Any sensible list of the most important vehicle components would include the braking system. Braking requires even more attention when you are towing, due to larger vehicle weights and size, thus different handling. As the parts of the braking system demand regular inspection and replacement due to frequent wear, it is imperative that you invest in quality parts, including the best brake pads for towing, to ensure safety.
Each brake component requires regular inspection since they are highly prone to wear and tear. Inspect the brake pads as soon as you start to hear a squealing sound as you turn your steering wheel or when you lightly apply the brakes, but the noise stops if you squeeze the brake pedal harder. Do not leave it until too late.
The life expectancy of brake pads varies depending on driving style and conditions as well as the vehicle weight and size. There are different types of brake pads on the market designed specially for towing, with different materials and characteristics to handle varying towing conditions.
While a variety of offerings might be overwhelming, you can easily pick the best brake pads for towing that suit your needs from this handpicked list. We have done the hard work of browsing the vast market and consulting reviews from thousands of professionals and full-time RVers to select the absolute finest offerings.
Enjoy this in-depth brake pads for towing review, including highlighting features plus pros and cons of each product, accompanied by brake pads basics, major buying factors, frequently asked questions, plus pro maintenance tips from seasoned RVers.
Tow away worry-free with this truly comprehensive buying guide. Regardless of your towing needs and preferences, there is something for everyone in this list, including the finest heavy duty brake pads for towing.
- Best Brake Pads For Towing Comparison Chart
- Best Brake Pads For Towing: In-Depth Reviews
- 1. Bosch BC905 QuietCast Brake Pads
- 2. Power Stop K6268-36 Z36 Brake Kit
- 3. ACDelco 14D785CH Brake Pads
- 4. Power Stop K3167-36 Z36 Brake Kit
- 5. Brembo P83024N Brake Pads
- 6. Hawk Performance HB302Y.700 LTS Brake Pads
- 7. Akebono ACT787 ProACT Brake Pads
- 8. Wagner Severe Duty SX756 Brake Pads
- 9. Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A Brake Pads
- 10. Power Stop K5874-36 Z36 Brake Kit
- 11. Motorcraft BRSD-756 Brake Pads
- 12. EBC Brakes DP31210C Redstuff Brake Pads
- Different Types Of Brake Pads
- Best Brake Pads For Heavy Towing: Buying Criteria
- 5 Warning Signs You Need New Brake Pads
- FAQs About Brake Pads For Towing
Best Brake Pads For Towing Comparison Chart
|No||Brake Pads For Towing||Prices||Our Ratings|
|1||Bosch BC905 QuietCast||$||*****|
|2||Power Stop K6268-36 Z36||$$$$$||*****|
|4||Power Stop K3167-36 Z36||$$$||****|
|6||Hawk Performance HB302Y.700 LTS||$||*****|
|7||Akebono ACT787 ProACT||$||*****|
|8||Wagner Severe Duty SX756||$||*****|
|9||Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A||$||****|
|10||Power Stop K5874-36 Z36 Brake Kit||$$$$$||***|
|12||EBC Brakes DP31210C||$$||*****|
Best Brake Pads For Towing: In-Depth Reviews
Below are the best brake pads for towing, all of which offer good value for money and a balance of the most important purchasing factors. Each product is highlighted with their pros and cons, so that you can determine which is the most suitable for your specific towing needs and preferences.
These are the tried and true brake pads that are testified and highly recommended by thousands of professionals and seasoned drivers. Each receives raving reviews on Amazon and auto forums. Among the vast number of brake pads on the market, these are your safest bets.
What are the best brake pads for towing:
- Bosch BC905 QuietCast – Best of The Best
- Power Stop K6268-36 Z36 – Editor’s Choice
- ACDelco 14D785CH – Editor’s Choice
- Power Stop K3167-36 Z36
- Brembo P83024N
- Hawk Performance HB302Y.700 LTS
- Akebono ACT787 ProACT
- Wagner Severe Duty SX756
- Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A
- Power Stop K5874-36 Z36
- Motorcraft BRSD-756
- EBC Brakes DP31210C Redstuff
Check out this comprehensive guide with detailed reviews for each product along with the pros and cons which could help you easily find the best option for your vehicle.
1. Bosch BC905 QuietCast Brake Pads
- Advanced ceramic friction formula
- OE-style rubber core shim
- Protective transfer layer
Why This Is The Best
On the current market of brake pads, Bosch is famous for their high quality products and Bosch BC905 QuietCast is a prime example. With exceptional stopping power and silent operation, this Bosch model is one of the best brake pads for towing in terms of all-around performance.
Instead of a copper-based material like what you would typically find in other brake pads, BC905 QuietCast employs an aluminum-based aerospace-grade alloy that makes it extra long-lasting and also environmentally friendly.
Thanks to the incorporation of the protective transfer layers, these brake pads and the associated brake rotors would enjoy longer lifespans. Being thermally conditioned to high temperatures, BC905 QuietCast proves to be strong and durable in extremely hot weather and frequent braking. Since the brake pads come with the brand hardware kit for installation, you would be able to get everything in place with ease.
