The Ultimate Brake Pads Buying Guide

How To Choose The Right Brake Pads?

One of the most crucial components of the braking system is the brake pads. They are your best companions that make a difference between a collision and a close call when such a situation arises. Brake pads are never meant to last forever as they face constant wear when you apply the brakes. Thus, it becomes important to realize when to replace them, what to replace them with, and how to analyze their current condition.

We will take you through the complete guide for buying new brake pads for your vehicle and help you make the right decision in an effort to keep you and your loved ones always safe on the road.

Which Type Of Brake Pads Should I Choose?

Depending on the composition and materials used, there are four major types of brake pads available in the market. These differ in performance, price, durability, lifespan, and construction. Each is suited for different driving conditions and has its own perks, so selecting the correct one is crucial. Before checking which one is right for your vehicle, let us first understand each one in detail.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

These are also referred to as Metallic brake pads as they contain a considerable amount of metal - 30 to 70%, along with a variety of different elements like steel wool, copper, graphite, iron, etc. Semi-metallic type of brake pads are most commonly found in commercial vehicles due to their effective braking capabilities. Metallic brake pads are quite wear-resistant and so are able to last a long time. These types of brake pads are ideal for heavy-duty vehicles that carry loads and require long-lasting performance. 

While being cheaper than most other alternatives, metallic brake pads also last longer than organic pads and also have good heat dissipation. However, they are harder on the brake rotors, create a lot of dust, lack performance when the temperature drops and are heavier than most counterparts. Therefore they are not ideal for people who face cold temperatures regularly or require extremely high performance. 

Pros - Exceptional Stopping Power, Durability, and Heat Dissipation

Cons - Noisy, Can Cause Early Rotor Damage, Less Effective in Cold Weather

Key Attributes: 

  • Perfect for heavy-duty vehicles, pickup trucks, and other workhorses
  • Cost-effective replacements
  • Long-lasting performance

Ceramic Brake Pads

Ceramic materials are able to dissipate heat very well and are more wear-resistant meaning they last longer and the dust produced is minimal which are all ideal characteristics for a brake pad. They are also lighter than most other types of brake pads of similar size. All these benefits come at a very premium price and are mostly suitable for high-performance and sports vehicles. 

Pros - Stopping Power, Quiet Operation, Less Brake Dust, Long Life Span, Low Rotor Wear, Work Well in All Weather Conditions

Cons - Expensive 

Key Attributes:

  • Perfect for sports and high-performance vehicles
  • Best upgrade brake pads 
  • Good overall performance

Non-Asbestos Organic Brake Pads

Non-Asbestos Organic or NAO brake pads are made using organic materials and were designed to diminish pollutants generated from the wear-off materials due to friction of the brake pads. Resin-bonded organic brake pads are designed with pollution considerations in mind and deliver on that concern. Modern organic brake pads are made of natural materials like glass and rubber and some are made of Kevlar. These materials do not pollute as they wear and are easy to dispose of. The main drawback is that since they are made of softer organic materials they wear faster and cannot be used in performance and heavy-duty applications. These brake pads are meant for use in smaller sedans and compact vehicles that face mild weather and on-road conditions. 

Pros - Minimal Rotor Wear, Quiet Operation, Mild On Brake Discs

Cons - Fast Wearing, More Brake Dust, Shorter Lifespan 

Key Attributes:

  • Ideal for compact vehicles 
  • The noiseless operation provides a comfortable drive
  • Affordable replacements 

What Type Of Brake Pads Is Right For My Vehicle?

Now that you know the different types of brake pads available in the market, we are in the right direction. Depending on the vehicle you drive, the right type of brake pads must be installed so as to provide maximum braking and safety to you and your ride.

The very first step to choosing the right set of brake pads is to determine what’s already installed on your ride. If you have OEM brake pads and you are replacing them for the first time, this inspection will save you a lot of time. Also, in case you have some aftermarket brake pads installed on your vehicle that has performed remarkably well for your vehicle, you can simply replace them with a set of new ones.

