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Cost of Brake Pads

Yash Gode
Having a fair idea of brake pads cost is a must, in order to get a fair deal on disc brakes. Are labor charges included in the cost? Should you change the pads yourself to save on the cost? To know the answers to these questions, read on.
Neglecting any car problems can burden you in future with considerable car repair expenses. This also holds true, in case of brake problems. A set of 4 quality pads can cost between $35 and $150. It's highly advisable to buy a pair of pads along with the calipers.
In case of replacing the brake pads, it's further advised to do it for a pair of wheel. For example, if you need to replace pads on the front right wheel, you should also replace those on the front left wheel. This is done in order to maintain uniformity, as it is more desirable if the pads on both sides wear out evenly.
Rotors need to be replaced as well, especially if pads have been replaced more frequently, as newer pads take a toll on the rotor disc. Rotor discs cost anywhere from $30 to $75 each, depending on the brand, type and quality of the rotor.
Cost of pads may seem to be affordable, but if you happen to visit a service center for a routine brake repair, you may have to shell out, anywhere between $200 and $1,000, depending upon the condition of the brake pads, rotors, brake lines and the pad prices.
Labor charges add up to make the cost soar further. You can also go for brake kitsYou can also visit an online auction site such as eBay to search for cheap brake pads. Choose wisely and pay careful attention to the quality certification of the product you are going to buy.
As automobile parts prices depend on many factors, these are amongst products having the least stable pricing. It is the main reason for constant fluctuations, in the cost of brake pads. But, with cut-throat competition in the current auto industry, the cost always remain capped and competitive, giving the end user a lot to choose from.
Another way to bring down the maintenance cost, is to the repair yourself, using an easily available do-it-yourself kit. But this is not advisable, as braking system is one of the vital functionality, that you wouldn't want to mess with. Improper servicing can reduce the brake pad's life. If you are interested in knowing how the pads work, go ahead.

Working of Brake Pads

Like any braking system, disc brakes convert kinetic energy of the rotating wheel to thermal energy by friction. Most important component of the disc braking system are pads. These are mainly steel plates with high friction material on the side facing the rotor disc. There are two pads supported by a caliper facing each other, on both sides of rotor disc.
When the brake pedal is pressed, a hydraulic mechanism makes the caliper clamp the two pads together on the rotating rotor disc, making it come to a halt and thereby, stopping the wheel's rotational motion. In this process, the friction of the two brake pads with the rotor surface produces immense heat.
Operating temperature and coefficient of friction are two very important characteristics of brake pads. A pad with low operating temperature will perform best at lower temperatures but will fade quickly. Those with high operating temperatures, take time to get warmed up and function most efficiently, and have longer life.
Coefficient of friction defines the braking or biting ability of the brake pads on the rotor. Higher the coefficient, the rotation can be ceased faster, and lower the coefficient of friction, more effort and time is needed to stop the vehicle. More friction causes more wear and tear of the rotor disc and reduction of the brake pad's life.