A big bonus is that these Bosch brake pads generate negligible amounts of brake dust, maintenance is going to be straightforward in most cases.
As it’s made compatible with domestic, European and Asian vehicles, Bosch BC905 QuietCast is a versatile choice in various configurations. In addition, since the pads work with original motors, you won’t need to purchase new ones.
Great value for a very high quality pad!
These brake pads are very well made and very high quality! The pads for my application were friction rated “GG” which is very good. Everything that you could possibly need for pad replacement is included in the box: the new stainless slides/clips and silicone lube. I have installed over 100 sets of brakes pads and Bosch is now my “go to” pad for most applications. if you live in a salt/rust area, make sure that you remove the stainless clips and wire brush that area under the clips before installing the new ones that are provided. ensure that your pads slide easily and that you don’t have to force them in place.Shared by T. Chanter
- Great value for the money
- Quiet performance
- Long lifespan
- Some buyers report poor fit
- Quality control is less than exceptional
2. Power Stop K6268-36 Z36 Brake Kit
- Bolt-on upgrade
- Proprietary carbon fiber ceramic materials
- Dual-layer high temp rubberized shims
Why It’s An Editor’s Choice
Among specifically engineered heavy-duty brake pads for towing, Power Stop K6268-36 Z36 is by all accounts the best option. Boasting a combination of low dust ceramic and carbon fibers for reinforcements, Power Stop brake pads offer much improved braking power without sacrificing drivability.
Boasting dual-layer rubberized shims, Power Stop K6268-36 Z36 Brake Kit is one of the best brake pads for towing in terms of noise reduction. In addition, K6268-36 Z36 Brake Kit’s corrosion resistance is superb.
The Power Stop brake kit comes with brake pads as well as brake rotors. The fine brake rotors happen to be bolt-on upgrades which means no modification is needed. The precision drill holes on the brake rotors minimize the risk of damage to the brake system in case of extreme temperatures.
Amazing stopping power!!
Put these on my 2013 F150 and wish I would have done this upgrade the day I bought the truck! Stops way better than it did new. Factory rotors were annihilated towing a 5k lb trailer down hill. These did it with ease. Highly recommend. And they look great!Shared by Amazing Amazon Customer
One item of note. You MUST follow the break in process. If you do not follow the break in process the brakes will not perform as they should. If you follow the process the stopping power is outstanding. They are also silent and almost dust free. Much better braking than stock and a lot less brake dust.
Kit came with everything needed to do the brake job including lubricant. The hardware is an exact fit. Everything went together as expected. Hardest part was getting the old rotors off. Used a hammer from the backside and whacked it in the 12, 3, 6 & 9 o’clock positions a few times each and the rotors popped off.
- Well built and rugged
- Inconsistent performance between products
3. ACDelco 14D785CH Brake Pads
- No curing/machining required
- Ready for installation out of the box
- Basic shims, slots and chamfers
Why It’s An Editor’s Choice
At first glance, ACDelco 14D785CH seems to be a plain model. However, regarding reliability and safety, many professionals would swear on it being among the best brake pads for towing.
Featuring a ceramic construction with organic and semi-metallic constituents, this ACDelco model possesses excellent braking power. In heavy hauling, 14D785CH proves to be a capable option for most towing operations on a wide range of vehicles.
Regarding installation, you should be able to get the ACDelco brake pads and brake rotors in place with ease. In case you want to get a mechanic to take care of the setup, you won’t have to pay a lot since no curing/machining is required. While the shims, slots and chamfers look basic from the outside, they nonetheless are highly effective in reducing vibration and noise by large margins.
Regarding maintenance, ACDelco 14D785CH generates little dust which means you don’t have to worry about dirty wheels too often. That being said, regular cleaning of the brake pads is recommended.
I have a 1999 Chevy Silverado 1500 2WD with 193,00 miles that I have been through several brake jobs on in the last 70,000 miles. I used to get my parts from the popular auto stores and couldn’t get the brakes to last more than 30,000 miles. The pads would wear down really quick, and the rotors would always be below turning specs. 30,000 miles!!! I didn’t even bother with lame warranty they offered.Shared by Jeffrey W. Smith
Well, I finally gave up on the cheap aftermarket junk and at 183,000 miles, I put on AC Delco Advantage rotors and the ceramic pads. I had been out on Amazon recently buying the AC Delco parts really cheap and had been happy with everything. 2 of my rotors were Warehouse deals and were perfect condition. Anyway, I did the brakes all around and I feel like I finally got back truck back to normal. After about a 1,000 miles, the truck stopped like it was brand new. Just today, after 10,770 miles on these brakes, I was replacing the front hub bearings. When I got to the brakes and rotors, they looked practically new. I seriously mean that they showed virtually no wear on both sides of rotor, on both left and right sides of truck. I was totally shocked. I will be definitely keep putting the genuine AC Delco stuff on the truck as I have been very happy with all their parts so far.
