What Are Brake Pads And Why Are They Important?

Brake pads need to be replaced once in a while. So it's important to know a thing or two about the brake pads on your Volkswagen, especially the function they serve and how to know when to replace them. This article will explain what brake pads are and why they're important to your vehicle's braking system. There are additional resources at the end of the article, as well.

What do Brake Pads Look Like?

OEM VW pads4


A brake pad has two main parts:

  1. A steel backing plate
  2. Brake pad friction material that's about 0.5" thick

Brake pads have a semi-crescent shape and they're a few inches wide and about 5 inches long.

What Purpose do Brake Pads Serve?

Basically, brake pads help stop your vehicle on a dime. Without brake pads, your car wouldn't be able to stop at all. That's why it's important to replace your brake pads as soon as they're worn down.

How do Brake Pads Help Stop Your Vehicle?

Image Credit: golf Wagen

Hugging the brake rotor is the caliper. Inside the caliper are two brake pads, one on each side of the rotor. The friction material on each brake pad is facing the rotor.

When you apply the brakes, the following sequence of events is put into motion:

  1. Pushing on the brake pedal actuates the master cylinder piston, which forces brake fluid into the brake lines.
  2. The hydraulic pressure created in the brake lines forces the caliper pistons outward.
  3. The motion of the caliper pistons forces the brake pads to come into contact with the rotor.
  4. Depending on the force applied, enough heat and friction is created to slow or completely stop the rotor from moving.

When your Volkswagen is in motion, it has a lot of kinetic energy. When the brake pads come into contact with the rotor, the friction between the two brake pads and the rotor converts the kinetic energy into heat. The rapid decline in kinetic energy causes the rotor to stop moving.

With good brake pads, the entire braking process only takes a few seconds. With worn pads, it takes longer, which can be pretty dangerous.

More Resources on VW Brake Pads

For more information on Volkswagen brake pads, visit the following links:

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