The Types of Pads Available for Your European Brakes

When it comes time to replace your brake pads, it can be hard to choose what type you really need, no matter whether your car is European or domestic. But brakes are essential for your car’s overall safety, so choosing the right pads can be the difference between stopping in time or getting into an accident.  The cheapest European brakes may save your wallet in the short term but seriously compromise your safety. Not to mention the fact that the cheapest brakes usually need to be changed more often—something that will end up costing you more in the long run.

In the past 25 years or so all of the asbestos has been removed from brake pads. Which is great for everyone’s lungs, but it does make choosing a high-quality brake pad that much more difficult. Car manufacturers now use a variety of alternative materials for both their domestic and European brakes, which means a much wider selection of brake pads that can be confusing to the uninformed.

The Four Types of Pads Available for European Brakes:

  1. Semi-metallic: These brake pads contain about 30 to 65 percent metal, which is usually made up of chopped steel wool or wire. These pads are very durable, but they also tend to eat through your rotors faster. They can be noisy and may not be the best option in frigid weather.
  2. Non-asbestos organic: This type of pad is made from organic fibers, including glass, rubber, carbon, or Kevlar. They are softer and a lot quieter, but they wear out faster and tend to produce more dust than some other options.
  3. Low-metallic non-asbestos organic: These are an organic material fused with 10 to 30 percent of copper or steel. They feature better organic transfer and improved stopping power. As you may guess, they tend to be more noisy than the non-asbestos organic.
  4. Ceramic brakes: These include ceramic materials fused with bonding agents and small amounts of steel. They are one of the most expensive options, but tend to be cleaner and quieter. They work well and don’t wear out the rotors as quickly.

What’s That Noise? Signs You Might Need New European Brakes

Fortunately, brakes will usually tell you when they need to be replaced if your car mechanic doesn’t tell you first. Most modern European cars have brake light indicators that will illuminate on your dash when your brakes are starting to wear thin. If your indicator light comes on, bring it into our Cincinnati auto repair shop right away. We’ll give you an inspection and let you know if it’s time, and how long it will take to repair your car. We will be happy to take care of it for you.

If you own an older European car, a classic, or an antique vehicle, you may have to rely on more traditional signs that you need an import brake job. 

Some things that may indicate that you need some new European brakes:

  1. Do your hear grinding or scraping sounds when you apply the brakes? This is a sign the brake pads are getting thin. 
  2. Does the car sway or vibrate when you press the brakes? This is a warning that you need new brakes, and probably new rotors as well.
  3. Does the steering wheel vibrate when you hit the brakes? Your front rotors may need to be replaced—and when you replace the rotors, you should always replace the brake pads at the same time.
  4. Notice any smoking smells or unusual heat around your car’s wheels? This could indicate a fully or partially stuck caliper. Your European brakes will need attention.
  5. If you aren’t sure if something is weird or not, don’t hesitate to call your favorite auto repair shop for some car troubleshooting. You never want to procrastinate getting your brakes serviced.

Brake Repair 101: Catch Brake Problems Early to Save

The bottom line on brake jobs, whether European or domestic, is you need to take care of them before they are a problem. Going to your favorite and auto repair shop at the first sign of trouble is a good idea both for safety reasons and for your wallet. To help you keep on top of things, it’s a good idea to note the mileage on your car after a brake job. Add 30,000 to that mileage and be sure to have the brakes inspected at that time. And every time you have your brakes done, be sure to ask if your brake fluid looks good or if you need a brake flush service as well. If you keep up with regular inspections, you can replace any worn out pads before they start to grind away at the rotors. You’ll prevent a minor import brake job from turning into several hundred dollars worth of work. 

We excel at import brake jobs on European brakes, but can tackle just about any type of brakes that you’ve got. Come see us for:

  • Jaguar brakes
  • BMW brakes
  • Porsche brakes
  • Volvo brakes
  • Volkswagen brakes
  • Brake flush service
  • and more

Not sure when the last time your brakes were inspected? Not sure how long getting a new set of brakes will take? Give us a call or fill out our online contact form. We’d be glad to take a look. 

We have been serving the Cincinnati area since 2001 and are your one-stop go-to solution for European and foreign car repair.

What to Consider When Choosing the Right Vehicle for Vintage Car Repair

When it comes to vintage car restoration and repair, always be sure to start with a careful inspection. Use a flashlight to go over every detail, including the body, trunk, and engine. If you are considering purchasing a vehicle to restore, you may also want to have a professional inspect it to see if there are any hidden problems that might be more expensive than you anticipate. The car should be solid enough to justify restoration, meaning a strong car structure, especially in the floor. Too much rust means the car will only crumble with time, no matter how much a fortune you sink into it.

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