- Reasonable price
- Outstanding longevity
- Fit multiple vehicles
- Less than ideal fitness
- Packaging must be improved
4. Power Stop K3167-36 Z36 Brake Kit
- Carbon fiber ceramic formula
- Stainless steel shims
- Drilled and slotted rotors
Why We Love It
So you really like the Power Stop K6268-36 Z36 Brake Kit but want something tailored for recreational vehicles? Then the Power Stop K3167-36 Z36 Brake Kit is just what you need.
Well optimized for RV setups, the Power Stop model is one of the best brake pads for RV towing nowadays. Using Z36 formula, the brake pads handle virtually everything on the road.
Thanks to the use of premium stainless steel shims, the brake pads have superior heat dissipation and braking power. In operation, the Power Stop model operates quietly.
To prevent overheating caused by friction when braking, the brake rotors that accompany the brake pads are carefully drilled and slotted. Being bolt-on, the brake rotors would fit right into place without requiring costly modification. The layout of the rotors also permits removal of dust and dirt on the pads.
Packing top-notch fade resistance, Power Stop K3167-36 Z36 is capable of maintaining consistent braking performance for a long time on the road. Such performance plus longevity make this brake pad model a great buy with excellent value for money.
F-150 Super Crew 4X4 now stops like a European sports sedan. Well, close anyway. This is truly an incredible kit and if you follow the instructions you will be amazed at the vast improvement in braking performance vs. the original pads & rotors. No squeaks, squeals etc. as seen from lower quality kits. Do it right the first time. This is the upgrade kit you have been looking for. These bring my overweight 4X4 to a stop frighteningly fast!Shared by FixingStuff
- No noise
- Great stopping power
- Straightforward maintenance
- Slightly pricey
- Some inconsistencies between products
5. Brembo P83024N Brake Pads
- Premium shim
- Smooth braking
Why We Love It
Boasting the multilayer ESE (Elastomer-Steel-Elastomer) shim, Brembo P83024N is highly capable of dampening noise and reducing heat. Produced by positive molding processes with extreme pressures, the Brembo brake pads possess excellent strength compared to the average brake pads on the market.
In addition, installation is uncomplicated. Regarding fade resistance, the Brembo brake pads might fade a little at first but after they settle down, their braking characteristics shall remain consistent in most cases.
In terms of compatibility, Brembo P83024N would match the rotors as well as calipers of vehicles that it’s rated for. Make sure to check the recommendations of the manufacturer before making a purchase.
Purchased these to replace my EBC green stuff pads. These pads work so much better. Not noisy or excessively dusty. Very pleased with these on my 4Runner.Shared by Dinks_no_more
- Effortless installation
- Admirable stopping power
- Maintenance intensive
- Optimized for North American market
6. Hawk Performance HB302Y.700 LTS Brake Pads
- Excellent life
- Superior fade resistance
- Improved braking power
Why We Love It
Designed for trucks, Hawk Performance HB302Y.700 LTS tend to be featured in the best brake pads for trucks reviews. The use of proven Ferro-Carbon formulation results in superb stopping power, a major plus while hauling heavy loads. In addition, incorporating the latest friction technology, the Hawk Performance pads dissipate heat effectively.
After the effortless installation, the brake pads would perform quietly as well as reliably reduce vibration while braking. The built-in groves allow the pads to hold together well at high temperatures.
Due to its low dust nature, Hawk Performance HB302Y.700 LTS is simple to maintain. All you have to do is to clean through the pads from time to time in order to keep your braking system in tip top shape.
Great pads, especially for heavier trucks
I can’t say enough great things about the Hawk LTS pads. I got about 70k miles out of the first set, on power slot rotors on a Ford Excursion. I’m a pretty hard driver, and really hard on brakes. Once burned in properly (critical to follow instructions and do it right) they stop incredibly smooth and progressively quicker on high speed/rapid stops. No fade whatsoever, just progressive bite. That’s unloaded which is about 8k or towing which is about 16k. On hard stops I find myself backing off the peddle pressure as the brakes do their thing coming to a stop.
I’m on the 2nd set, rear are the same rotors, and the fronts are new only because I damaged one of them, otherwise I would have simply replaced pads and moved on for another 60-70k miles.
During certain weather, you may hear a squeak or 2 which is normal. These pads have a blend of materials that’s a balance of powerful stopping (as with large trucks which can squeek like crazy) and lighter trucks/cars that use material to reduce/eliminate squeaking. I can’t imaging running anything else.Shared by J. Kennedy
- Heat tolerant
- Good for almost any truck
7. Akebono ACT787 ProACT Brake Pads
- No break-in period required
- Rotor friendly
- Ceramic formula optimized for vehicles
Why We Love It
Produced to match Original Equipment (OE) standards, Akebono ACT787 ProACT is among the best brake pads for towing when it comes to restoring braking characteristics. Utilizing vehicle-optimized friction formulations, these brake pads eliminate noise, vibration and brake dust. In addition, ACT787 ProACT is compatible with a wide range of cars as well as trucks.
