Brake manual or how to select parts

Modern cars are equipped with front disc brakes that consist of brake pads, rotors (or discs), calipers and connecting hose. The rear brakes consists normally of brake shoes, brake drums, hardware and wheel cylinder Performance and sports car cars are equipped with rear disc brakes for better stopping.
Click HERE if you need to see more brake system technical information, some troubleshooting and service tips.

Background things you must know when looking for brake system parts:

  • All brake pads and /or shoes come together as a set that service 2 wheels (the front or the rear). So when looking for "front brake pads" one part number will be a set of 4 pads that service both front wheels. It is a must to change brake pads on both front wheels when changing the front pads.
  • All other brake parts are sold individually, thus if you need to change both rotors you need to order 2 pieces of the same part number.
  • Brake calipers come "loaded" and "unloaded or bare". A "loaded" caliper already includes the 2 brake pads (inner and outer) so if you buy a "loaded" caliper you do not need to buy brake pads separately. A "bare(unloaded)" caliper is the caliper only and you need to buy the brake pads separately. If you are changing only one caliper it is cheaper to buy one "bare" caliper and a set of brake pads. If you are changing calipers on both sides it is cheaper to buy only 2 "loaded" calipers.

    How to select a part from the autopart.com online catalog?

    1. If you already have decided what manufacturer to use and has its part number you may go direct to the quick price check page by clicking here
    2. You can look up the part number at our online catalog. We use ourselves A1 Cardone for brake hydraulics (master cylinders, calipers, boosters) and Wagner (Federal Mogul) for pads, rotors and hardware kits. First Get to know the terminology and abbreviations used:
      "Frt." <==> FRONT     "Rr." <==> REAR     "RH" <==> Right(Passenger) side     "LH" <==> Left(Driver) side
      "Whl" <==> Wheel     "Incl." <==> Included     "Mstr" <==> Master     "Cyl" <==> Cylinder
      "w/" <==> with     "w/o" <==> without     "Reman" <==> Remanufactured
      "Sgl"<==> Single     "Pri" <==> Primary     "Sec" <==> Secondary
      "Dr." <==> Door     "Caliper Kit" <==> Caliper rebuild kit including mostly seals to repair leaking calipers.

      How to select brake pads
      First choose Frt. or Rr. Second get to know the brake pad prefixes. A brake pads number consists of a numeric number and a prefix. The prefixes indicate different grades of quality. As an Example for a 1994 chevrolet S10 blazer 4x4 VIN letter Z there are 3 grades of front brake pads MX154; LT154 and SX154 Any of those numbers will fit but the grade is different as follows:
      "MX", "PD" or "PAB" stands for custom premium pads with regular strength for most normal appications. These are the most popular items.
      "LT" stands for Thermo Quiet - the manufacturer claims they have the most advanced noise damping system in the industry. So if you have a lot of squakes and noise from your brake pads supposedly those pads will provide the best noise reduction.
      "SX" stands for severe duty - they are used for racing applications, police cars, taxis, etc.
      "ZX", "ZD" or "Z" those are economic pads for the very budget consious that we normally do not recommend.
      You may choose from any of the pads. Sometimes the brake pads are also called "brake lining" or " brake plate" Also the manufacturer sometimes lists its specific generic 4 digit part number which number is the same as the 3 digit number. You may use either pads. The 3 digit number is an industry standard and all manufacturers will use that number with their own prefix. We sell mostly Wagner or Federal Mogul so we use their numbering system. Thus MX154 Wagner <==> MX7070AR Wagner <==> MKD154 Bendix <==> etc...

      How to select brake shoes
      Brake shoes are always on the rear. The same numbering system and prefixes apply to the brake shoes as the brake pads. Sometimes you need to know the diameter of the brake drum to be able to determine the correct part number.

      How to select brake rotors or drums
      First determine the front or rear parts. Brake rotors/Drum part numbers consist of a 6 digit base number and 2 letter prefix. The prefix is either "BD" for regular rotors or "81" for economy rotors. Economy rotors are made cheaper and less reliable. We do not recommend them.

      How to select brake calipers
      Remanufactured brake calipers are considerably cheaper. We recommend remanufactured brake calipers made by A1 Cardone out of Philadelphia, PA. They are simply the best remanufacturer that we know. ( we used to deal with a couple of others. )
      Decide if you want the caliper "loaded" i.e. coming with the brake pads or "bare". If you buy a bare caliper you have to buy the brake pads separately.
      Third make sure you select the correct side and the correct part number and just click on it.

      How to select brake hardware parts, hoses, brake cables, etc.
      It is important to know that repair kits normally contain only seals to repair leaking parts. Hardware or metal parts are sold separately when available. You must get acquinted with the terminology of the brake system to be able to choose the correct part. Click HERE for brake system more detailed manual, troubleshooting tips, etc.

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