We have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions, and the most common misconceptions about brake parts. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list or a highly technical explanation. This is to provide you with the general information you will need to know about brakes so that you will select the appropriate parts for your vehicle.
Oftentimes the terminology used when talking about brake rotors (or brake disc) is not clear. Below are a few illustrations that should clear up this matter.
The rotors on your vehicle will be one of two types.
Solid Rotor in very basic terms we like to describe this as looking like a dinner plate. It has only 1 single iron plate.
Vented Rotor this looks like two dinner plates connected by fins or vanes. It has 2 iron plates.
Your brake rotors will have 7 different options [3 lug, 4 lug, 5 lug, 6 lug, 7 lug, 8 lug, 10 lug] when it comes to Lug holes. Lug holes refer to the amount of holes used to mount the brake rotor onto the hub.
Performance Brake Rotor Types
Slotted Rotors sometimes referred to as grooved rotors are rotors that have machined slots or lines in them to allow for the brake pads to expel gas so that the brake pads will keep good contact with the brake rotor during heavy braking. There are a variety of different types of slots machined into brake rotors [straight slots, curved slots, short slots, long slots] all designed to achieve different braking characteristics. Slotted rotors are best suited for track use or for vehicles with extremely heavy loads.
Cross Drilled Rotors also referred to as drilled rotors are rotors that have machined holes in them to allow air to pass through the vane structure of the rotor. This allows for rapid cooling of the brake disc, and causes less stress on the rotor.
Cross Drilled Rotors are best suited for street-used vehicles.
Cross Drilled & Slotted Rotors are rotors that have both drilled holes and slots in them. This allows for both rapid cooling of the brake disc, and allows the gases to escape that are caused during hard braking. In addition the slots help remove any carbon deposits or debris that could be trapped between the pad and rotor, and promotes more even pad wear.
Cross Drilled & Slotted Rotors are the best option for street-used vehicles, and can be used for light track use.
Brake pads are used in conjunction with brake rotors. They are held inside the brake caliper and when you place your foot on the brake pedal to stop the vehicle the caliper squeezes the brake pads against the rotor and brings you to a stop.
There are many different compositions of brake pads, but all brake pad will use on core element in their makeup [Organic material, Metallic material, Ceramic material].
Organic pads are rarely used today as the technology is old and the stopping power can be lacking.
Metallic pads are still a very popular choice among german vehicles, with the introduction of many elements like titanium and Kevlar some metallic pads are actually very clean. Metallic pads generally provide stronger stopping power than organic pads.
Ceramic pads are becoming more commonly used amongst automobile manufacturers. This is due to their desirable braking characteristics. Many ceramic pads are far cleaner than metallic, or organic-based pads. They are typically very quiet, and are rotor friendly. If you are looking for a professional recommendation we highly recommend the Disc Italia Hyperceramic brake pad. It is clean, quiet, gentle on rotors, and stops great hot or cold.
Brake calipers hover around the top of the brake disc, and are what provides the clamping force when applying the brakes.
We are often asked if you can simply upgrade the calipers on your vehicle without changing any other braking components such as rotors and lines. This is not possible as each brake caliper has different offsets and dimension. Taking an upgraded caliper and placing it on your vehicle would require custom-made brackets to properly fit your vehicle. If you are looking for this type of upgraded caliper, please look into our brake kits which include all the components needed for a proper big brake upgrade.
We do carry custom powder coated brake calipers in a variety of colors and for thousands of applications. We also have available caliper shields which provide a racing brake look without the racing brake cost.
We hope you found this information helpful. If you have further questions regarding brake parts for your vehicle please browse our website. We have many articles that provide greater insight and details regarding these subjects. If you need further assistance give one of our brake experts a call toll free 866-272-5396.