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NAPA Auto Parts Explains Brake Products for your Vehicle

In collaboration with NAPA

Vehicle brakes are much more than just another part on your vehicle. They may be THE most important safety device in it, and they consist of an array of components working in synergy. Any compromise on quality or effectiveness on a small part of the system can have serious consequences for you or your passengers. That's why NAPA Brakes offers a full line of brake products that meet or exceed OEM (original equipment manufacturer) specifications, as well as a wide range of resources to help you achieve the perfect brake repair.

All NAPA products meet OEM specifications for size, shape, fit and function. They meet the OEM requirements of the original parts for disc thickness and brake pad shape. It’s important to emphasize this, as a large number of inexpensive low-quality products on the market do not respect the shape of the original parts in order to reduce costs. This can lead to poor fitment, increased wear and tear and naturally less-effective performance overall.

Online ordering
NAPA has designed its website to be as user friendly as possible so that the customer can easily find what they’re looking for. The ability to reserve parts online is extremely handy for the do-it-yourselfer or even if you operate a business. All you need to do is reserve the items on the NAPA Canada website and chose the store location nearest you. In most instances, the parts will be ready for pickup at the counter in as little as two hours. If you’re looking for specialty items, it’s possible that these might require a longer wait depending on inventory levels and availability.

Photo: NAPA

Many people who have a little technical knowledge opt to replace their own brakes. In this day and age, even a novice can watch a short video clip online and successfully complete the procedure in their driveway or garage.

It’s gotten a little more complicated as vehicle technology has advanced, however. For example, anti-lock braking systems are now standard on most, if not all, cars. The vehicle’s onboard computer detects if the brakes lock due to loss of traction and reduces the amount of pressure, thereby allowing the driver to steer. Unfortunately, this also increases braking distance, but it’s generally considered to be a worthwhile trade-off.

NAPA’s online blog offers a step-by-step instruction on how to change a standard set of brakes on your vehicle.

Disc brakes
Another improvement to brake systems we’ve seen in recent years is the large-scale adoption of disc brakes over drum brakes. In drum brakes, the components are housed in a round “drum” that rotates along with the wheel. Inside the drum, a set of “shoes” presses up against the drum to slow the wheel when the brake pedal is pressed.

The problem with this design is that heat can build up quickly and the brakes lose their effectiveness if they get too hot (also known as brake fading). Disc brakes solve this problem by using a caliper to clamp a set of pads down on either side of a disc that rotates with the wheel. Since the whole system is exposed to outside air, the fading aspect caused by heat is much less prominent and the brakes function more effectively under heavy load.

Photo: D.Boshouwers

You may also have heard of different types of disc brakes such as ones with cross-drilled or slotted rotors. Slotted rotors have grooves along the face to allow the gas and dust buildup which appears under heavy load to escape. These grooves also serve to slice a tiny portion of the pad off with each pass to ensure the freshest possible contact surface.

Slotted rotors are almost exclusively used on race vehicles. Street vehicles are often fitted with cross-drilled rotors that have a series of holes in the rotor to allow dust and gas to escape. It’s not critical on street applications but manufacturers still install these units because they are esthetically pleasing and do improve performance.

You’ll often hear sales people mention that a vehicle has four-wheel disc brakes because many models still employ drum brakes on the rear of the vehicle. Modern drum brakes are still effective and safe so there is no need to worry. It’s also important to note that from 60-90% of the stopping power of your vehicle comes from the front brakes so having less efficient drums in the rear is not that big of a concern.

From brakes to body shop supplies to accessories, NAPA and CMAX stores have over 500,000 replacement parts, tools and equipment for your dealer, garage or just for you individually. Be sure to check out NAPA’s discount programs, training programs, leasing and financing options for equipment and of course their expert advice when you’re unsure of anything. NAPA’s online blog is also a handy tool if you need to do basic repairs such as replace headlight bulbs, change your oil and filter, change your spark plugs, change your car starter and so on.

About NAPA
NAPA is the largest automotive parts retailer in Canada and has over 90 years of operating experience.  The chain’s 600 Napa Parts stores across Canada mean there is almost certainly one near you. NAPA also has 6,000 stores operating across the United States, where the company’s reputation for building quality parts and having knowledgeable sales staff is unsurpassed.

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