Pros: very quiet pads, comes with Bosch heavy-pressure lube, "lifetime" warranty
Cons: none so far
I love my wife. Having said that, I want her to be safe when she drives her Jeep Liberty and in order for her to be completely safe, her brakes needed replacing. The decision was either pay someone $170 or do it myself. Initially, doing it myself left me with a bit of anxiety because her safety was in my hands.
So there we were – at one of our local auto repair places after having been “baited” to come in for a $60 brake job. Understand that I was already leery of this but I was curious. We dropped my wife’s Jeep Liberty off and waited at our home for four hours until they decided to call us. You guessed it, the price magically jumped from $59.99 to $169.99. I chuckled and asked why. They told me that my vehicle “required” semi-metallic pads and that they cost $100 and up. I told them we’d come get our car. Before we went over there, I called three other brake places – all of whom told me putting organic pads on our Liberty would be fine but that they’d wear out sooner than semi-metallic or ceramic.
I know that semi-metallic brake pads average between $35 -$45 and ceramic pads are even higher. For the type of driving my wife does, the semi-metallic pads would suffice. For people who drive heavier vehicles, drive canyons often or people who are hard on their brakes, the ceramic pads are the better choice.
It should be mentioned that ProStop is the Pep Boys’ house brand. At first I was a bit leery – after all, we’re talking about my wife here and her safety is a big concern of mine. So I went over to the Pep Boys service area and asked how much it would cost to replace the front brake pads on her car. They told me $170. I was floored. So I went back next door and purchased the ProStop Platinum Professional grade brake pads for $34.99 with a $5 birthday gift card, I paid $29.99. They tried to get me to purchase the optional hardware kit and special lube for metal-on-metal contact. I bought them with the knowledge that I could return them if needed. Turns out, the brake pads came with a large packet of Bosch brand lube in the box.
You see, I had already surfed the internet to find out exactly what was involved in replacing her front pads. Turns out, I have all the necessary tools and a good deal of manual dexterity so I wanted to do it myself. Again, I was anxious about my wife’s safety, but I knew I could accomplish the task at hand. My next door neighbor happens to be a retired master mechanic and he told me that the brake hardware does NOT have to be replaced at every brake pad change like Pep Boys asserted. When things get worn out, that’s when the hardware parts are needed.
The main reason they resurface rotors is because rotors get built-up “glazing” from rubbing against the pads and will (they say) cause the rotors to become noisy. This is quite true when the cheaper organic pads are used. I was also told that if you use the correct pads and that if you haven’t started eating into the rotors, resurfacing isn’t needed every time pads are replaced. But resurfacing should be done every other brake job. It usually costs about $10 per rotor.
I’ve always believed that shops do it in order for your rotors to wear much faster and so they can sell you rotors more often. I believe this to be true because I watched (in horror) as another brake shop ran my rotors through more than four passes – years ago. These ProStop brake pads are called professional grade and they claim to produce much less noise, so I chose not to resurface the rotors this time around. Opting to resurface the rotors every other brake job.
IN THE BOX:
I learned that the pads are made in Mexico and that they’re distributed by a company called Carrus Corporation. It also came with instructions that didn’t differ much from the instructions I downloaded other than suggesting I purchase the hardware. Brake hardware usually consists of new clips (to hold the pads in place on the calipers), rubber grommets to keep debris out of the inner workings and other assorted items like these – depending on your application. As mentioned above, it also comes with a packet of Bosch lube.
These brake pads come with a “Lifetime Warranty” which is somewhat misleading. It covers the lifetime of the pads themselves - not for as long as I own the vehicle or my lifetime. Meaning if the pads should crack or fail before they’re worn out completely, simply bring them in and get new ones. I’ve read that people are using their second set to cheat the system by buying new ones and returning the old set for warranty replacement. I say that’s just wrong but it does lend credence to the other meaning of “lifetime.”
Initially, my wife was so worried that she was eating into her rotors because of a metal grinding noise she was hearing. Once I pulled the tires n’ wheels off, it took two 9/16” bolts (each side) to remove the caliper housings. Removing the brake pads was simple because they’re held in place by two metal clips on either end. After inspecting the pads, the metal grinding noise was coming from the metal backing plate on one of the pads had worn off and the piston pushing that pad toward the rotor was causing the backing to wear faster than normal. Crisis averted because the rotors were just fine.
Once the calipers were removed from the brake assembly, I used a large C-Clamp and an old brake pad to push the piston back into the caliper body in order to get both new pads into place due to the difference in thickness.
After applying a bit of the Bosch “pressure” lube on the back side of the brake pads and the face of the piston, I put everything back together and installed the wheels n’ tires.
PLEASE NOTE: Once the pads are replaced, you need to pump the brake pedal a few times in order for the pressure to build back up. If you drive off without doing this, you may not have your brakes when you need them and cause an accident.
Next I took the Liberty for a few laps around our neighborhood. I softly applied the brakes periodically to help wear them in properly. I noticed the stopping power right away. I felt as if the new pads were doing a great job of stopping the vehicle. My wife reports that the new pads give her a sense of security and that the metal grinding noise was gone so she could relax about that issue. She also reports that high-speed highway driving is no longer an issue while stopping the car. In the weeks and days after these pads were installed, there have been no braking issues whatsoever and I will update this review if anything changes. I changed them at about 62,000 miles, so when they wear out, I'll note how many miles we got out of them. So far, these pads are working out really well. So much so, that I have purchased a set of these ProStop pads for my GMC Envoy.
I've rebuilt and restored vehicles before but, oddly enough, this was my first brake job. I mention this because you should consider doing them yourself and save all that money. Today’s front disc brakes are really not brain surgery to replace. The rear pads might be a bit more work and drum brakes are better left to the professionals if you’ve never tackled those before. And you can always take your rotors to a machine shop or brake place to get resurfaced if need be.
In the end, I saved $130 and that gives me a great sense of accomplishment and a bright glimmer in my wife’s eyes. After all, if momma’s happy - everyone’s happy.