What are brake pads and rotors and where are they located?

Brake pads and rotors are part of the disc braking system. When you press the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure moves the brake caliper pistons and presses the brake pads into the rotors, which slows down your vehicle. On most models, the rotors are placed inside the wheel and tire and are connected to the wheel hubs.

Most cars and trucks produced after 1972 have come standard with front disc brakes. Many vehicles today have rear disc brakes too, but some models still use brake drums and brake shoes in the rear, making the rear brakes different on some models.

Do I have brake rotors or drums?

To tell if you have brake rotors or drums in the rear, you can look at the brake assembly through the wheel. Rotors will have a clunky metal piece called the caliper attached to it. Brake drums will look cylindrical with no caliper, since the brake shoes are located inside.

What are brake shoes on a car?

Brake shoes have a lot in common with brake pads. Both have thermal material attached to the shoe or pad that’s used to create friction. In automobiles, brake shoes slow the vehicle down by sitting inside the brake drum and expanding against it when the brake pedal is pushed.

What do disc brakes and drum brakes have in common?

Disc brakes and drum brakes have a bit in common. They both rub against the brake pad or brake shoe material to create the friction and heat needed to slow down the wheel. Disc brakes can dissipate heat at a faster rate, but drum brakes can make for a stronger emergency brake.

Are front brake pads different from rear brake pads?

Front brake pads are different from rear brake pads. When you stop your vehicle, the weight will shift to the front of the car, making front brakes responsible for much of the stopping power. Since front brakes do more work than the rear, front brake rotors and pads need to be thicker.

Why are my brakes squeaking?

If your brakes squeak when you stop, it could be that your brake pads have worn down. Friction helps your vehicle come to a stop, and over time it breaks down the brake pad material. Heat, rust, moisture, or other outside elements can also cause your brakes to squeak, which doesn’t always signify a problem.

Why does my brake pedal vibrate?

Your brake pedal will usually vibrate, pulsate, or the front end will wobble from warped brake rotors. Brake rotors usually warp from excessive heat and from the use of worn out brake pads. Any sign of cracking, corrosion, or uneven disc surface is a good reason to replace your brake rotors. 

How do I know if my brake pads and rotors need to be replaced?

You should replace your brake pads and/or rotors when you hear a squeaking or squealing sound coming from the wheels. Most brake pads come with a wear tab. Some cars use electronic wear sensors that will illuminate a “service brake” light. A vibrating brake pedal or wobbling front end could also indicate rotor warpage or corrosion. 

When should I replace my brake pads?

You’ll know your brake pads need to be replaced if they have a wear tab. As the surface of the pads wears away, the wear tab will grind into the rotors, creating the “metal on metal” noise. This is usually heard when the brakes are applied, but it can be heard during normal driving with worn out pads.

At that point the squeaker will rub and wear grooves into the rotor, leaving you to find a replacement. In this case you could have the rotors machined or turned to a smooth surface, but this can only be done so many times before the rotor wears too thin to be reused. To reduce curb weight, modern rotors are designed with less thickness than ones from the past, so replacing rotors with the brake pads may be your best bet.

How often should I replace my brake pads and rotors?

Brake pad wear depends on your driving habits. Typically, you should change the brake pads on your car every 50,000 to 70,000 miles, but this can vary with city driving compared to highway driving. The more often you stop your vehicle, the more often you’ll need to replace them. Brake life can also be influenced by the type of material used on the pads, their hardness, and the types of roads and traffic you encounter on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to inspect them yourself or have a mechanic inspect them during routine maintenance. 

Your brakes are one of your vehicle’s most essential safety features. If they don’t work, you may not be able to safely stop your car. Being able to safely stop your car is equally as important as being able to start it. Otherwise, you will be a danger to yourself and other motorists. Be sure to obtain replacement brake pads and rotors as soon as possible if the vehicle needs them.

How much do new brakes cost?

Replacement brake pads can cost from $15-$20 for basic pads up to $20-$40 for premium on the front or rear. Replacement rotors can cost $30-$50 dollars each. A front or rear brake repair can cost from $80-$140 for parts, plus an average $80-$100 hourly rate at your mechanic, bringing the total cost to $200-$300.

Can I replace the brake pads and rotors myself?

With a little effort, you can replace the brake pads and rotors on your own car. For the novice do-it-yourselfer, a front or rear disc brake replacement should take about 2 hours. Most brake jobs are fairly straightforward and can be done if you’re a bit handy, have the right tools, and have a good installation guide. 

How do I replace the brake pads and rotors on my car?

To replace the brake pads and rotors, you’ll need tools that might include a ratchet and set of sockets, torque wrench, breaker bar, C-clamp, wire brush, jack and jack stands, brake grease, and a Phillips or flat head screwdriver. Here are the common steps you need to take:

  1. Loosen the lug nuts
  2. Raise and secure the vehicle on jack stands
  3. Remove the wheel and tire
  4. Remove the caliper bolts and caliper
  5. Remove the brake pads
  6. Remove the caliper bracket bolts and bracket
  7. Remove the rotor
  8. Install the rotor
  9. Clean off the rotor and apply brake grease to the brake pads
  10. Clean the brake pad slides
  11. Mount the caliper bracket to the rotor and torque the bolts
  12. Insert the brake pads
  13. Push in the caliper pistons
  14. Install the caliper and torque the caliper bolts
  15. Replace the wheel
  16. Tighten the lug nuts preliminarily
  17. Lower the vehicle
  18. Torque the lug nuts in a star pattern


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