best brake pads rear front stopping

5 Best Car Brake Pads 2018

Brake pads are one of the most important service parts that need to be checked regularly and be in good condition. However, the brake pads are often disregarded, which can result in a costly repair later on or potentially be the cause of a car crash.

The best brake pads are the ACDelco 171-1010 GM OEM pads that are proven to reduce brake harshness, noise and vibration. They are available in various different sizes to fit a range of vehicles.

When changing your brakes, you have multiple categories to choose from that include performance, budget and the”all rounders”. Choosing which brake pads to choose is a minefield due to the fact there are so many to choose from.

Best Brake Pads For Cars

Brake PadsTypeSet
ACDelco 171-1010PerformanceFront
EBC 7000 SeriesHeavy DutyFront & Rear
StopTechPerformanceFront
Akebono ACT465APerformanceFront
Wagner ThermoQuietBudgetFront

The average car owner may think that every brake pad is the same but this is not the case. Some are designed to increase stopping power in performance related cars whilst others reduce noise and vibrations for additional comfort.

Brake pad dust is another major factor when it comes to buying your replacement brake pads. Constantly seeing black brake dust on your wheels is not great and choosing a higher quality brake pad for your car can make all the difference.

You should expect around 20,000 out of a set of pads but this varies by the type of driving you do because they will wear more for city rather than highway driving. Below is a list of the best car brake pads for performance and everyday driving.

ACDelco 171-1010 OEM Replacement Pads


ACDelco are one of the best brake pad brands in today’s market with a range of performance to budget brake pads available. The 171-1010 pads are integrally molded to the backing plate for bond integrity. They are premium pads with high quality shims, slots and chamfers to reduce vibrations, noise and braking harshness.

They are manufactured so that they are a direct placement for warn out OEM pads but perform much better in the real world. Installation is a worry for many car owners when it comes to brake pad replacement but these will be a simple swap.

Overall, the ACDelco 171-1010 are the best brake pads for OEM replacement that will swap with the old brake pads very easily. They are more expensive but offer much more in terms of performance and durability.

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EBC Brakes 7000 Series Greenstuff


The EBC Greenstuff brake pads are designed for Trucks and SUV’s that need more stopping power. They are a sport replacement for OEM brake pads with a more performance related solution for the extra stopping power and reduced amount of brake dust.

The 7,000 series by EBC are heavy duty brake pads that are easy on the rotors and come with a limited lifetime warranty for peace of mind. For those that tow heavy loads, upgrading to brakes such as these will also prevent the dreaded brake fade.

Overall, they are the best brake pads for trucks and SUV’s that are much better than stock brake pads and break in fairly quickly.

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StopTech Performance Brake Pads


StopTech are part of Centric Parts that provide high performance brake pads for high performance race cars. The brake pads boast a scorched pad surface that provides a positive brake connection even when cold.

The StopTech brakes are able to cope with high temperature and heavy braking whilst ensuring even wear on the pads. This reduces the pulsating sensation later on as your brakes get older thus an increase in the pads lifetime.

StopTech pads are a cheaper alternative to the premium Brembo branded pads where both are excellent performance brake pads for performance cars.

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Akebono ACT465A ProACT


The Akebono brake pads are in between performance and budget that are ideal for the average everyday car. They boast about how their pads have a special formula that produce less brake dust but still provide performance braking.

If you do not wish to spend much money on brakes but still want performance, then these Akebono brakes are perfect. They are known for producing less brake dust than the majority of brake brands on the market as well as reducing vibrations to ensure a smooth braking process.

They are a top rated ceramic brake pad set ideal for all fleet vehicles from heavy trucks to cars. The Japanese brake pads are extremely popular across America with premium car owners rating their quietness at an affordable price.

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Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1089


Wagner produce the most affordable brake pads for everyday cars and they are made from a ceramic metal. Wagner claim that their brake pads are longer lasting pads that provide 15% more stopping power and are 35% quieter than other budget brake pad alternatives.

Wagner offer excellent value for money when it comes to brake pads. The pads themselves are designed to fit perfectly and perform the same as OEM parts. As the name of these brake pads suggest (ThermoQuiet), they benefit from very little noise output when braking.

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Car Brake Pad Buying Guide

Replacing your brake pads is a relatively simply mechanical job that you can do on your car. There is a range of brake pads available for every type of vehicle but finding the best can be fairly difficult. Everyone has different requirements from wanting to increase stopping power to reducing noise. The recommended brake pads above should provide insights to what is available for your vehicle.

Purchasing the brake pads is the hard part but if you are a beginner, below are some factors that you should consider.

When Should You Replace Your Brake Pads

It is quite hard to tell from looking at your car whether or not the brake pads require replacing. Therefore if you have the following symptoms, you should look into changing your brake pads.

  1. Pulsating Brake Pedal.
    Worn out or warped brake pads will cause this pulsating sensation when the driver presses the brake pedal, which will include vibrations going through the pedal
  2. Car Pulling to Left or Right.
    This often indicates that the brake pads have worn out unevenly, which causes car to pull to one side or another. However this could indicate other issues with the car. Always replace brake pads in pairs.
  3. Metal on Metal Grinding Noise.
    If you feel and hear metal on metal noise, you will need to replace the brake pads and the brake calipers immediately as this will effect stopping distance dramatically.
  4. Clicking and Screech Noise.
    If you hear a clicking noise when presses the brake pedal, this indicates the brake pads need replacing. A screeching noise may also be heard that is high pitched from metal on metal.
  5. Look at the Brakes.
    If you are worried, simply look at the brake pads. They should have plenty of meat as per the image below. I replaced the brake pads on the car below after the customer experienced metal on metal noise and sensation. They sure did get their money’s worth from those brake pads!

worn out brake pad and new brake pad

Should Pads and Discs be Changed at Same Time

The majority of cars require that the brake discs need replacing when they reach 10mm however some manufacturers specify other limits. Brake pads should be changed at the same time as new discs are fitted.

If there are grooves in the brake disc, this reduces the amount of contact that the brake pad will have and will increase the stopping distance. Expect to replace the brake disc on every second or third brake pad replacement.

You will often hear cars have squeaky brakes, which does not always mean they need replacing. Squeaky brakes can be fixed by applying brake grease to the back of the brake pad (not the front or rotor), which prevent the squeaky noise from the caliper piston pressing against the brake pads.

performance brake pads

How to Change Your Cars Brake Pads

Replacing your old brake pads with brand new pads isn’t that hard of a task to accomplish. To change a cars brake pads you will need a high quality trolley jack, brake pad spreader, brake pad grease, wheel nut socket, wrench and of course the new brake pads.

  • Loosen wheel bolts before putting the car on the trolley jack
  • Lift the car on the trolley jack and remove the wheel
  • Place the car on axle stands to ensure safety
  • Remove the brake caliper from the rotor
    – Use the socket wrench to remove bolts at the back of the caliper
    – Remove caliper from the rotor and use a cable tie to hang it from the suspension (NEVER let the caliper hang when connected to the brake line)
  • Remove brake pad from the rotor
  • Apply brake grease to the BACK of the brake pad
    -Do not get brake grease on the front of the pad or on the rotor
  • Use the brake pad spreader to replace the caliper
  • Put the wheel back onto the car and remove the axle stand before lowering the car on the trolley jack

The brake pads will take a number of miles to fully bed into the disc. It’s vital to take your first drive carefully and get used to the new brake pads. If you require a more in depth tutorial for replacing the brake pads, we recommend watching this excellent video.

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