Best Brake Pads for 2014? It Could Be Brembo's New Offering

Monday, March 31, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

All brake pads produce dust as they wear. However, there are some pad materials that create a less noticeable dust and don't make your wheels look like they're covered in tar. A newer form of friction material, called ceramic composite, creates a light-colored dust that's much less noticeable and is less likely to stick to your wheels. Ceramic pads are quieter and easier on brake rotors. These pads can also extend brake life beyond a semi-metallic pad.

New this year are the Ceramic Brake Pads from Brembo. The pads are available to fit most popular sporty sedans and coupes like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Designed and engineered to enhance braking power, Brembo Ceramic Brake Pads minimize braking distances while offering a quiet and safe braking experience on a variety of road conditions. Original Equipment Direct Moulding Pressing Process provides a proper and accurate fit. The positive molding process uses extreme pressure to compress friction materials and provide balanced bonding to the backing plate. Each pad is then thermal scorched following Brembo's O.E. specifications to lessen running-in and fading.

Brembo's multi-layer ESE (Elastomer - Steel - Elastomer) red shim, clearly identifying the pads as Brembo pads, dampens noise and minimizes vibrations. Additional noise dampening is handled by the backing plate which also acts as a heat shield to reduce heat transfer to the caliper.

If you're looking to change the pads on your vehicle and want an alternative to black brake dust, take a look at the Brembo Ceramic Brake Pads. When changing brake pads, it's a good time to change brake wear sensors and maybe time to consider changing your brake fluid. Don't forget you'll get free shipping on all brakes, suspension and other parts and accessories on your order over $50.

What Are the Best Brake Rotors for My Car?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

When choosing a new rotor, the fist question should be: "Are you happy with the current stopping power of your vehicle or would you like to increase the braking performance?" 

Tire Rack offers many rotors which will be direct Original Equipment replacement rotors, like the Centric Plain 120 Series and Brembo Replacement Rotor. These rotors maintain the same braking performance as the Original Equipment.

 Centric Plain 120 Series
Centric Plain 120 Series Rotor
 Brembo Replacement Rotor
Brembo Replacement Rotor


If you're looking to increase performance or style, you may want to choose a slotted or drilled rotor like the Brembo Sport Slotted Rotor or the StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor. Some high performance vehicles like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi even come built from the factory with slotted or drilled rotors. In cases like this, these items would be direct Original Equipment replacements. 

 Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors
Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors
 StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor
StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor


The science behind the slotted and drilled rotors is during heavy braking. These rotors get so hot that when the brake pad makes contact with the rotor, it'll release exhaust gases from humidity, rain or road grime and tiny air bubbles are trapped between the rotor and pads. This gives you a spongy, unresponsive pedal feel until all gases have escaped after a few moments. The drilled or slotted areas on the rotor provide the exhaust gases a quicker route to escape, therefore, letting the pad make contact with the rotor quicker.

To view the full list of brake rotors offered for your application, shop by vehicle.

Best Brake Rotors for Import Cars

Friday, June 28, 2013 by Gary Stanley

For many drivers, a vehicle's braking system is not something they think about much until the vehicle starts to have problems. The most common problems with brakes are typically brake pad noise and brake pedal vibration. Both of these issues can be linked to worn out brake pads or brake rotors. For recommendations on new brake brake pads, read "Picking the Best SUV, Crossover and Truck Brake Pads."

Centric High Carbon 125 series
Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series Rotor
Stoptech Sport Slotted Cryo Treated Rotor
StopTech Sport Slotted Cryo-Treated Rotor


For a high quality, value-oriented standard replacement rotor, I would suggest the Centric Plain 120 Series and Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series rotors. A step up from generic rotors that are typically sold at local auto parts stores, these rotors are a great value and are equivalent to your vehicle's Original Equipment. In addition to being double ground and mill balanced, they feature a durable and attractive black E-coating for superior corrosion resistance.  

If you're looking for an improvement in durability, more resistance to warping and longer rotor life, I would consider checking out the StopTech Sport Slotted Cryo-Treated Rotor. These rotors have more resistance to cracking, warping and brake fade while delivering two to three times the life of a standard rotor. Given that much of the cost of changing brakes is in shop labor, fewer rotor changes over the life of your vehicle can mean these rotors may actually save you money in the long run while giving better performance. 

To help you in your decision making of purchasing the proper brake product, take a look at "Choosing Brake Components."

When Looking for the Best Brake Rotors and Pads, Don't Forget New Brake Wear Sensors

Thursday, May 30, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The brake wear sensor or brake wear indicator is an added safety feature on many vehicles that warns drivers if the brake pad friction material becomes too low. It's mounted on the back of the brake pad and the sensors monitor and determine the condition of the pads. Brake wear sensors alert the driver it's time to replace brake components with an audible chime or light on the dash. There's a small circuit embedded in the sensor mounted in the brake pad; when the friction material becomes too low the brake rotor wears through the sensor and cuts a circuit. This triggers the vehicle's computer to alert the driver brake service is needed. 

 Centric - Brake Wear Sensor
Centric Brake Wear Sensor
 Brake Caliper
Brake Caliper


It's recommended to replace brake wear senors any time brake pads are replaced. Centric's Brake Wear Sensors are high quality replacement sensors that fit with no modifications needed and are now available at Tire Rack.

  • Original Equipment replacement for vehicles equipped with brake pad wear sensors
  • Monitors the condition of the vehicle’s brake pads
  • Includes all necessary plugs and hardware

All Centric premium brake components are engineered and manufactured using stringent, well-proven production processes and parts that pass the stringent quality assurance standards of O.E. manufacturers as well. Also, Centric’s in-house engineering department analyzes each part to ensure proper performance and fitment for every import and domestic application. This attention to detail guarantees that Centric parts will perform as good as or better than the factory original.

