At CarTek Collision, we want our Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale customers to understand more about their vehicles and their moving parts. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between brake pads and rotors. But before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at how the braking system works.
How Braking Works
You’re cruising down the street, trying to find something good on the radio, when suddenly a squirrel darts out in front of your vehicle. As you push down on the brake pedal, it activates a hydraulic line filled with brake fluid. This fluid squeezes the calipers, which are similar to those hinged metal pieces that hold the rubber brakes on a mountain bike.
The brake pads sit between the calipers and the rotors. They push against the rotors, generating enormous amounts of pressure and friction to slow the spin of the tires and bring the vehicle to a stop, allowing you to avoid that poor squirrel.
Now that we’re familiar with how braking works, let’s talk about brake pads and rotors.
What’s a Brake Pad?
As we already mentioned, brake pads sit between the calipers and rotors. They kind of resemble the heel of a men’s dress shoe, and they’re what pushes against the rotors during braking.
Some brake pads, known as organic, are made from a blend of rubber, glass, and resins capable of withstanding extreme heat. Kevlar is another material commonly used in making brake pads. Because these ingredients are relatively soft, they tend to wear quickly and aren’t suggested for heavier vehicles such as large trucks.
The majority of the vehicles you see around Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale are probably equipped with metallic brake pads. Typically made of an iron, copper, steel, and graphite mixture, metallic brake pads are incredibly strong.
Both durable and cost-effective, these brake pads are also good at transferring heat. However, because metallic brake pads are so hard, they tend to wear down the rotors at a faster rate.
The rotors are round, flat metal discs connected to the wheel. When the brake pads squeeze and slow the rotor, it in turn slows the spin of the wheel. The two most common types of rotors are known as drilled and slotted.
As you might have guessed, drilled rotors get their name from the small holes that have been cut out of the disc. These holes help to dissipate heat and remove water from the rotor surface. However, they also weaken the rotor’s structure and cause it to break down faster.
Slotted rotors feature small grooves carved into the rotor surface. These grooves work like irrigation channels, guiding water and heat away from the rotor. They won’t wear as quickly as drilled rotors, but slotted rotors tend to wear down the brake pads.
Because of this, most drivers do just fine with drilled rotors, while racecar or performance drivers tend to prefer slotted rotors.
If you’re in the Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale area and have any additional questions about your vehicle’s braking system, call or visit us today at CarTek Collision for brake repair in Eagle Rock. If you think your brake pads or rotors may be need to be repaired, schedule a service appointment as soon as possible.
Brake Pads vs. Rotors: What’s the Difference?