Depending on the type of vehicle, we recommend the following configuration of brake pads that should best suit your ride. However, there are many other factors to be considered that will be discussed in the next section.

A. Sedans Or Compact Cars

For hatchbacks, small sedans, and other compact cars, organic and semi-metallic brake pads are suitable for the performance they provide. Choosing between the two is more dependent on your requirements. If you want a longer lifespan then semi-metallic is better, whereas organic is more suited for people who want quieter operations and have light usage.  

B. Mid-Size Car

The ideal choice for mid-sized vehicles is semi-metallic brake pads. These provide ample performance while being cost-effective. However, if you require more performance or face harsh weather conditions then ceramic brake pads are a better fit. 

C. Sports Or Performance Vehicles

Many of the modern sport sedans and coupes vehicles come factory equipped with ceramic brake pads since these provide the best balance of performance and service life. The only drawback to ceramic brake pads is their high price and lackluster winter performance. For high-performance vehicles like track racers, sintered brake pads are a good choice as they work well in most weather conditions, able to withstand high temperatures, and have exceptional wear resistance making them ideal for thrashing around. 

D. Heavy-Duty Vehicle, SUV, Or Pickup Truck

More weight and load capacity demand greater stopping power. Heavy-duty metallic pads are the best option as they provide maximum stopping power. These vehicles usually require pads that can easily handle high temperatures and rough use. 

What Factors Should Affect My Brake Pads Purchase?

From the type of vehicle to the way you drive, there are numerous variables that affect the choice of the right brake pads for your vehicle. Thus, it is advisable to evaluate all the factors and choose the correct product for the car.



Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, the best brake pad for you will vary. Refer to this section for more information. 



Most brake pads bode well in hot and dry conditions but wet and cold performance is not provided by all types. Metallic brake pads perform well in hot, wet, and mildly cold weather but are not suited for freezing temperatures. Ceramic brake pads have a larger operating temperature range but you may have trouble getting them to temp before they are effective.



Do you drive mostly in city traffic or travel more on highways? City commute requires quick and frequent stops which can be achieved with low-metallic NAO brake pads. If you drive mostly on highways then stopping from greater speeds will require robust pads and superior brake performance which can be achieved with the likes of semi-metallic or ceramic brake pads.


Towing Or Hauling

Heavy-duty vehicles used for hauling goods or towing require immense stopping power that can be provided with severe duty metallic or sintered brake pads. Such pads are able to withstand the large braking forces while providing long service life. 



If noise is a concern then organic and ceramic brake pads can be used as they create minimal noise. Organic brake pads can be availed at a much lower cost compared to ceramic but you need to consider the performance limitations as well with organic pads.


Brake Dust

Brake dust may be a source of pollution in some types of brake pads. Although, most modern brake pads use environmentally friendly materials that do not have adverse effects. However, brake dust is still produced due to friction and wear which can deposit on the brake discs, wheels, and other suspension components. Ceramic brake pads produce the least brake dust. Organic and metallic brake pads produce a lot more brake dust compared to ceramic types.



Every manufacturer has different design and manufacturing processes that ultimately determine their performance and reliability. with so many manufacturers around, it can be hard to decide the technology of choice. The trick is sticking to trusted brands and tested products for the best technological prowess.



High-performance brake pads come with a higher price and offer the best of braking, durability, quietness, and longevity. The most expensive brake pads are ceramic pads. Sintered brake pads can also be expensive. Organic pads are the cheapest of the bunch and are affordable replacements for most vehicles. Semi-metallic brake pads lie somewhere between organic and ceramic pads.



As discussed earlier, the composition of the brake pads directly affects its performance. While metallic and semi-metallic pads offer excellent braking, durability, and longevity, they can be noisy and also generate more brake dust. Organic pads are eco-friendly and soft on rotors, but have less braking power and life span. Lastly, ceramic pads are powerful, silent, and a reliable combination but come at a higher price tag.