When searching for the best brake rotors and pads for your car, don't forget to replace the brake wear senors. Shop by vehicle to see if replacement brake wear sensors are offered to complete your brake upgrade.

Trying to Catch a Brake

Thursday, May 2, 2013 by Colin .

Last year my car's brakes started making that sound that lets you know a replacement was needed soon. Since I own a Toyota Avalon, I wasn't in the market for anything performance oriented. I opted for the Centric Plain 120 Series Rotors and Posi Quiet Ceramic Pads for the front and rear. The rotors and pads are Original Equipment replacements that would perform as good as or better than the factory original. 

Are you looking for a different type of brake? Take a look at our slotted and drilled rotors for enhanced braking performance. Some are also cryogenically treated for improved durability. 

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Centric Plain 120 Series Rotor
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StopTech SportStopDrilled Rotor


Our pads range from Original Equipment replacements to performance oriented pads, such as StopTech's Street Performance Pads and Hawk's Performance Ceramic Pads. Depending on how aggressive the performance pads are, they will be dustier and noisier than your Original Equipment. However, they will enhance your vehicle's stopping power.   

Is it time for the brakes to be replaced on your vehicle? Read "Brake Pad or Rotor Inspection & Replacement" for assistance on getting your new brakes installed correctly.

Do You Have the Three Tools Needed to Remove Your Wheels and Tires?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Gary Stanley

There are many cases where it can be useful to remove your wheels and tires yourself. 

Regardless of the reason, there are three essential tools that'll make removing your wheels from your vehicle a safe and easy process.

 Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set
Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set


1. Lug wrench - Gorilla's Extendable Lug Wrench Set is perfect for the job. The handle smoothly extends and locks to give you the extra torque you need to break those lugs free and loosen them.

2. Floor jack - The wheel and tire need to be off of the ground before you have a chance of getting them off of the vehicle! A floor jack makes lifting the one corner of the vehicle as easy as pumping a lever. We offer a lightweight aluminum floor jack that will be a great addition to your garage.

3. Jack stands - Once you have the wheel up in the air, use a jack stand to secure the vehicle in its raised position. Using solid jack stands is an important safety measure to have in place in case your floor jack fails or is inadvertently knocked out of place. Purchase a sturdy set from your local hardware or auto parts store, or you can purchase them as a floor jack and stands combination (picture shown above).

You can save money and learn more about your vehicle by performing simple vehicle maintenance yourself.

Racing Technology Available for the Street: StopTech Big Brake Kits

Thursday, March 14, 2013 by Ben Rooney

When street cars go to the racetrack, the brakes are often the weakest link. While a street car's brakes usually only need to deliver maximum braking force from high speed on emergency occasions, a car on a racetrack uses maximum braking repeatedly, often with very little time to cool down. Overheated brakes quickly lose stopping power, which can lead to slower lap times and/or frightening moments. 

Tire Rack has been carrying StopTech pads and rotors, and now we are pleased to add their Big Brake Kits. Available in rotor diameters from 322mm-380mm (12.7"-15"), they're available for a wide variety of performance-oriented applications. To check brake products available for your car, shop by vehicle

Engineered to the highest standards, StopTech emphasizes rigidity in their calipers for reliable performance under demanding conditions. Their calipers feature a patented bolt-in bridge that enhances stiffness and allows easy access to the brake pads for efficient pad changes. 

The multi-piston calipers use differential piston diameters to precisely manage clamping force across the pad face. This minimizes uneven brake pad wear, particularly taper wear, for consistent performance over the life of the brake pads. The StopTech kits are vehicle-specific designs that maintain optimum brake balance and are 100% compatible with ABS and stability control systems. Calipers can be ordered in red or black finishes.  

Two-piece rotors feature an iron ring under the brake pads for optimum heat dissipation with an aluminum hat to save weight. The iron outer ring is replaceable, while the center hat is retained and bolted to the the new outer ring. Rotors are available in slotted or drilled styles. 

When upgrading your brakes, it's important to make sure that your wheels will fit the new, larger rotor and caliper. You may need bigger wheels than stock to fit the bigger rotors and calipers. StopTech has templates available to check the fit for your wheels. These kits are built to order, so please allow 2-3 weeks lead time when making your purchase. 

If you're thinking about ordering a big brake upgrade, you can look forward to shorter stopping distances, greater fade resistance, better modulation and a firmer brake pedal. In addition, the big brakes with red or black painted calipers will enhance the appearance of your vehicle. They look especially good behind large diameter wheels with open designs. Take a look at our complete line of StopTech products

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Monday, February 25, 2013 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin X-Ice Xi3Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.64

2013 Audi Allroad
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Nashua, NH
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
February 17, 2013

For many years I used Bridgestone Blizzaks, which perform very well in ice and snow. But for my new all-wheel drive Audi, I wanted winter tires that handled better on dry pavement. The Michelin Xi3 was said to almost equal the Blizzaks on ice and snow but be less "squishy" on dry and wet pavement, so I went with the Michelin.

Shortly after mounting them I drove to the NH White Mountains and took part in a winter driving school. For two days I practiced slalom and skid-pad maneuvers on ice and packed snow. The Michelins were exemplary here, and the instructors were very impressed. While other cars (mostly AWD Audis) were sliding into snowbanks left and right, my allroad with the Michelins stayed in control, accelerated and braked very well.

The claimed performance on dry roads was also seen - unlike the Blizzaks, the Michelins don't howl and they felt very much like good all-season tires on dry pavement, with a confident feeling. Very impressive.