Unlike conventional products on the markets, the Akebono model requires no break-in period so it offers peak performance from the get-go. Their fade-resistant characteristic means you will enjoy consistent braking power for a long while on the road.
As ACT787 ProACT features state-of-the-art technology designed to minimize tear and wear on the brake rotors. The pads also boast outstanding temperature resistance, so expect them to perform admirably in any outdoor weather condition.
Great replacement pads
Had to change the rotors on my Honda Accord due to a bad vibration/shimmy under high speed braking when warm. Reading that the combination of Centric rotors and Akebono pads were good I decided to try this. The set up is great, there is no vibration only smooth quiet braking. The only extras I had to buy were brake pad spreader clips. Check the Centric website to do the proper bed in of the pads to the rotors. I usually use Honda pads but they cost more and I’m sure that Akebono is the OEM. The Amazon price was the best on the web. I recommend these pads. Make sure to grease all the pins, ears, shims.Shared by EC
- Comparable to OEM pads
- Undemanding installation
- Quality control needs improvements
- Shipping service is barely acceptable
8. Wagner Severe Duty SX756 Brake Pads
- Exceptional strength
- Ling lifespan
- Industry standards
Why We Love It
Able to tackle heats, heavy loads and frequent stops, Wagner Severe Duty SX756 earns its well-deserved reputation as one of the best brake pads for towing regarding durability. The Wagner pads meet and in some cases surpass stringent industry-standard of brake pads.
Made to hold together in extreme environments, the Wagner brake pads are ideal for hauling heavy loads in hot weather. Regardless of the amount of heat it’s exposed to during the tow, Severe Duty SX756 always remains highly responsive. The commendable stopping power of the brake pads should allow you to conquer all sorts of terrains, including uphill and downhill, with much ease.
With a performance that proves comparable to most OEM pads nowadays, Wagner Severe Duty SX756 would be an outstanding replacement for worn-out brake pads.
Great brake from a reputable manufacturer
These are the pads to get if you do heavy duty towing. Many people think that ceramic is the way to go, because it’s more expensive. However, these pads will outperform ceramic all day long. Granted, they will make more dust, wear out faster, and eat rotors faster. But, that’s the price you pay for having pads that will stop you better and safer. Wagner is a trusted name and I feel good putting them on my vehicles and my customer’s vehicles. I can’t say that about the parts store brands.Shared by Travis M
- Great stopping power
- Excellent heat tolerance
- Plenty of brake dust
- Wear out rotors quickly
9. Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A Brake Pads
- Quiet performance
- Superior stopping power
- Low dust and long-lasting
Why We Love It
Being high quality yet super affordable, Wagner ThermoQuiet QC465A is among the best brake pads for towing in terms of cost-effectiveness. Boasting the exclusive Integrally Molded Sound Insulator (IMI), the pads effectively dissipate heat and minimize noise.
Additionally, the use of the proprietary friction formulations permits ThermoQuiet QC465A admirable stopping power without creating much dust. Therefore, the brake pads perform admirably in most towing operations.
For consistent performance on the road, the Wagner model is made to resist fade for durable and consistent stopping power. As the brake pads work with foreign as well as domestic vehicles, these pads can fit most towing applications without users needing to make additional modifications. In addition, these fuss-free brake pads are also easy to install.
Despite such compatibility, it’s wise to check the manufacturer’s dimension suggestions beforehand to make sure that you get your money’s worth.
Exceptional Quality & Price
I just installed these brake pads in my 2010 Honda Civic LX and they fit perfectly. Not only that but they also hold to their claim of being quiet…. extremely! Great price, great quality. A definite recommend for anyone who owns a similar automobile.Shared by Jeff
- Long lifespans
- Come with clips
- Overall fitness is inconsistent
- Get somewhat noisy in certain cases
10. Power Stop K5874-36 Z36 Brake Kit
- Zinc brake rotors
- Bolt-on upgrade
Why We Love It
Consists of perfectly matched components for off-road uses, Power Stop K5874-36 Z36 Brake Kit is a wise investment if you truly want the best brake pads for heavy towing. The Power Stop brake pads come with drilled, slotted and plated brake rotors which deliver unmatched performance in challenging environments.
These Power Stop pads are available for front axles, rear axles and front/rear axles. Because the brake kit comes with everything from pin bushings to brake lubricants, installation is undemanding. The carbon-fiber brake pads employ a dust-free formulation so maintenance is also easy.
Employing premium stainless steel shims, Power Stop K5874-36 Z36 Brake Kit possesses superb heat dissipation to handle overheating as well as excellent noise reduction.
I installed these on my 2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro as I hated the factory breaks. These turned out to work much better than the factory rotors and break pads, I would say about 40% improvement from the original breaks and that is a big deal. I spend a lot of time on highways and I feel much much better with these new breaks. I highly recommend these set of breaks for anyone with a Toyota 4Runner.Shared by Templar36
- Straightforward installation
- Excellent replacements for OEM
- Braking power is top-notch
- Less than ideal quality control
- Inconsistent lifespan between brake pads
11. Motorcraft BRSD-756 Brake Pads
- Multi Layered steel shims
- Friction linings
- All attachment hardware
Why We Love It
These Motorcraft BRSD-756 pads meet all federal safety standards for motor vehicles. Packing multi layered steel shims, these Motorcraft brake pads effectively handle noise and vibration, guaranteeing smooth towing experience.
