The Dos and Donts of Buying Brake Pads

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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Brake Pads

A brake pad is a thin block that presses on the disc that is located in a disc brake. The disc brakes are located on the front wheels of modern cars, and some models also have them on the rear wheels. They are also used on motorcycles. Brake pads are responsible for stopping the car or the motorcycle. During braking, hydraulic pressure pushes the brake pads against the brake discs found on the wheels. The friction generated between the pads and discs is what causes the vehicle to stop.

As brake pads have to cover at least two wheels, they are typically sold in pairs. Brake pads eventually wear out because of constant use. They are checked whenever a vehicle is serviced and replaced when they reach the specified point at which they are no longer considered safe. Brake pads can be purchased from high street shops that specialise in automotive and motorcycle parts, but they are also available through online auction sites, such as eBay. When buying brake pads, one should keep a few do's and don'ts in mind, in order to ensure safety at all times.

Do Choose the Correct Type of Brake Pads for Your Motorcycle

The brake pads used on motorcycles are divided into two types: sinter and organic. These types differ in terms of the material they are made of. Their characteristics vary depending on this material.

Sintered Brake Pads

Sintered brake pads contain a high percentage of metal. Compared to organic brake pads, sintered pads heat up more quickly, meaning that kinetic energy is converted into heat more quickly. This makes sintered pads extremely effective. The friction levels of sintered pads are maintained even in wet conditions, and these pads work well in very extreme conditions. Good sintered pads have a smooth surface of evenly distributed particles. Cheaper pads have a rougher surface, which may damage the brake disc. Sintered pads are best used on steel brake discs. Their main disadvantage is their tendency to corrode easily.

Organic Brake Pads

Organic brake pads are asbestos-free and they are made of fibres, such as Kevlar, glass, carbon, and rubber, as well as high-temperature resins and filler materials. The resins hold all the components together. Organic brake pads are composed of soft compounds, and as a result, they create less noise than sintered pads. However, this also leads to more dust and faster wear. Organic brake pads make a vehicle easier to control than sintered pads, because their bite point is softer. Organic brake pads are the best choice for cast iron brake discs.

Do Find the Perfect Car Brake Pad Material

Car brake pads can be made of four different kinds of materials. Each one of those has its advantages and disadvantages and suits certain kinds of cars or conditions.

Ceramic Car Brake Pads

Ceramic is a material that is hardened by heat, and brake pads made of ceramic have gained popularity. Braking is generally quiet with ceramic brake pads, although their performance gets worse at high temperatures. This material does not wear very quickly and creates less dust than other types of brake pads. The characteristics of ceramic brake pads are predictable, and therefore they are stable. With so many benefits, ceramic brake pads are more expensive than other types.

Organic Car Brake Pads

Organic car brake pads do not include asbestos, a toxic substance that was previously used in brake pads and that caused health problems. Organic brake pads are made from carbon or Kevlar, and they are the cheapest on the market today. Although Kevlar and carbon are softer and reduce noise, they also wear quickly and produce lots of braking dust. Because of their short life expectancy, they should only be used when on a budget.

Low Metallic Car Brake Pads

Low metallic car brake pads are similar to organic pads, but they also contain some metal, such as steel or copper, that makes them stronger. Although low metallic pads offer efficient braking action, they are noisy and do not last long. They may also leave black residue on the alloy wheels.

Semi-Metallic Car Brake Pads

Semi-metallic car brake pads consist of steel and other metals. They are resistant to high temperatures and last for a long time. However, the steel components of semi-metallic brake pads can be rather abrasive and wear away the brake disc. The composition of semi-metallic brake pads also makes them noisier than other types.

Comparison of Car Brake Pads

Finding the best material for car brake pads can be a difficult task, because there are many factors to consider. The following chart compares the different car brake pad materials in order to make the decision slightly easier.




Low Metallic



Long life expectancy

Shortest life expectancy

Slightly longer life expectancy than organic

Long life expectancy


Great, but decreases at high temperatures

Soft, reduces noise


Work well at high temperatures, but noisy


Ceramic fibres

Carbon, Kevlar

Carbon, Kevlar, and some metal

Steel and other metals


Most expensive




Brake pads can be chosen based on the desired performance and budget. However, it is also worthwhile to check what the car manufacturer suggests for use on the specific model. The previous brake pads of the car can also be studied in order to determine the material that was used.

