Best Car Brakes: Generate Reliable Stopping Power

Reliable car brakes are essential for safe, care-free driving

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There’s nothing more important in your car than the brakes. Without solid brakes, you risk accidents and other problems. That’s why it’s imperative to install the best brakes you can. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. It just means doing your research and buying and installing quality brakes for your vehicle. Check out our recommendations for superior brakes—with great online savings. 

  • Best Overall
    AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set
    Summary
    Summary
    These pads provide reliable, safe stopping action. They are ready to install right out of the box and require no machining or curing. Shims, chamfers, and slots help provide smooth braking while reducing vibration and noise.
    Pros
    Pros
    These pads fit perfectly on a broad range of vehicles. They are easy and fast to install and produce little dust. Quiet operation.
    Cons
    Cons
    They can be squeaky in hot weather. The pads do not fit all makes and models.
  • Best Value
    KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set
    Summary
    Summary
    These front brake pads fit various Nissan and Infiniti vehicles and feature dual rubber shims that reduce vibrational noise. The “thermo-scorched” manufacturing process reduces break-in time. Slots and chamfered edges increase brake bite, extend pad life, and helps reduce noise.
    Pros
    Pros
    The product is known for its great stopping power. The manufacturer provides a “no-hassle” limited warranty. The price is one-third that of OEM brand pads.
    Cons
    Cons
    Brakes squeak on some vehicles. You must order brake hardware separately to install these pads.
  • Honorable Mention
    Wagner QuickStop Ceramic Disc Pad Set
    Summary
    Summary
    This pad set features optimal stopping power at an economical price. The manufacturing process includes 100 percent OE post-cured treatment, which results in consistent braking throughout the life of the pads. The application-specific design helps reduce noise-causing vibration.
    Pros
    Pros
    The pads are made from low copper, 2021 compliant ceramic. They leave no detectable dust on wheels. All clips, as well as a lubricant, are included.
    Cons
    Cons
    Brakes mary rattle on certain vehicles and maybe noisy on others

Tips

  • Safety is paramount when upgrading your brakes. Always set the parking brake, block your vehicle, and use jack stands while removing your old brakes and installing new equipment. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris and brake dust and use gloves to protect your hands against brake dust and scrapes. 
  • Research information in order to receive the correct part the first time. If the pad set is not listed to fit your car, call the manufacturer. Also check the reviews for potential problems.
  • Gather the proper tools before you start. Sometimes corroded or rusted parts can be difficult to remove without an air ratchet. Don’t risk injury attempting to disassemble a part that is badly corroded.

FAQs

Q: How do I know if my brakes are bad?

A: If you can hear a scraping or rubbing sound coming from the wheel and brake area of your car, it’s time to replace the brakes. Also, most garages routinely check the condition of your brakes when they perform an oil change or other routine maintenance.  

Q: Do I need to replace the rotors too?

A: The average lifespan of brake pads is between 10,000 and 20,000 miles. Rotors (or discs) last between 50,000 and 70,000 miles. Keep these numbers in mind when replacing brake pads. Rotors may become warped or too thin to reuse. If you have any doubt, get them inspected. Many shops inspect them for free in order to gain a customer.

Q: Are there other parts I may need to replace besides the brakes?

A: Calipers and springs may also need replacement after many miles. If a caliper is leaking or is inoperative, it’s time to replace it. Inspect springs and fittings for wear and replace as necessary. If you have any doubts, get your brakes inspected. 

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best overall car brakes, the AC Delco Advantage Ceramic Front Disc Brake Pad Set, fits a wide variety of vehicles. 

Our best value recommendation, the KFE Ultra Quiet Premium Ceramic Front Brake Pad Set, uses a special manufacturing process that helps reduce noise.