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Brake Pads vs. Brake Rotors

Your brakes are the most essential part of your vehicle’s safety suite. After all, they are the mechanical part that ensures you fully stop at traffic lights and stop signs. Since the brakes are one of the most important parts of your entire vehicle, it’s important to ensure they’re healthy and efficient as you’re driving around Pawtucket, Cranston, East Providence, and other communities.

To help drivers further understand their car’s braking system, the team at Stateline Nissan created this guide to brake pads vs. brake rotors, two of the most important parts of the braking system. By reading this detailed overview, you’ll learn when and where to go when you need brake service.

Brake Pads vs Brake Rotors

Brake Pads vs. Brake RotorsWhen you step on the brakes in your car, many parts complete their required jobs to ensure a full stop—all within a fraction of a second. You press down on the pedal, which activates the hydraulic system. This system uses brake fluid in your brake lines to squeeze brake calipers, which activate the brake pads to press against the rotors.

The pressure generates the friction and pressure that’s necessary to slow your tires down and bring your car to a stop. On a basic level, the difference between brake pads vs. brake rotors is that one presses against the other.

Brake Pads

Brake Pads vs. Brake RotorsBrake pads are one of three essential parts of your braking system, located directly between the brake calipers and the brake rotor. As the rotors contract from the hydraulic fluid in the brake lines, they compress the brake pads to press against the rotors.

You’ll find different kinds of brake pads for different needs. Organic pads are made from resin, rubber, and glass mixtures that withstand high heat. Kevlar brake pads are also common. These materials are quite soft and wear down fast, however. It’s more common to see metallic brake pads made of copper, steel, iron, and graphite mixtures, which makes them highly durable.

Also, soft brake pads wear down quickly, while hard brake pads last longer but are harder on your rotors.

Brake Rotors

Brake Pads vs. Brake RotorsYour rotors are flat metal discs connected to your wheels. Your brake pads squeeze against them to slow the wheel down. You’ll find two common forms of rotors: slotted and drilled.

Slotted rotors make use of small grooves in the surface of the disc, which help guide heat and water away from the rotor itself, resulting in a rotor that lasts longer and is more durable. These kinds of rotors, however, are harder on your brake pads.

Drilled rotors have holes drilled into the disc, which dissipate heat and direct water away from the disc. While these rotors are less harsh on pads, they tend to wear down faster than slotted rotors. In general, drilled rotors are more common on street vehicles, while slotted rotors tend to be seen more on performance vehicles.

Get Service at Stateline Nissan

If you’re in the Pawtucket, East Providence, or Cranston areas of Rhode Island and you’d like more information about brake rotors vs. brake pads, the team at Stateline Nissan can help. Give us a call for answers to all your questions or to schedule brake service today!


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