Which Popular Brand Brake Pads Should I Choose?

Raybestos Brake Pads

Raybestos has engineered the best-in-class brake pads for all your needs. Whether you are looking for dependable braking in daily situations or want superior braking power, Raybestos has a product for you.


          A. ELEMENT3™ Brake Pads

Part Numbers: PGD1029M, PGD1577MEHT1024, EHT412H, and more


  • Super-premium drake brake pads

  • Quiet operation and superior stopping power

  • Late-model coverage

  • Reduced noise and vibration


  • EHT (Enhanced Hybrid Technology) Material

  • Fusion of Ceramic and Semi-Metallic in one pad

  • The shim has five layers, including:

  • Clear epoxy coating

  • Two layers of cold-rolled steel

  • Modified nitrile rubber

  • Viscoelastic material

Brake Hardware

Depending on the application, you may find the following hardware in your EHT box:

  • Abutment Clips

  • Piston Clips

  • Spreader Springs

  • Anti-Rattle Clips


Ideal for professional driving and unrivaled stopping power.


          B. R-LINE Brake Pads

Part Numbers: MGD603M, MGD255M, and more


  • Premium Grade pads

  • Reduced noise and harshness

  • Better stopping power


  • Ceramic or Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

  • Premium layered steel shim

Brake Hardware

Depending on the application, you may find the following hardware in your EHT box:

  • Abutment Clips

  • Piston Clips

  • Spreader Springs

  • Anti-Rattle Clips


Ideal for everyday usage of various vehicles like cars, vans, SUVs, and light trucks.

          C. Specialty Brake Pads

Part Number: SP651TR, SP1185XPH, SP1668XPH, SP1001XP, and more


  • Made for special applications

  • Customized for specific vehicles

  • Premium grade technology

  • Reliable stopping power

  • Broad coverage and superior safety


  • Ceramic or Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

  • Premium layered steel shim

Brake Hardware

  • Rubber coated hardware included


  • Police Vehicles

  • School Buses

  • Class 1-8 Trucks, Medium Duty and Air Disc Vehicles 

For more information and detailed product lines, visit our Raybestos Brake Pad Section or have a look at the Raybestos Brake Pad Catalog.

Wagner Brake Pads

Wagner offers top-of-the-line braking solutions covering all the aspects of different types of vehicles, driving habits and physical conditions, and much more.


         A. Wagner OEX Brake Pads


Part Number: OEX1327, OEX1326, OEX1212, OEX784, and more


  • Designed for SUVs, CUVs, and Heavy Duty Trucks

  • Long-lasting quiet operation

  • Cooler operation

  • Corrosion-resistant material

  • Asymmetrical pad shape and five shim layer formulation

  • Premium stainless steel hardware

  • Wagner OE25™ zero-copper friction formulation

          B. Wagner OEX Car Brake Pads


Part Number: OEX1432, OEX1194, OEX1393, and more.


  • Designed for passenger cars

  • Long-lasting quiet operation

  • Corrosion-resistant material

  • Asymmetrical pad shape and five shim layer formulation

  • Premium stainless steel hardware

  • Wagner OE25™ zero-copper friction formulation


         C. Wagner TQ (ThermoQuiet) Brake Pads


Part Number: MX8, MX856, QC465A, QC537, PD1086 and more


  • Laser-shaped friction to spread out heat, sound, and vibration and reduce noise 

  • IMI™ technology integrating friction material, backing plate, and insulator into a single brake pad

