Brake Pads vs Rotors

Whether it is an oil change or brake repair, the service center at Land Rover Santa Fe is the place for you. You’ve heard the terms “brake pads” and “rotors” plenty of times. However, you might not have ever thought about the difference between the two.

At Land Rover Santa Fe, we want to ensure our Santa Fe, White Rock, and La Cienega customers know exactly what’s what when it comes to knowing two of the most important parts of their cars. First, let’s check out how the braking system functions, in general.

How Your Car’s Braking System Works

Have you ever had to slam on your brakes suddenly? We’ve all been there, but do you know how you’re able to avoid accidents with your brakes’ quick reactions?

When you press on your brake pedal, it releases brake fluid, which squeezes the calipers. Calipers are almost like the metal pieces on a bike that hold the brakes. Brake pads, then, are between the calipers and rotors. Their job is to apply enough pressure that will slow your tires down, essentially bringing your vehicle to a halt.

Brake Pads

We’ve touched briefly on brake pads, so you know that they are what presses against the rotors when applying the brakes. To give you a better visual of what they look like, think of the heel of a man’s dress shoe—so they’re not large at all, but have a huge job.

Brake pads are made from different materials. Organic brake pads are made from a rubber and glass blend, along with other materials that can take on extremely high temperatures. Another material you might come across is Kevlar.

Still, other materials that make up brake pads include iron, copper, steel, and graphite. These are known as metallic brake pads and are very strong in comparison to organic brake pads. The issue with metallic brake pads, however, is that they will usually wear down the rotors at a faster rate.

What’s a Rotor?

The rotors are attached to the wheels of your vehicle and are essentially what slows the spinning of the wheel down when squeezed by the brake pads. There are two common types of rotors: drilled and slotted.

Drilled rotors have smaller holes that have been cut out of the center, which help disperse heat and remove water from the rotor. The problem with drilled rotors, however, is that these holes tend to make the rotor’s structure weaker, essentially breaking it down quicker.

Slotted rotors tend to wear down slower than drilled rotors; however, they’ll wear down the brake pads quicker. In most cases, you’ll be good to go with drilled rotors—slotted rotors are used more often by race car or performance drivers.

Now that you have more information on the difference between brake pads and rotors, you’ll know exactly why your brakes start to wear down over time. If you think you might need brake pad or rotor replacements, contact our service center at Land Rover Santa Fe today!