What Is A Brake Pad And Why Is It Important?

When you peek into each caliper on your Volvo, you'll find two brake pads. What are brake pads, and why does your Volvo's disc braking system have them? You'll get the answer - and then some more - in this guide.

What Is A Brake Pad?

Brake pads are some of the most important components of your Volvo's braking system. You can get either OEM or aftermarket pads, though we always recommend OEM. A brake pad is a crescent shaped part with a steel backing and about 12 mm of friction material.

OEM volvo brake pads

The friction material can have any of the following material compositions:

  • Ceramic
  • Semi-metallic
  • Non-asbestos organic (NAO)
  • Low-metallic NAO

Each material composition comes with its own set of pros and cons. Some are made for performance driving, while others are made for daily driving. All OEM Volvo brake pads come with ceramic friction material. The composition of OEM Volvo rotors work optimally with ceramic brake pads.

How Brake Pads Work

The whole point of having brake pads in your Volvo's braking system is to help stop your car on a dime.

There's a caliper wrapped around each rotor. Nestled inside the caliper are two brake pads; one on each side of the rotor. The friction material faces the rotor, and the steel backing helps keep the pad in place.

OEM Volvo Pads and rotors

When you apply the brakes, the caliper squeezes the brake pads against the rotor. That creates a lot of heat and friction, which stops the rotor from turning.

We put together a gif, which you can see below. It provides a visual representation of how brake pads work with calipers and rotors.


Without brake pads, the rotors can't stop. Thus your car can't stop.

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

Brake pads start to wear out after 25,000 miles. Depending on your driving style and the type of brake pads you use, your brake pads may last as long as 65,000 miles. If you want your brake pads to last as long as possible:

  • Use OEM brake pads
  • Don't make a habit of riding your brakes or braking hard

Replacing Your Brake Pads

There's no good reason to put off a brake pad replacement. It's a simple job that ensures optimal braking performance for the next 25K-65K miles. The longer you put off replacing your brake pads, the more likely you would need to replace your rotors too when the time comes. Brake pads that are too worn will damage the rotors and render them unusable.

You'll save a lot of money if you order genuine OEM brake pads from us. Our prices are among the best on the market. In most cases, our prices for brake pads are almost half as much as the prices you'd find at a Volvo dealer.