In addition, the brake pads feature slots to minimize the risk of warping under heat. All in all, these are reliable, well-rounded brake pads with impressive stopping power.
Unlike other options on the market, these Motorcraft pads are accompanied by installation hardware for effortless setup. You won’t have to reuse old components in the case you need to replace the pads. For your information, Motorcraft manufactures calipers for loaded as well as unloaded designs so there are plenty of options.
- Come along installation hardware
- Work well in high temperatures
- Some products seem well used on arrival
- Certain parts might fail to fit properly
12. EBC Brakes DP31210C Redstuff Brake Pads
- Reduced dust
- Low heat fade
- For fast street
Why We Love It
Boasting a rather low fade design, longevity and some 80% brake dust reduction compared to OEM pads, EBC Brakes DP31210C Redstuff is highly sought after by frequent campers. Featuring a mix between ceramic elements and Kevlar based fibers, these EBC Brakes are durable and will last you many long trips on the road.
In addition, the brake pads are made for heavy towing, so they could handle heat with ease. Performance-wise, the EBC Brakes pads prove to be as good as heavy-duty brake pads on the market. With vertical groove as well as angled chamfers, DP31210C Redstuff minimizes the risk of rotor and disc damage. To facilitate selection, the manufacturer posts a comprehensive size chart on their website so customers could get the perfect pads for their vehicle.
- Low brake dust
- Nice heat tolerance
- Superb fade resistance
- Somewhat noisy at times
- Slightly inconsistent friction level
Different Types Of Brake Pads
The braking system of a car consists of brake rotors, brake calipers and brake pads.
Brake rotors are metal disc made from steel and iron. They connect to the axles, the component that turns the wheels. The brake calipers are clam-like parts that come into contact with both sides of the brake rotors to create friction when you brake.
When you press the brake pedal, the brake calipers clamp on both sides of the brake rotors to slow down the wheels to a stop.
To increase braking efficiency and minimize wear and tear on the expensive braking system, brake calipers are equipped with pads. These sacrificial pads squeeze on both sides of each brake rotor to slow it down.
The construction materials of all types of brake pads, including brake pads for towing, have considerable influence on braking performance. Each offers different pros and cons, thus choosing the best brake pads for towing really depends on your priorities.
Ceramic Brake Pads
Ceramic brake pads are made of ceramic and copper fibers. The ceramic used is very similar to that used to make pottery, but is much denser and more durable. Also embedded within them are fine copper fibers to help increase friction and heat conductivity.
Ceramic brake pads are loved for producing little noise and little brake dust. In fact, they make by far the most quiet braking operation compared to other types, creating little-to-no extra sound when the brakes are applied.
In general, ceramic brake pads prove to be solid choices for the average towing operations, despite not designed for performance.
However, a downside is that since both ceramic and copper can’t absorb as much heat as other types of materials, more of the heat generated during braking will pass through the brake pads and into the rest of the braking system. This can cause more wear and tear on other braking components, especially the brake rotors.
Also, ceramic pads aren’t suitable for all vehicles, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual before making a purchase. Lastly, ceramic brake pads are more expensive than the other types due to higher manufacturing cost, making them not as popular with budget-minded drivers.
- Price: High
- Performance: Medium
- Noise: Very low
- Wear & Tear On Brake System: Medium
Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
Semi-metallic brake pads are often referred to as just “metallic brake pad”. Made from copper, iron, steel and composite alloys, metallic brake pads offer much improved braking performance in a variety of weather conditions.
Considering the fact that metal is a fairly good conductor of heat, pads in the category endure heat well and cool down quickly, thus causing less wear and tear to the brake system compared to ceramic brake pads.
High quality semi-metallic pads contain fine metallic fibers while lower, cheaper quality pads have larger, more coarse portions of metal.
In contrast to ceramic brake pads, metallic brake pads indeed produce noises, which can be annoying to certain drivers. More importantly, the amount of brake dust generated by these pads is quite substantial, which means dirtier wheels.
This category is more affordable than ceramic brake pads, and is more costly than the last category, organic brake pads.
- Price: Medium
- Performance: High
- Noise: High
- Wear & Tear On Brake System: Medium
Organic Brake Pads
Organic brake pads are made of a mixture of fibers and materials such as rubber, carbon compounds, glass or fiberglass, Kevlar, and more, and are bound together with resin. They generate comparatively little amount of brake dust and make negligible noises.
While not designed as performance brake pads, they are most suitable for regular daily driving. They generally cause less wear and tear to the brake system compared to ceramic counterparts.
