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2006 Saturn Vue - Which brake pads

My car needs front brakes. Every place I look there seems to be several options. For example, NAPA has 5 different ceramic brake pads ranging from $43.99 to $95.99. I drive about 10,000 miles a year and my car has 115,000 miles. Which pads should I buy?

The expensive ones.

Driving is optional, stopping is not.

I wouldn’t quibble about $50 when it comes to brakes (you don’t want to know what I spend on brakes!)

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I would rather suggest mid-range on the price.
I’ve read an extensive study recently, I believe from the link from one of discussions on this site, and it was quite an interesting take-away from it.
Essentially, it was no surprises that cheap is not good.
It was surprising that top-tier was “not good” either, for the “regular folks”, let me elaborate…

  • the stopping power is better, no questions there
  • wears out faster
  • noisier

For OP who drives 10K miles a year… I would shoot for the mid-range.

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Just ask for brake pads that meets or exceeds the OEM specifications.

Tester

Never buy the cheapest.

Wagner Thermo-quiet pads are $26.79 at Rock-Auto seems to be a great buy.

I had these installed on my first Subaru and initially they were NOT quiet… until I replaced brake rotors too… old ones were definitely pitted and warped, so while at RockAuto, it would make sense to buy some inexpensive rotors too

Do they have ACDelco brand? If so, I would get those…along with new rotors.

Saturn was a GM brand, and ACDelco is GM’s aftermarket line…those will get you spot on with the OEM spec.

I concur with using ACDelco parts, but even they have different product lines, known as Silver (formerly Advantage), Gold (formerly Professional), and OE (priced low to high in that order). The OE line is presumably the same part you would get at a GM dealer (many times sharing the part number), but it’s usually priced a bit better.
ACDelco parts can be looked up here.

Amazon actually has the ACDelco OE Vue pads slightly cheaper than Rockauto, at $49.

As a side note, many ACDelco brake parts were/are made by Raybestos (I don’t know for sure if they still are).

Do NOT get Wagner Thermoquiet

The name is a cruel joke

Also do not get autozone brake pads

Out of all the brake pads I have experience with, they had the most “fitment” issues . . . and you definitely want your brake pads to fit correctly

I’m flabbergasted @db4690. For many years I installed Wagner brake pads and other than an occasional issue with a squeal they performed well and never gave me a problem installing them that I recall.

I’m talking ONLY of Wagner Thermoquiet

We don’t have any noise problems with wagner severe duty . . . but those would be inappropriate for a Saturn Vue

And I’m surprised that you’re flabbergasted . . . I’ve slammed Thermoquiet for years on this forum. And I wasn’t the only one . . .

I’ve always had good luck buying a set of pads priced about midway in the range the parts store tells me. If there’s several pads about the same price in the middle of the range I choose the set they sell the most.

Reminds me of the story the former gov’r of California Jerry Brown used to tell, when somebody asked what his political philosophy was: “It’s like paddling a canoe, a little on the left, and a little on the right.” Choose the middle path in other words.

As I recall several top line pads had squealing problems but some combination of anti-seize on the back sides and putting a swirl pattern on rotors eliminated it.

The ultimate solution to brake squeal was organic pads that sold for less than $5. Shade tree mechanics liked those but all the metallics were noisy and stuck with them for the most part.

Nothing . . . I literally mean that . . . would stop those Thermoquiet brake pads from making noise

new rotors

machining the rotors

anti-squeal paste . . . didn’t matter which brand or type you used

new shims and hardware

and so forth

nothing would help

I will ALWAYS recommend against Wagner Thermoquiet

I’ve had a few people get them against my recommendations

when they came by later complaining about the noise, I looked them straight in the eyes and said “I told you so” and walked away.

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Walk away? Really? That seems like an opportunity for a mechanic to make some money.

These were acquaintances and/or neighbors

If they’re going to blatantly disregard my advice . . . then I don’t want them as customer.

Note that they would have been side job customers at best, since I don’t own a business

I don’t need and/or want a side job customer that doesn’t heed my advice. They’ll probably wind up blaming me for their failings, anyways . . .

You have to also know what jobs to turn down, when to walk away, etc. . . .

We’ve discussed this several times on this forum :smiley:

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