Have you noticed some unusual noises emanating from your truck’s brake system?
Maybe you’ve caught the occasional squeak or grinding sound when you hit the brakes. Perhaps you’ve also encountered some other issues, such as leaking brake fluid, unusual wobbling movements from your vehicle, or even a strange burning smell.
These are all signs of disc brake wear, and they are indications that you should replace your existing brake system as soon as possible.
Ignoring signs of brake damage can lead to serious consequences. At best, you may end up having to replace all of your vehicle’s tires. At worst, you could find yourself in a dangerous road accident.
Even if you haven’t encountered any obvious signs of wear and tear from your brakes, it’s important to remember that most disc brakes are only designed to hold up for between 80,000 and 120,000 miles of use and should be replaced accordingly.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to replacing your existing disc brakes, don’t worry! There are plenty of brake rotor and pad kits on the market that include the main components you will need to carry out the replacement.
Read on for reviews of our top 5 best brake rotors and pads, plus a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ section to steer you in the right direction!
Our top choice on the market for brake rotors and pads is the Power Stop K137-36 Truck & Tow Brake Kit.
This front disc brake kit includes a pair of drilled and slotted brake rotors as well as stainless steel shims and carbon fiber ceramic pads.
The drilled and slotted design of the rotors serves an important purpose. The drilled holes help to keep your rotors cool even in high temperatures. Meanwhile, the slots collect any debris that comes into contact with the rotors, keeping the surface area clear for maximum functionality.
The carbon fiber ceramic pads are some of the strongest on the market. They are wear-resistant and provide excellent stopping power, superior to most pads you’ll find on the automotive component market.
Thanks to the stainless steel shims, which are resistant to corrosion and highly durable, the noise levels of your brake system will be kept to a minimum for a pleasant and stress-free ride.
Plus, the dust-free construction of these brake rotors and pads ensures that you won’t be contributing to air pollution every time you hit the brakes.
Installation hardware and brake lubricant are also included with the kit, so you can easily install these rotors and pads yourself with the help of the instructions and conduct maintenance without having to spend money on extra purchases.
However, these brake rotors and pads do not fit all four-wheel drives, and there have been some reports from customers that the product did not fit their vehicle due to inaccurate compatibility specifications. Therefore, we would recommend doing some further research into the compatibility of these brake rotors with your specific vehicle model before purchase.
- Premium stainless steel shims – Highly durable and rust-resistant
- Carbon fiber ceramic pads – Wear-resistant and effective
- Drilling and slotting – Maintains low brake temperatures
- Dust-free – No brake pollution
- Hardware and lubricant included – Easy installation and maintenance
- Some inaccurate fit specifications – Double check compatibility with your vehicle
As our runner-up pick, we have chosen another brake rotor kit from Power Stop. This kit contains the Evolution carbon fiber brake pads along with drilled and slotted rotors.
The Evolution kit contains two front brake rotors with compatible pads and shims, plus installation hardware and lubricant.
Like the rotors featured in our best overall kit, these rotors are also drilled and slotted to ensure that they do not overheat while in use and don’t collect too much dust or debris at the point of contact. The Evolution rotors are also zinc plated to give them extra resistance against corrosion.
Meanwhile, the carbon fiber ceramic pads are known for their amazing stopping power and smooth performance, so you can trust this brake kit to keep you and your vehicle safe.
Moreover, the rubberized, dual-layer shims that come in this kit have excellent noise-insulating properties, so you won’t have to worry about any distracting or annoying noises from your brakes.
With that being said, however, you may notice some noise after you first install the rotors and pads. This is normal and should be resolved by breaking in the new components before you hit the road for real.
- Zinc-plated rotors – Tough and corrosion-resistant
- Drilled and slotted – No overheating
- Carbon fiber ceramic pads – Enhanced stopping power
- Rubberized, dual-layer shims – Noise-insulating
- Low-dust design – Minimal air pollution
- May be noisy when first installed – Breaking in is necessary
We understand that replacing components within your disc brake system can be challenging due to finances. Brake rotor kits aren’t especially cheap, which can make purchasing one stressful and result in the task being left dangerously late.
