To understand brake pads, you need to get an idea of how a modern braking system works. And don’t worry, it isn’t as uninteresting as it sounds. In modern trucks with disc brakes, when you press down on the brake, a hydraulic piston exerts pressure on a fluid, which causes the brake pads to rub against the brake rotor. This begins the process of braking. And while multiple things control how much the brake force is applied, it’s generally the same process across vehicles. To be confident that your truck will come to a full stop or decelerates effectively, you’ll need to ensure that its brakes are perfect, along with the best brake pads.
When you’re towing, that extra weight adds more momentum — and therefore puts more pressure on the braking system. To make sure you’ll stop in time with whatever you’re carrying, let’s look at the best brake pads for towing.
- Brake Pads for Towing Reviews:
- REVIEWS YOU CAN TRUST
- 1. Expensive but with a purpose: Hawk Performance LTS Brake Pad – Best Brake Pads for Towing
- 2. Bolt-on Upgrade Set: Power Stop Truck and Tow Front and Rear Brake Kit
- 3. Inexpensive but useful: Wagner Severe Duty Semi-Metallic Disc Pad Set
- 4. Factory replacement: Motorcraft Brake Pad
- 5. Safe Choice: Bosch Severe Duty Brake Pad set
- What are the best brake pads for towing?
Brake Pads for Towing Reviews:
REVIEWS YOU CAN TRUST
We strive to always give you genuine, accurate information. To do this, all of mechanicguides.com reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience. This knowledge comes from a team of automotive journalists and an independent mechanic, Steve “Whip” Whipple who has 11 years of experience in the auto industry. For more information, see here.
1. Expensive but with a purpose: Hawk Performance LTS Brake Pad – Best Brake Pads for Towing
- LTS - Light Truck and SUV brake compound
- Superior fade resistance
- Excellent pad and rotor life
- A better way to stop your truck or SUV
- Improved braking over OE
If you were wondering what ‘LTS’ stands for, it is short for Light Truck and SUV. This LTS brake pad claims to offer improved braking over factory brakes, comes with ‘excellent pad and rotor life’, has superior fade resistance, but is more expensive than other, more common brake pads.
Low Dust Output
The brake pad is made of Ferro-Carbon material, promises a low dust output, greater resistance to brake fade, and an overall strong initial bite, regardless of the temperature. This pad is made for use at the front and should produce less noise in operation compared to stock pads. Hawk Performance also mentions that its compounds are made to work with iron/metal rotors. So if you’ve upgraded to carbon ceramics on your truck, you might need to look elsewhere.
What do we think of it?
The Hawk Performance pads might be an expensive pick for the best brake pads for towing, but with it brings along added performance. You’ll get consistent performance on heavier applications, which most users appreciate. In terms of compatibility, the Hawk Performance brake pad is compatible with Ford trucks like the 2004 Ford F-350 Super Duty XL and XLT, 2005 Ford Excursion, 2005 Excursion Eddie Bauer, 2005 Excursion Limited, 2005 Excursion XLS, and 2005 Ford Excursion XLT.
There’s no warranty information available about the listing, so you’ll need to drop the seller a message about that — and if there’s any concern regarding the compatibility. Some users have mentioned that these don’t come with clips for all models, so you’ll need to check/order that.
- Low Dust
- Consistent performance
2. Bolt-on Upgrade Set: Power Stop Truck and Tow Front and Rear Brake Kit
- Proprietary carbon-fiber ceramic materials enhance the strength of a typical ceramic brake pad compound to handle heavier loads
- Low dust braking validated through on-vehicle 3rd party tests in Los Angeles, showing on average 30% less dust versus OE
- Drilled & Slotted performance rotors for maximum cooling
- Includes stainless steel installation hardware and high temperature ceramic brake lubricant
- Fitment: Ford F-150 2018-2012
Another good choice is the Power Stop Z36 Truck & Tow set of brake pads and rotors. The kit includes everything for both the front and rear applications on trucks (more on compatibility below). These high-performance replacement parts are said to offer dust-free braking, made to handle heavier loads, and are sold as a bolt-on upgrade kit.