Organic brake pads are the cheapest. Unfortunately, due to their composite nature, organic brake pads wear out somewhat quickly. You will need to replace them often, which offsets their affordable price tags. It should be noted that with a higher level of compressibility, organic brake pads require drivers to hit the brake pedal harder to engage the brakes.
- Price: Low
- Performance: Low
- Noise: Low
- Wear & Tear On Brake System: Low
Ceramic vs. Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
If you have decided on brake pads that will last longer and are willing to pay a higher price, then you would be considering ceramic or semi metallic brake pads for towing. Below is a more detailed comparison of the two types so that you can make more informed decisions based on your priority.
The ceramic compounds and copper fibers allow ceramic pads to handle higher brake temperatures with less heat fade, providing faster recovery after the stop.
Therefore, ceramic brake pads tend to produce less brake dust than their semi-metallic counterparts, resulting in cleaner wheels and thus less maintenance work.
In addition, when ceramic brake pads wear down, they generate finer, lighter dust compared to semi-metallic brake pads, which is less likely to stick to wheels. Also, the ingredients in ceramic compounds produce a light coloured dust that is much less noticeable than other types of brake pads. Your wheels will maintain their look for longer on the road after that wash.
While brake pads made from ceramic perform adequately well at a wide range of temperatures, making it generally versatile, semi-metallic brake pads outperform them at extreme temperatures.
Semi-metallic brake pads can even offer effective grip in extremely cold weather.
Regarding stopping power, semi-metallic brake pads usually take the top spots among brake pads. Because metals are such a good conductor of heat, they tend to be able to while simultaneously helping braking systems cool back down more quickly. This means metallic brake pads would minimize wear and tear on other components of the brake system.
Meanwhile, ceramic brake pads are not recommended for racing or heavy-duty towing.
Therefore, if braking performance is your top priority, or if you are looking for the best brake pads for heavy towing, opt for semi-metallic brake pads.
Despite superior stopping power, semi-metallic brake pads do not last as long as ceramic counterparts. More frequent replacement means ceramic brake pads are not necessarily more expensive than semi-metallic brake pads in the long run, although ceramic models are more expensive to buy upfront.
Ceramic brake pads are composed of a blend of super-strong ceramic and copper fibers embedded into the pad compound. Thanks to such improved durability, ceramic brake pads will last you longer on the road without the need for frequent replacement, which is convenient if you are constantly on the road.
Last but not least, ceramic brake pads generally run much more quietly than semi-metallic pads and also organic brake pads. Although semi-metallic pads offer superior stopping power, this might be a deciding factor for drivers who constantly hit the road.
Best Brake Pads For Heavy Towing: Buying Criteria
Overall, different people often have different opinions about products that could be considered as the best brake pads for towing. However, people universally agree that it’s a good idea to make purchases after assessing critical qualities of the pads.
A vehicle’s stopping power directly depends on two factors: its weight and velocity. The larger the weight and the higher the velocity, more stopping or braking power is needed to slow down and halt a moving vehicle. Naturally, fully-loaded towing trucks that travel at high speeds require more power to stop compared to lightly-loaded ones that move at slow speeds.
You should be able to determine the stopping power of a product simply by checking out its coefficient of friction. The coefficient of friction is equal to the effort needed to pull a material across a flat surface, divided by the weight of the material.
If the coefficient of friction of the brake pads you choose is too low, stopping performance will suffer greatly. If it is too high, the wheels will tend to lock up under braking.
Upgraded linings provided by brake manufacturers, generally referred to as performance-street, are more performance oriented. These pads are ideal because they have higher pedal sensitivity and stopping power.
As you engage the brake, the system would make noises as a result of friction but some brake pads prove to be quieter than others. If you don’t want to experience annoying noise from your brake system, it’s strongly recommended that you get ceramic brake pads and pay attention to a few other characteristics of the brake pads.
This includes things like overall length and width, and design elements like chamfers and slots. These physical dimensions and design elements help reduce vibration, thus noise. Angled chamfers help to reduce rotor or disc damage. In addition, slots or grooves on the pads, rotors, or discs help to break down surface gas film during high braking temperatures. This also improves the pads’ fading resistance.
Brake shims are not designed to provide multifunction noise control as a component attached to the pad’s backing plate. A quality brake shim can prevent brake noise during the entire life of the brake job and will not dry out or be displaced over time, like some lubricants.
Look at the shim material on the back of the pad. If possible, remove the shim and drop it gently on a hard surface. If the shim makes a nice “thunk,” it’s made of a good material. On the other hand, if the shim makes a rattling sound, like a dropped wrench, chances are it will not make a good sound insulator.
- “Seasoning”: You might come across some brake pads that claim to leave or transfer a layer of film on the rotor’s surface. Such “seasoning” can smooth out the rotor surface, thereby causing less excitation and noise when braking.
- Lining: The brake lining is that part of the brake pad which actually contacts the metal brake rotor when the brake is engaged. To reduce noise, look for premium “riveted” linings provided by brake pad manufacturers which offer noise free braking and minimal dust brake. More on riveted linings and bonded linings for brake pads further below.