  • Long-lasting friction performance and reduced brake fade

  • Reduced rotor wear, helping to cut down on brake dust

  • Premium stainless steel hardware

  • Wagner OE25™ zero-copper friction formulations

          D. Wagner QS (Quick Stop) Brake Pads


Part Number: ZD1210, ZD1212, ZX1012A, and more


  • OE fit and form design

  • Application-specific design for reduced noise vibration

  • Even Performance

  • Premium stainless steel hardware

  • Wagner OE25™ zero-copper friction formulations

          E. Wagner SD (SevereDuty) Brake Pads


Part Number: SX1411, SX1066, SX989, and more


  • Engineered for a vehicle driven in extreme conditions

  • The semi-metallic carbon-based friction material

  • Rigorous OE-style on-vehicle testing

  • OE-style shims, slots, and chamfers

  • Premium stainless steel hardware

  • Wagner OE25™ zero-copper friction formulations

For more information and detailed product lines, visit our Wagner Brake Pad Section or have a look at the Wagner Brake Pad Catalog.

Agna Brake Pads

Agna brake pads are formulated to provide the best levels of braking performance using their positive mold technology to always meet and exceed the OE industry standards and specifications.

  1. Ultra Stop Brake Pads


  • Engineered for price-conscious customers

  • Positive mold manufacturing

  • Consistent performance and braking

  1. Prologix Brake Pads


  • Blended, ceramic and semi-metallic pads

  • Durable and noise-free performance

  • Better pedal feel

  • Decreased brake dust

  • Multi-layer rubber shims

  1. Autologix Brake Pads


  • Multi formulation semi-metallic pads

  • Meets and exceeds OE standards

  • Noise-free performance

  • Safe and secure stopping ability

For more information and detailed product lines, visit our Agna Brake Pad Section.

Transit Warehouse Brake Pads

Transit Warehouse is one of the leading auto parts brands in Canada that produces quality vehicle brake parts. The company offers premium brake pads that find their presence in varied sub-brands of the company.

  1. TEC Ceramic Brake Pads


  • No dust, noise, and vibration

  • OE rubber shim technology

  • Increased thermal stability

  • Maximum brake pad retention

  • Non-porous smooth surface

  1. POSITIVE PLUS Ceramic Brake Pads


  • Advanced rubber shim technology

  • Reduced vibration and shim noise

  • Positive mold formulation

  • Angled canfers

  1. POSITIVE PLUS Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Part Number: PPF-D1326, PPF-D537, PPF-D1273 and more


  • Most versatile option in the market

  • Maximum stopping power

  • Low compressibility provides a firmer brake pedal feeling

  • The high thermal threshold which reduces fading

  • Superior heat dispersal

  • Best choice for heavy-duty applications and towing for trucks and SUVs

  1. SIM Brake Pads

Part Number: SIM-537, SIM-905, SIM-1044, and more


  • Semi-Metallic Integrated Molded

  • Perfect for performance vehicles

  • High thermal stability

  • Improved shim formation

  • Chamfered, slotted, or shimmed as per specifications

For more information and detailed product lines, visit our Transit Warehouse Brake Pad Section.

Akebono Brake Pads

Akebono has been in existence for more than 85 years in the automobile industry and has since pioneered in designing and manufacturing advanced braking solutions and noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) solutions. The company has always concentrated on innovation, process advancement, quality control measures, and customer satisfaction as its prime goal and has positioned itself as a key resource for OEM braking solution providers in the aftermarket. The influential OEM customers for Akebono include Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Part Numbers: ACT1544, ACT1086, ACT905, ACT1089, ACT1210, ACT1078

A. Akebono Pro-Act Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pads

These brake pads are designed to help minimize unwanted dust accumulation and provide consistent and smooth stopping capabilities in different driving conditions and even during panic stops.

Pro-Act Ultra-Premium Ceramic brake pads are designed to eliminate unwanted noise, vibrations, and harshness (NVH) and provide the ultimate braking experience. In addition to amazing braking performance, it provides initial effectiveness (no break-in required), high resistance to fade, consistent brake pedal feel, and ultra-low dusting for cleaner wheels and tires. This technology also minimizes the wear on brake rotors.