Do Choose Certified Brake Pads

As brake pads are very important parts of the braking system and influence safety, they are regulated by law. When buying brake pads, one should make sure that they are certified, in order to be confident that they can help to prevent accidents and save lives.

ECE-R90 Brake Pad Certification

The ECE-R90 is a European quality standard used for brake pads. This standards requires that all replacement brake pads have certain parameters similar to the original brake pad specifications. In order to conform to this standard, the brake pads have to perform within plus and minus 15 percent in a series of tests. The tests are carried out at different speeds in order to ascertain that the brake pads are in working order no matter what the speed is. This certification is used for brake pads designed to fit cars that weigh 3.5 tonnes or under.

Don't Buy Used Brake Pads

Although used brake pads are cheaper to buy, they may not be in perfect condition because they already have a few miles behind them. It can be tempting to buy used brake pads, but in the long run, they are not very cost-effective, as they have to be replaced sooner or later in order to maintain safety. During MOT checks, used and worn brake pads can become a problem and then they have to be changed. With used brake pads, there is no guarantee that they still meet the safety standards required by law.

Don't Wait Too Long to Replace the Brake Pads

Properly working brake pads are a prerequisite of safety, and worn out brake pads cannot offer the same level of security as new ones do. How quickly the brake pads wear depends on several factors. The driving style, the type of use,and the type of vehicle all play a role in the wear. Some brake pads last only up to 25,000 miles, while others can go for 70,000 miles. Driving around in town requires using the brakes frequently, but as the braking takes place at low speed, the wear is not significant as compared to braking at high speed. The front brake pads are generally replaced because they are used more often and thus wear out, while the rear pads may suffer from corrosion. The brakes should be checked each time the car is serviced.

In case the brake pad material wears away completely, the metal backing material on the brake pad can run up against the brake disc and cause scoring, cutting and scratching of the disc. This influences the brake performance. If a distressing metallic noise occurs when applying the brakes, the brake pads may require replacing. If the pads are not changed, the discs can also be damaged and then these need changing as well.

Buying Brake Pads on eBay

When buying brake pads on eBay, start by browsing the range of brake pads available. You can get a list of brake pads if you search for them using the search box, which you can find at the top of any eBay page. Word your search terms depending on the make and model of the vehicle that you are looking to buy the brake pads for, using the keywords "car" or "motorcycle". The more specific the keywords, the more likely you are to get the results you are after. Once you have received the initial search results, you can go further by clicking on related searches, or by sorting the results by price or auction time. You can also select the condition of the brake pads. It is advisable to buy new ones that have not worn out yet.

As brake pads are part of safety equipment and must be depended upon to work faultlessly in any situation, make sure that you opt for certified brake pads. Look for the European ECE-R90 certification from the item listing. If you cannot find it, feel free to contact the seller. Other things you can ask the seller include payment methods, delivery, packaging, refunds, exchanges, and postage costs.


Brake pads are small mechanisms used on cars as well as motorcycles. When the brake pedal is pressed down, the brake pads are pushed against the brake discs on the wheels, and this causes the vehicle to come to a stop. As brake pads should always be in working order to maintain safety, it is important to choose them carefully.

Motorcycle brake pads are made of either metal or organic materials, such as carbon, glass, Kevlar, or rubber. Metal brake pads are sintered and they fit steel brake discs. Organic brake pads are used on motorcycles that have iron brake discs.

Car brake pads can be similarly made of organic materials, but these wear out quickly, although they are quiet. Low metallic brake pads have some metal in them and last longer than organic pads, while semi-metallic ones are even more durable. However, semi-metallic pads are abrasive and can damage the disc. Ceramic brake pads are more expensive than other types, but offer the most benefits, from long life expectancy to stability.

Brake pads should be new and certified in order to ensure maximum safety during driving. Brake pads should be replaced at the right time, because if the pads wear out, the disc can be damaged and then more parts of the vehicle need replacement than just the pads. A distressing metal noise or a squealing sound during braking is a clear sign that it is time for new brake pads.

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