Brake dust is the result of the abrasion of the brake rotor by the pads as well as contents of the pads themselves. Brake dust is released as the friction material in a standard brake lining carbonizes during normal braking temperatures.
Despite the fact that brake dust rarely causes brake system troubles, it’s harmful to the coat and the wheel of your vehicle. In fact, if you fail to conduct periodic cleaning, brake dust shall eat into the aluminum alloy surface of the wheel.
Before we move on to the next characteristic of brake pads below, it is important that you first grasp the role of the backing plate of your vehicle. A vehicle’s backing plate also has unexpectedly sizable impacts on braking performance, including noise level.
In simple terms, the function of backing plates is to hold different components of the braking system together and hold each of them securely in place. Without this, the system cannot work properly to stop your vehicle from a simple and light pushing down on the gas pedal.
Because the backing plate creates a foundation for the brake pads, it needs to be strong and stable. If a backing plate is flexing, it means that the brake pad is not in full contact with the rotor. This can cause longer stops and a softer brake pedal, and it also increases the potential for unwanted noise.
Look at the thickness of the backing plate and the edges. A poorly stamped backing plate will have rough edges. Also look at the areas where the pad contacts the caliper, which should be as smooth as possible.
The attachment method of the brake pads to the backing plate does matter. For safety-critical vehicles like school buses, the manufacturer or insurance company may specify a brake pad that uses a mechanical attachment to secure itself to the backing plate. Some backing plates have tiny hooks on the surface for that purpose.
For attachment to the metal backing plate, brake pads can either be bonded or riveted, or a combination of bonding and riveting.
Bonding is a technique of attaching the lining, or the friction material, to the pad with a high-temperature, high-strength adhesive.
The bonded technique provides longer service life simply because more material is usually available for lining wear before the pad contacts the rotor. Bonded pads don’t possess the flexibility that comes with riveted pads. You can quickly fix a noise issue by replacing bonded linings with riveted ones.
With this brake assembly, the lining is connected to the pad by aluminium or copper rivets. This allows the flexing between the lining and pad to absorb vibration as well as reduce noise.
With riveted pads, about one-quarter or one-third of the lining thickness remain below the rivet for secure attachment. Compared to bonding, riveting is more durable and reliable, since it maintains a secure attachment at high mileage and temperature.
Riveting has been the most common technique for lining attachments. In fact, most semi-metallic pads feature a riveting technique.
You could get your brake pads from a wide assortment of manufacturers but if possible, you should go after popular names. Brands only become reputable if they manage to deliver high-quality model and responsive post purchase supports to their customers. As a result, instead of buying from lesser-known manufacturers, it would be wise to purchase pads from famous names. Though products from reputable brands on the market indeed cause disappointment from time to time, they remain superior choices overall.
Like everything else, you must remember one rule of thumb while looking around for best brake pads for towing; “You get what you pay for”. So if you want to get something quality then stay away from dirt-cheap products. Still, it’s worth noting that you don’t have to push yourself to the limit to get the most expensive brake pads on the shelves. By investing time and effort, it’s a breeze for you to locate affordable models that suit your towing setups.
5 Warning Signs You Need New Brake Pads
As a rule of thumb, brake pads should be replaced about every 50,000 miles. However, every car is different and there are a variety of warning signs that can indicate you may need new brake pads.
Here are 5 signs it’s time to replace your brake pads:
Squeaking or squealing or deep grinding metal sounds
The first sign is if you hear persistent squeaking or squealing noises coming from the brakes. Although squeaky brakes can be normal in some weather conditions, for example rain, having squeaky brakes during every weather condition indicates there may be a problem with your brake pads.
Vibrating brake pedal upon application
Another sign is a vibrating brake pedal. If you notice reduced stopping power and the brake pedal vibrates or feels unsteady as you press down, this means that your brake pads have worn out. A vibrating brake pedal is not normal in any case, and you must have your brake system checked right away when this symptom surfaces.
Otherwise, if you hear a deep grinding metal sound, that’s another indication for brake pads replacement. On some brake pads, small metal ridges will be put into the bottom of the pad as a way to make a loud noise when it is worn out. This is to alert the driver that it’s time for replacement.
If you let the metal ridges grind on other metal areas of your brake rotors, it could create more damage, thus more expensive repairs and replacements in addition to the brake pads.
Brake pads are less than ¼ inch thick
This is a simple visual inspection. By looking between the spokes on your wheels you should be able to locate the brake pad on the rotor of the tire. If it appears less than a ¼ inch thick, they need to be replaced soon.
Indicator light turns on
In some vehicle models, there is a sensor on the brake pads that will trigger when the brake pads become worn down. If your brake light turns on, it is best to inspect them and be mindful of other signs listed above, then replace them if needed.
FAQs About Brake Pads For Towing
1. How Long Do Brake Pads Last?
A typical set of brake pads would last you some 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Sometimes, the maximum limit for brake pads replacement, as recommended and professionals and manufacturers, is 50,000 miles. Beyond that, you are increasing the risk of a malfunctioning braking system. Apart from being mindful of the mileage, keep an eye out for the telltale signs of worn out brake pads listed above.
