Duralast Brake Pads Review: Stopping Power Drivers Can Trust

When it’s time to replace your brake pads, you want an affordable upgrade that will give you reliable braking performance. Duralast brake pads offer compelling benefits that make them a top choice for many drivers.

In this in-depth review, we’ll examine Duralast brake pads closely so you can determine if they are the right option for your vehicle.

Overview of Duralast Brake Pad Models

Duralast brake pads are manufactured by AutoZone under their flagship brand. They offer three main product lines to suit different needs:

Duralast Brake Pads

The entry-level Duralast line provides basic improvements over OEM pads. They feature powder coated plates and 2-layer shims for light duty applications.

Duralast Gold Brake Pads

The mid-range Duralast Gold offering utilizes a ceramic pad compound and 3-layer shims to further reduce noise. They are designed as a direct OEM pad replacement.

Duralast Max Brake Pads

The top tier Duralast Max pads are made for trucks, SUVs and heavy braking needs. They come in both ceramic and semi-metallic versions to provide maximum durability and heat resistance.

Within each line, Duralast offers a range of pad types, sizes, and compounds to fit most vehicles.

Key Benefits of Duralast Brake Pads

Duralast brake pads provide a number of worthwhile benefits that make them a great choice for most drivers:

  • Strong Stopping Power – All Duralast brake pad models are engineered to meet or surpass the braking performance of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) pads. Shorter stopping distances, responsive pedal feel, and aggressive bite give you the stopping power you need.
  • Low Noise – Duralast utilizes multiple layered shims and specialized friction compounds to significantly reduce noise compared to factory pads. The result is quiet braking operation without annoying squeals or squeaks.
  • Minimal Dust – Duralast pads produce very little visible brake dust compared to many aftermarket options. Less dust keeps your wheels cleaner looking and reduces cleanup.
  • Corrosion Resistance – Powder coated backing plates help resist corrosion, rust, and damage from moisture. Duralast pads hold up well in wet weather driving conditions.
  • High Heat Tolerance – Duralast’s patented Thermal Scorching process ensures the pads can withstand repeated heavy braking without fading or losing effectiveness. Equal performance in cold and hot climates.
  • Easy Installation – All Duralast brake pads are engineered as direct fit replacements for worn OEM pads. No brake system modifications needed for installation on most vehicles.

With advantages like these, Duralast brake pads offer better braking power, comfort, and longevity compared to worn stock pads for the majority of everyday driving. Drivers will feel the difference.

The Drawbacks

Here are some potential drawbacks or cons to consider with Duralast brake pads:

  • Not for high performance vehicles – Duralast pads are designed for regular street use. For track days or aggressive driving, higher end pads may handle heat and extreme use better.
  • Dust may be an issue for some – While Duralast pads produce less dust than many aftermarket brands, they still may create more dust than top-tier ceramic pads.
  • Noise complaints on some models – A small percentage of users report squeaks or squeals with certain Duralast pads, requiring re-lubrication or fixes.
  • Durability issues under heavy towing/hauling – The pads may wear faster than expected for frequent towing or hauling heavy loads. Other brands offer robust towing-grade pads.
  • Limited extreme weather formulations – Duralast has fewer specialized compounds optimized for extreme cold or severe winters compared to brands like Akebono.
  • Not compatible with all vehicles – Some makes and models have fitment issues with Duralast pads, so check for compatibility before purchase.
  • Can be hard on rotors – The pads may wear rotor surfaces faster than OEM pads in some instances. Prone to rotor grooving.

While minor for most drivers, these potential shortcomings are worth noting for those with specific needs or concerns.

Duralast vs. Other Brake Pad Brands

How do Duralast brake pads compare against competing brands? Here’s a overview:

BrandPrice RangePerformance
Duralast$40-$60Excellent for daily driving
Akebono$50-$120Ultra-quiet operation
Bosch$40-$80Wide vehicle application
Wagner$25-$60Budget oriented
Raybestos$20-$50Known for commercial vehicles
Hawk$90-$200Track and enthusiast focus
EBC$60-$150High performance compounds

While not the cheapest, Duralast competes well on performance given their affordable pricing. They offer more value than most competitors for everyday use.

Step-By-Step DIY Installation of Duralast Brake Pads

Installing Duralast brake pads yourself rather than paying a mechanic can save you significant money in labor costs. Here are detailed steps for DIY brake pad replacement:

  1. Use sturdy jack stands and wheel chocks to lift and secure the vehicle safely. Never rely on a jack alone when working under a car.
  2. Thoroughly review the brake pad replacement procedure in your vehicle’s service manual. Pay attention to model-specific steps.
  3. Ensure you have all necessary tools – socket wrench, C-clamp, brake lubricant, brake cleaner, torque wrench, etc.
  4. Remove the wheel to access the brake caliper area. Locate the caliper bracket bolts.
  5. Use a socket wrench to unbolt and detach the bracket so the caliper can pivot out of the way for pad access.
  6. Spray away dirt and debris from the caliper area using brake cleaner spray. Inspect pads and rotors.
  7. Use a C-clamp to press in the caliper piston. This pushes it back into the housing to provide the needed clearance for the thicker replacement pads.
  8. With piston compressed, slide out the old pads from the caliper and discard. Install the new Duralast pads in place.
  9. Apply fresh brake lubricant paste to the new pad contact points before reinstalling the caliper bracket.
  10. Reverse the process to reattach the caliper bracket using proper torque specs. Repeat steps for the other wheels.
  11. Pump the brake pedal several times to reset the pistons before test driving. Bed in the new pads with gradual break-in braking.