Complete set (rotors, pads, and hardware)
The rotors are made of iron and are zinc-plated, to keep corrosion away. They are drilled and slotted for improved performance with fewer chances of overheating. The Z36 carbon-fiber ceramic formula for the pads is claimed to offer improved performance even when burdened by heavier loads — ideal for towing. The kit also includes stainless steel shims for noise-free braking performance. It also has improved heat dissipation — something regular brakes might have a problem with. The kit includes a stainless steel hardware kit and ceramic brake lubricant.
What do we think of it?
Having brakes you can depend on makes driving a more confident and trouble-free affair. The rotor+pad set manages to instill that confidence in owners, as seen in the stellar reviews. You can also opt for the kit that includes new high-performance calipers for further improvement in performance. Power Stop mentions that along with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, the kit is backed by a warranty for 3 years or 36,000 miles (whichever occurs first).
The kit is made for 2012 – 2018 Ford F-150 trucks. The compatibility chart includes 2WD and 4WD versions of the standard F-150 whereas the Raptor is included as well. To get a better idea about this and compatibility, drop the seller a message. Users have suggested that these brakes should be allowed to break in for optimum performance.
3. Inexpensive but useful: Wagner Severe Duty Semi-Metallic Disc Pad Set
- BUILT TOUGH -- Engineered for fleets and vehicles driven in demanding conditions
- LONG LIFE -- Semi-metallic carbon-based friction material engineered in-house to deliver long lasting braking performance for the toughest applications
- TESTED AND VALIDATED -- Rigorous OE-style on-vehicle testing to ensure optimal braking performance for vehicles under extreme heat, frequent stopping and heavy loads
- OE DESIGN -- Features OE style shims, slots and chamfers
If you don’t want an entire brake kit and just want to replace the outgoing brake pads with better quality ones, you should look at Wagner brake pads. The set of pads is made to handle more load than usual, is built to factory specifications (so it’s a direct fit), is bound to last long, and is accompanied by all the hardware that’s required for the installation. These brake pads are made for use at the front of the Ford truck (model-wise compatibility mentioned below).
Keep in mind that if you’re looking at replacing the brake pads alone, you need to ensure that other components of the braking system are still in working order.
Backed by OE-style testing
As a replacement, the pad set seems to have everything right. It’s not very expensive, and its performance is backed by what the company calls OE-style on-vehicle testing. That means the test vehicles this set was fitted on were tested under heavy loads, extreme heat, and frequent stopping. This brake pad set also takes on the OE/factory size and shape, so it’s a direct fit without any modifications. The pad material is a carbon-based semi-metallic one.
What do we think of it?
A set of good brake pads is instrumental in strong brake performance. And this set by Wagner seems to be just that. It’s compatible with a variety of older Ford trucks, namely the Ford Excursion (2000 – 2005), Ford F-250 (1999), Ford F-250 Super Duty (1999 – 2004), and Ford F-350 Super Duty (1999 – 2004). There’s no warranty information about the brake pads so check with the seller.
This is a semi-metallic brake pad, so it’ll probably be slightly noisier than ceramic ones but will perform better than organic material ones and also better than ceramics at lower temps. But having said that, if you’re not too happy with the regular brake pads, though, then you’re better off looking at ceramics.
4. Factory replacement: Motorcraft Brake Pad
- Package Dimensions: 6.35 H x 21.844 L x 14.224 W (centimeters)
- Part number: BRSD-756
- Package Weight: 6.4 pounds
- Fit type: Vehicle Specific
Who knows your truck better than the company who made it, right? Now whether or not a brand offers top-quality products for its vehicles is a discussion for another day, but if you have a Ford truck, getting Motorcraft parts is a reasonable choice. The model we have here is the BRSD-756, a severe-duty pad for the Ford (and Ford group) vehicles. It’s made for high-heat and high-wear conditions — like towing.
