Brake Pads vs Rotors

Break Pads vs Rotors

Drivers like you throughout Danvers, Peabody, and Salem know the importance of a car’s braking system. However, you may not know how each component works.

Below, we’ll go over two of the biggest parts of the braking system: brake pads and rotors. We’ll tell you the differences between the two, to give you an understanding on how your car is able to come to a stop. Read through our guide on brake pads vs. rotors and contact us at Ira Toyota of Danvers if you have any questions.

Schedule Brake Repair now!

Brake Pads vs Rotors: How Does the Braking System Work?


When you push down on the brake pedal, the car transfers force from your foot to the brakes through brake fluid. The different components of the braking system will then get to work.

Most vehicles have two different types of braking systems, which include:

  • Disc brakes
  • Drum brakes

We’ll explain what each one means in the section below.

Explaining Brake Rotors

Disc brakes, or brake rotors, are usually on the front two wheels of a car. The rotor attaches directly to the wheel through a brake caliper. When brake pads apply enough pressure to the rotors, they’ll then slow down and stop the automobile.

While brake rotors are on the front wheels, drum brakes are usually on the rear wheels. These have shoes inside the hollow wheel that press outwards. When the shoes push into the wheel, the friction will slow you down.

The design of the rotor allows for heat produced by the braking process to be evenly distributed throughout the system. This is so the rotor doesn’t overheat. If the rotors get too hot, they can’t effectively do their job. This results in the brakes potentially failing, putting the car and its occupants in danger.

There are several warning signs that mean a brake rotor has to get replaced. If you hear a grinding or growling sound, then the brake pads are completely worn and are scratching the rotors. If you feel vibrations when applying the brakes, then that could also indicate damage to the rotors. Either way, you’ll have to get your vehicle looked at at our service center.

Defining Brake Pads

Service Appointment

The brake pads are what contact and apply pressure and friction to a car’s rotors. Then, once that pressure is applied, the wheels will stop turning, which will then stop the vehicle from moving.

Because a car’s wheels rotate quickly driving normal driving, and a vehicle typically weighs a lot, brake pads undergo extreme stress every time you slow down or come to a stop. This means they can wear down pretty quickly. In fact, if brake pads get to below a quarter of an inch, you’ll need to schedule a service appointment as soon as possible.

If you don’t replace the brake pads, that can severely damage the rotors. If dirt or sand get on the brake pad and cause deep grooves on the rotors, then that’ll result in a costly brake rotor replacement.

Brake pads come in different types, each with their own benefits. For example, organic brake pads are made with fillers like carbon, rubber, and Kevlar that dissipate heat and dampen vibrations. These pads are expensive and very quiet. However, they’re soft and generally don’t last as long as other brake pads.

Semi-metallic is another type of brake pad. They’re filled with metal fibers that pull heat away from the rotor and transfer it to the metal backing plate to reduce overheating. While these provide optimum stopping power, they’re quite noisy and can chew up the rotors faster.

Schedule Brake Service Today for Healthy Brake Pads & Rotors

Whether you need help selecting an effective brake pad or have to get the rotors checked out, we can help! Simply schedule service at Ira Toyota of Danvers. Our technicians will work hard to get you back on the roads of Danvers, Peabody, and Salem as soon as possible.