Luckily, the Autospeciality KOE3118 OE Replacement Brake Kit is affordably priced as well as high-quality, so it’s a great budget pick.
The Autospeciality rotor and pads kit is designed for front brake replacement and includes rotors and brake pads in addition to shims.
The rotors are constructed using Tru-Cast technology, which means that they are precisely machined for the perfect fit and smooth performance. They have also been mill-balanced for reduced vibrations while driving.
Meanwhile, the Clean Ride ceramic used in the construction of the brake pads ensures that no dust is produced when you pump the brakes, so air pollution isn’t something you need to worry about with this kit.
All the hardware you’ll need to install your new rotors and pads is included in the package, so you can start the installation process immediately on receipt of your kit without the need for any other purchases.
However, these rotors do heat up relatively quickly, even when combined with newer calipers, so we wouldn’t recommend them as a first choice if you live in a particularly hot location.
- Tru-Cast technology – Precise fit and performance
- Mill balanced – Vibration reduction
- Clean Ride ceramic – No dust production
- Installation hardware included – No extra purchases necessary
- Heat up quite quickly – Not ideal for warmer climates
High-performing brakes are absolutely essential for keeping yourself, your vehicle, and potentially your family safe while driving. That’s why, if you can, we would recommend paying a little extra for even higher quality than the average.
If this is something you can manage on your budget, we recommend investing in the EBC S4KF1190 Stage-4 Signature Brake Kit!
This kit contains two slotted rotors and the corresponding ceramic brake pads. The included components are for rear brake installation only, so they are only suitable if you are looking to replace your rear brakes.
The rotors are coated with a ‘thermic black’ finish which provides extra rust resistance for superior durability. Meanwhile, the wide slots positioned around the rotor help to stop debris and other contaminants from accumulating and affecting the performance of your brakes.
Speaking of performance, these pads and rotors have been tried and tested, showing that they provide a 10 to 20% improvement on braking speeds compared to factory components. This is largely due to the ceramic brake pads, which have been designed specifically to deliver increased bite for more efficient braking.
As an added bonus, the EBC Stage-4 signature pads and rotors operate quietly for an enjoyable driving experience. However, they do yield medium-level quantities of dust, which is something pollution-conscious drivers should be aware of.
- Wide-slotted rotor design – Minimal debris accumulation
- Thermic black coating – Rust-resistant and durable
- Ceramic brake pads – Increased bite for superior stopping power
- 10 – 20% OE brake speed improvement – Proven to be effective
- Quiet operation – Pleasant driving experience
- Some dust production – Not the cleanest in terms of air pollution
Last, but by no means least, our highly commended pick is the Detroit Axle Front and Rear brake kit for the Honda Pilot.
Unlike the other products we’ve reviewed today, this brake kit includes both front and rear brake replacement components. It features four rotors, designed with drill holes and slots, plus the brake pads to go with them.
The rotors are drilled and slotted, so they simultaneously shift debris and keep themselves cool, minimizing the risk of your system overheating or underperforming.
Premium ceramic pads are also included in the kit, which boast excellent stopping power for a safe and stable drive.
The kit comes with all the hardware you need to conduct the installation, as well as a bottle of brake cleaner and brake fluid for both the front and rear brakes.
- Drilled and slotted rotors – Minimizes debris accumulation and overheating
- Premium ceramic pads – Impressive stopping power
- Comes with hardware – Everything you need for installation
- Brake fluid and cleaner included – Easy maintenance
- Only for 2003-2008 Honda Pilot – Not widely compatible
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Brake Rotors and Pads
Have you chosen your ideal brake rotors and pads yet? If not, don’t panic! We’ve put together our buyer’s guide especially to help you make the right choice.
We’re going to tell you about all the different features to prioritize in brake rotors and pads in just a moment. First, though, it’s important to stress that vehicle compatibility is the single most important thing to verify before you purchase a disc brake kit.