Promised to exhibit minimum heat fade
The major advantages of using the Motorcraft Super Duty pad, compared to regular pads and some rivals, include minimum heat-fade even in extreme conditions, lower noise, corrosion protection, long life, uniform wear, among other features. The pad also has slots for improved heat and water dissipation, chamfers for lowered noise during break-in and under heavy braking, and the set is also accompanied by the necessary hardware for the installation.
What do we think of it?
While these might be manufacturer-backed brake pads, you’ll still need to check with the seller about a couple of things to be sure before making the purchase. It’s clear that these are made for use on Ford trucks, but the compatibility chart isn’t available, so ask the seller if they’d fit your particular truck. An alternative source suggests these are made for the Ford Excursion (2000 – 2005), Ford F-250 (1999 – 2004), and Ford F-350 (1999 – 2004). Also check about the warranty, information on which is missing from the listing. Also, check if these are semi-metallic (as the listing mentions) or if it’s ceramic because the model number corresponds to a ceramic pad as well.
The set of pads makes for a safe choice since it’s a factory replacement product. Another reason why you should consider the Motorcraft Brake Pad is because since the company recommends these, you won’t have to do any trial and error on your truck.
Users have mixed opinions about this, but largely on the positive side. The negative reviews seem to be seller-related. The things users have liked include fit and how effectively these pads work.
5. Safe Choice: Bosch Severe Duty Brake Pad set
- Bosch Severe Duty Semi-Metallic brake pads use the latest technology in friction for best in class performance, quiet operation, and long life
- Severe Duty pads are made for vehicles subject to constant stop-and-go operation or that carry heavy payloads
- OE-style multilayer shims, slots, and chamfers (where specified)
- Engineered, tested, and manufactured in North America
- Set includes pads for 1 axle (2 wheels), synthetic lube, and hardware (as applicable); pads come boxed with a paper inner wrap for added protection
Bosch offers its Severe Duty brake pads with both advanced semi-metallic and ceramic copper-free formulas. The pad gets advanced aerospace alloy transfer layer tech, with which you’re guaranteed great performance, reduced noise, and long life. The model we have here is for application at the rear and has pads for two wheels. That’s accompanied by synthetic lube, and if applicable, necessary hardware required for installation.
Improved braking performance
The Severe Duty brake pads offer what Bosch refers to as all-around optimal braking performance. That comes despite the increased load and more severe operating conditions — towing is a perfect example of that. Constant stop-and-go operations won’t have anything on your truck’s brakes, either. That’s reassuring, to say the least. The pads are made keeping in mind the OE/factory specifications for the multilayer shims, slots, and chamfers (where applicable), etc.
What do we think of it?
The Bosch Severe Duty brake pad set is compatible with Ford Explorer (2006 – 2010), Ford Explorer Sport Trac (2009 – 2010), Jeep Liberty (2003 – 2007), Jeep TJ (2003 – 2006), and Mercury Mountaineer (2009 – 2010). You’ll need to drop the seller a message about the warranty since the listing has no information about that.
Bosch is a reputed brand, and its products are appreciated by customers around the globe. The Severe Duty brake pad set offers the ability to withstand the added stress that towing can cause. And since the pad is made keeping the factory specifications in mind, you won’t have any trouble fitting it.
What are the best brake pads for towing?
The most basic thing to keep in mind when switching to a new set of pads is that they should be made exactly for your truck — that is to the factory specifications. Some pads are harsher on the rotors but offer improved performance while some are made to last longer.
Of the best brake pads for towing that we’ve gone over, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these. Hawk Performance is our pick for the best brake pads for towing here. But if you want to replace the rotors along with the pads (should the former be worn out), the Power Stop bolt-on kit is the one for you. These are made to perform consistently regardless of the braking load. The other safe choice is the Motorcraft brake pad. It’s a factory replacement but made for harder use, much like the Bosch Severe Duty pads. And if you’re looking for a relatively less expensive option, you can try the Wagner set of pads as well.
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