Are Brake Pads Universal?

If you’re wondering if brake pads are a universal part, they aren’t. You can confirm this by searching the term “universal” on You won’t find brake pads among the universal parts currently listed on the site.

Different types of brake pads are recommended for certain vehicles by their manufacturers based on a number of reasons unique to a given vehicle.

Brake pads vary in size and shape

According to one of our product experts, manufacturers use different sizes and shapes of brake pads by application.

“Brake pads are designed to reach a certain performance level depending on the size, weight, and intended use of the vehicle they fit,” he explained.

For example, performance cars, trucks made for towing, and large SUVs have physically larger brake pads. A larger brake pad has a larger friction surface, which allows for faster braking.

brake pads - are they universal

Brake pads are made of different materials

In addition to the size of the pad, brake pads are designed with different compounds by application, such as semi-metallic, ceramic and organic (non-asbestos), which are three of the most commonly used brake pad materials.

Those compounds are designed for different purposes, and contribute to different braking functions, including increased stopping power and quieter operating.

For more information about the three most commonly used brake pad materials, read our content article What are the different types of automotive brakes?

Shop brake pads:

For more information about when to replace brake pads, replacing your own pads, and to shop for brake pads for your vehicle, check out our frequently asked brake pads questions.

Learn how to replace your worn brake pads:

Watch video: How To Check Your Brakes & Perform Brake Job

For brake pad replacements specific to your vehicle or a model similar to yours, visit our how-to video library.


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