For most commuters, brake pads are items they can go through quickly and are often replaced only due to failure. In these cases, most people are prone to making quick decisions and don't take the time to consider the options available. To help find the best brake pad for your style of driving, review the differences in performance categories.
Assuming your vehicle never makes it to the track, brake pads in this category provide all the stopping power you need as you drive around town or hit the highway for a cross-country trip. Premium pads are of either semi-metallic materials for a good blend of stopping power and low noise or a ceramic compound to offer the same performance but with less dusting. Consider the options from Akebono, Brembo and Centric if this sounds like your style of driving.
Pads in this category move the driver one step up the performance ladder. They offer a quicker initial bite of the pad to the rotor and more resistance to brake fade in high temperature applications. All the pads in this category will use different combinations of semi-metallic compounds to give the driver better performance but at the cost of more brake dust and decreased rotor life. Hawk and StopTech provide great options in this category.
Brake pads from the Autocross/Track performance category exist to provide ultimate stopping power in the most extreme temperature conditions. Given their higher temperature thresholds, most pads in this category are not well suited for street use as they need to be warmed up above ambient temperature to be effective. Within the category, there exist different ideal temperature ranges so the driver can fine-tune the pad to their anticipated use. However, all track pads will come with a noticeable increase in pad and rotor wear, along with extreme amounts of brake dust that would be considered unacceptable for street use. Hawk provides the bulk of our options in this category.
How do you find the brake pad that's right for your application? Shopping by vehicle will show you every option that's a match for your car!