Of course, high quality and superior functionality should be prioritized. However, if the rotors and pads that you purchase don’t fit your vehicle properly, it won’t matter how exceptional they are in terms of quality – they will be useless to you.
Amazon.com provides a ‘Check Fit’ function through their service, which permits vehicle owners to verify the compatibility of automotive parts with their vehicle make and model.
However, it’s important to note that this is not an infallible system in terms of accuracy and may not always be up to date with the very latest models. This is why it’s crucial to know the measurements of your brake system, including your existing rotors.
You can verify the original component sizes that came with your vehicle by contacting your dealership and quoting your Vehicle Identification Number. You can find your VIN in your ownership documents or manual.
If all else fails, you can even take measurements of your current rotors yourself using a ruler or tape measure since rotor sizes are measured in millimeters. You will need to remove your wheels to do this, though.
Let’s start out by talking about the rotors. Rotors are discs, usually made out of iron, that are designed to create friction against the brake pads (see below). This friction creates resistance, which is essentially what stops your wheels from turning when you push on the brake pedal.
So, from that description alone, it’s clear that rotors are vital components of any disc brake system.
Rotors need to be durable and corrosion-resistant. Ideally, they should also be designed in a way that helps them to cool down so that the kinetic energy generated by the friction doesn’t overheat your brake system, which could lead to a loss of stopping power. It also helps if a rotor has slots cut into it to guide debris away from the point of contact between the pads and the rotors.
In terms of durability, the iron that most rotors are made of typically does a good job of holding up for between 80,000 and 120,000 miles. However, there are some features to look out for that indicate greater longevity in a rotor. For instance, a zinc coating will improve rust resistance, as does the thermic black coating used by EBC. If you can keep your rotors free from rust, they will last longer and perform better in the long term.
Drill holes and slots are also important features in rotor construction. Drill holes serve the purpose of helping to keep the rotors cool despite all the friction being exerted on them. Slots, on the other hand, are used to prevent debris from hindering the functionality of your brakes.
All of the brake pads featured in our reviewed kits are made of either ceramic or a combination of ceramic and carbon fiber.
Ceramic or carbon ceramic brake pads are generally considered to be superior to other types of pads because of their increased durability as well as other factors. They are more heat-resistant than metal pads, so they have better longevity, and they also make less noise. Because the dust that they create is also much finer than the dust produced by metal pads, they also cause less debris.
Many brake kits for four-wheel drives also come with shims. For anyone who isn’t familiar with these components, shims are small brake components that sit between the brake pad and caliper to minimize vibrations and noise during operation.
Shims should be durable and corrosion-resistant, like all other brake components. That’s why stainless steel is a popular choice of material for shim construction. However, if you want your shims to provide extra noise insulation in addition to vibration control, we’d recommend choosing a kit that comes with rubberized shims. The rubber will dampen any noises and also provide an extra layer of protection.
If you’re planning to install your new rotors and pads yourself, make sure that the kit you purchase comes with the hardware necessary for a smooth installation.
You don’t want to find yourself in the position of having to spend more money than you anticipated because you realize on arrival that your rotors and pads don’t come with the installation hardware.
Some brake rotor and pad kits also come with lubricant, brake fluid, or cleaning fluid.
If you want to be able to provide proper maintenance for your disc brake system without having to look elsewhere for products, selecting a kit that comes with one, two, or all of these substances will make your life much easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I change all my brake pads at once?
You don’t necessarily have to change all four of your brake pads at once, especially since the front brake pads will probably show signs of wear before the rear pads. However, changing both the front or both the rear pads at the same time is recommended. Otherwise, you might end up with two front brakes that work at different speeds. This could be very dangerous, which is why we would never advise changing brake pads individually.
Can I change my brake pads without changing my rotors?
If your brake pads are worn, but not your rotors, there’s no reason why you can’t simply change the brake pads without changing the rotors.
However, buying brake pads and rotors together in a set, even if you don’t install them at the same time, will ensure that the components are compatible with one another. Finding individual components with compatible measurements is not always easy, and with something as important as your truck’s brake system, you can’t be too careful.