With the right preparation and care, Duralast brake pads can typically be swapped front-to-back in well under an hour after you’ve done it once or twice. Proper DIY installation will save you money while ensuring pad longevity.

When to Consider Alternatives to Duralast Pads

While Duralast brake pads are a great solution for most everyday drivers, there are some specialized cases where you may want to consider alternative brake pad brands:

Performance and Track Driving

If you frequently drive your sports car or tuner at the track or autocross, you’ll want pads that can handle intense heat and extreme demands. Brands like Hawk, EBC, Carbotech, and Akebono offer track-focused pads with specialized compounds and designs for maximum grip, bite, and fade resistance when braking hard lap after lap. The extra performance comes at a price, but serious drivers find the investment worthwhile.

Frequent Towing and Heavy Loads

Brake pads are put to the test when you routinely haul heavy trailers and payloads. The substantial added weight when towing puts more strain on your brakes, requiring pads that resist brake fade over long grades and downhill stretches. For trucks that tow boats, RVs, horse trailers, or work equipment, look to reinforced towing-grade pads from brands like PowerStop and Bosch. Their robust construction and friction formulas better handle repeated heavy braking under load.

Off-Road and 4WD Environments

When driving off-road through mud, sand, and water, having pads designed to withstand debris, clean themselves quickly, and shed water are a big advantage. For muddy, wet off-road use, specialized pads like the Wagner ThermoQuiet OEX Series have an edge. Their OE-matched shape prevents clogging while the grooves and chamfers easily eject small pebbles and sediment naturally through normal braking. Added water diversion features keep pads drier for responsive performance in wet, dirty conditions.

Specific Vehicle Fitment Limitations

While minor, a small number of makes and models can have compatibility issues or limited fitment with Duralast brake pads. This typically only occurs with some less common domestic or import vehicles. Check online or call support to verify your specific vehicle has full pad clearance and hardware support before purchase. In rare fitment cases, a different brand may be the wiser option.

In scenarios like these where braking demands are more severe or specialized, paying extra for pads engineered for the task can pay off.

Our Verdict on Duralast Brake Pads

After thoroughly evaluating Duralast brake pads, weighing their pros and cons, and comparing them to competitors, we’ve reached a definitive verdict. For most everyday drivers without highly specialized needs, Duralast brake pads are one of the best all-around options available.

Duralast pads offer an unbeatable balance of performance, durability, comfort, and value. While not made for race tracks or big rigs, they provide more than enough stopping power for daily commutes and routine driving. Duralast clearly engineers their pads to outperform worn OEM pads in every way – from bite and pedal feel to noise and longevity. And at a very wallet-friendly price point to boot.

Although brands like Akebono and Bosch also produce quality pads, Duralast pads deliver similar friction and wear resistance for a much lower price point. Considering that the vast majority of drivers don’t push their vehicles to the limits regularly, paying extra for ultra-performance pads seldom makes sense.

For your average sedan, crossover, or light pickup, Duralast pads will supply everything you need in terms of dependable, confident braking. We highly recommend Duralast as a safe, affordable brake upgrade.

FAQs About Duralast Brake Pads

Do Duralast pads include hardware?

Most Duralast pad kits include brake hardware like shims, clips, and lubricant needed for installation. Some budget value line kits may require reuse of existing hardware.

What’s better, ceramic or semi-metallic pads?

Ceramic pads run cleaner and quieter while semi-metallic pads offer more cold weather braking power but create more dust. Pick what fits your climate and driving needs.

Will I void my warranty with Duralast pads?

In most cases no – aftermarket pads will not void a factory new car warranty unless you modify other brake components like calipers.

Can I return Duralast pads if I don’t like them?

Yes, AutoZone allows returns of unused Duralast brake parts within 90 days of purchase if you find performance unsatisfactory.

Where can I get the best deal on Duralast pads?

Your best price will come from AutoZone directly, either in-store with coupons or online with promo codes and store pickup. Amazon also sells some Duralast pads.


When it comes time to replace your worn out brake pads, look no further than Duralast. Their brake pads offer an affordable and dependable option for safe braking performance. Backed by quality materials and engineering, Duralast pads provide strong stopping power, quiet operation, and long service life.

For most everyday drivers without extreme needs, Duralast pads offer unbeatable value and performance. Their ease of installation also makes them a great choice for DIYers doing their own brake work. If you want safe, smooth, responsive braking you can count on, upgrade to Duralast brake pads.

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