2. When to Replace Brake Pads?
In general, brake pads should be replaced about every 50,000 miles, or as soon as you notice deteriorated stopping power. The other telltale signs for worn brake pads that require replacement include indicator light turns on, persistent squeaking or squealing or deep grinding metal sounds coming from the brakes, vibrating brake pedal upon application and brake pads that are less than ¼ inch thick.
3. Do ceramic brake pads wear out rotors faster?
Ceramic brake pads are made of a durable type of ceramic and fine copper fibers embedded within them to help increase friction and heat conductivity. Since both ceramic and copper can’t absorb as much heat as other types of materials, more of the heat generated during braking will pass through the brake pads and into the rest of the braking system. This can cause more wear and tear on other braking components, especially the brake rotors.
In comparison, metallic brake pads are made from copper, iron, steel and composite alloys. Since metal is a fairly good conductor of heat, metallic brake pads tend to be able to withstand more heat while simultaneously helping braking systems cool back down more quickly. Therefore, they cause less wear and tear to the brake system compared to ceramic brake pads.
4. How to Stop a Ceramic Brake Squeal?
Ceramic brake pads should create little to no noise in operation. It is by far the most quiet brake pads. The reason ceramic brakes squeal is that the back of the brake pad vibrates against the brake caliper assembly.
Such vibration would result in noticeable squealing when you’re not using a brake lining shim, or not applying enough anti-squeal lubricant on the back of the brake pad where the pad touches the caliper. This lubricant can be found online and in most auto parts stores.
5. Can we reuse brake rotors?
Assuming that the brake rotors remain in good condition, it’s generally fine to reuse them after changing the brake pads. That being said, refrain from judging the quality of brake rotors using solely physical appearance.
Instead, use a micrometer to decide if the specs of the brake rotors still suit the configuration of your vehicle. Moreover, it’s possible for you to send in your brake rotors for “turning” which give them a new surface.
6. Could I swap the front and back pads?
Manufacturers have their reasons to designate brake pads for front and rear position so it’s best that you avoid messing up the fitting order. You don’t have to worry about the side as most brake pads nowadays could fit either side of your vehicle with ease.
7. What would I get after ordering brake pads?
Once you make a purchase, you should receive a box that contains 4 pads, 2 for the front and 2 for the rear. Aside from that, you could also get complementary tools and accessories, including anti-rattle clips, ships, and lubricants.
8. How come my brake pads have uneven wears?
Uneven brake pad wear is when a brake pad or a set of brake pads wear out quicker compared to the other side of the vehicle. While the friction material on the front of the brake pads is made to be used up over time, they should wear out evenly.
Whenever you have uneven brake pads, you will have to replace all the brake pads at the same time, which is an unnecessary expense. Otherwise, uneven wear can jeopardize the dynamics of your braking system and cause braking problems.
Rotor thickness variation: A common cause is disc thickness variation. Variation in the thickness of your rotors chew away at the brake pad as they come in contact with flat spots in the disc, causing the pad to wear unevenly. Depending on the extent of such an impact on the rotors, they can be machined to iron out any flat spots.
Dirty Rotors: Dirty rotors do not need to be old rotors. Sometimes when new rotors are installed, they might still have dirt or grease on them from storage. The rotors will then need to be cleaned with a formulated brake cleaner to remove this debris and coated with an anti-rust coating for extra protection.
Warped brake rotors: A warped rotor has a surface that is not perfectly smooth, but slightly deformed or wavy. When you have a warped rotor, the brake pad only makes contact with the high points of the rotor while the other pads make full contact. This results in uneven pad wear.
The reason for warped rotors is when cold water makes contact with a scorching hot rotor from a lot of driving. This is why you should never immediately wash your car after a long speedy drive. Instead, let the rotors cool down. To confirm, simply place your hand a few inches from the rotor. If you detect heat, wait a few minutes before washing your car.
Brake calipers’ guide pins: Another common cause has to do with the operation of the brake calipers. Often, components within the caliper, such as the guide pins, can seize and cause the brake pad to drag along the rotor whilst the brakes aren’t applied which in turn leads to uneven brake pad wear. This is also commonly referred to as sticky calipers problem.
If it’s come time to replace your brake pads and you’ve found there to be some uneven wear, check the caliper guide pins. If one or both of the guide pins are seized, it’s time to pull them out and grease them with lubricant. If this doesn’t solve the problem, a caliper rebuild or replacement might be required.
Sticky brake calipers: Debris or rust on one or more of your pistons can cause the piston to not slide correctly, causing the brake pad to make constant contact with its rotor, thus will wear down faster.
Misaligned brake pads: Sometimes when you have a new brake pad installed in your vehicle which is not 100% compatible with the remaining pads, the whole braking mechanic might not align them evenly.
Sometimes this problem with misaligned brake pads happens due to a tiny bent bracket on the back of the pad. You should notice this problem within a few days of getting new brake pads that are misaligned.
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