With the Akebono Pro-ACT Ultra-Premium product line, all customers get OE-quality replacements because Akebono is the Original Equipment Manufacturer for most popular domestic and Japanese vehicles today.


  • Eliminates noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH)
  • Vehicle-optimized superior performance
  • Unrivaled stopping power
  • Clean wheels
  • No break-in required
  • Rotor-friendly with prolonged rotor life
  • Perfect upgrade for all braking systems
  • Made in the USA

B. Akebono Euro Ultra-Premium Ceramic Brake Pads

Akebono Euro Ultra-premium Ceramic brake pads are designed to give maximum vehicle control and performance which is expected from manufacturers of European makes. These brake pads provide high braking power and extend the brake rotor's life and also reduce dust and dirt accumulation which can hinder braking performance.

These brake pads also reduce noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) and are a perfect replacement for semi-metallic and low-metallic brake pads.

By using highly advanced ceramic brake pad technology Akebono’s “EURO” pad line gives excellent stopping power and also extends rotor life and virtually eliminates brake dust.

Akebono is focused on the creation of value in all products. For more than two decades, Akebono Ceramic Technology (ACT) has been the original equipment (OE) standard on many of North America’s passenger cars, light trucks, and SUVs and has set a high benchmark for ceramic pads used in OE vehicle production. Interestingly, European OE manufacturers now request Akebono products for their North American vehicles.

Akebono’s Aftermarket disc pads contain the same materials, engineering, and maintain the same quality standards, and advanced technologies used to create their OE ceramic brake pads. This ensures the highest levels of customer satisfaction and eliminates unnecessary return visits to the shop.


  • Clean Wheels
  • Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) reduction
  • Extremely Rotor-Friendly for Longer Rotor Life
  • Increased Braking Performance with Enhanced Pedal Feel
  • Advanced upgrade from OE Semi-Metallic and Low-Metallic Brake Pads
  • Advanced Friction Formulas Modulated for European Vehicle

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?

Now that you have understood the various types of brake pads and the factors influencing the type of brake pads for your vehicle, it’s time to start analyzing your vehicle and determine if you really need to replace your car brake pads or not.

We already know that the life of the brake pads can vary depending on the type of vehicle, terrain, traffic, climate and the driving capabilities of an individual. But still a superficial norm suggests that any typical set of brake pads can easily last over 35,000 to 40,000 miles, before needing a replacement. Thus, the first step is to see how many miles your vehicle has already covered and is there any difference in braking capabilities of the car. This way you will be able to determine whether to check your brake pads and related components for further inspection.

What Are The Symptoms Of Worn Out Brake Pads?

The brake pads handle constant force and friction and wear every time we engage our brakes. They are designed to take all the beating and make the vehicle stop by applying the required frictional force on the rotors to stop the rotation of the wheels. Thus, one will start noticing specific symptoms that will indicate the time for the replacement of your vehicle brake pads. Always take these symptoms seriously, as you would not want to be in a vehicle whose braking system may fail anytime soon.

A. Squealing Or Screeching Noises

This is the first indication of worn-out brake pads that emerge each time you apply the brakes. This will sound like two metal bodies rubbing against each other producing that sound. Some brake pads have special metallic shim indicators embedded in them, just for this purpose. This alerts the driver that it’s time to get those old pads replaced immediately.

Note - Sometimes the same sound can get produced due to dirt and debris stuck between the rotor and the pads and should not be mistaken otherwise. Such sounds will usually disappear once cleaned or naturally as the dust wears off.

B. Thickness Of Brake Pads

Since the brake pads wear off physically with time, the thickness gradually keeps reducing and when it becomes about a quarter of an inch (approximately 3mm) thick, it's probably time to replace them.

C. Deep Metallic Grinding and Growling

If the brake pads have worn off and the disc brakes and brake calipers are making contact with each other, you will hear this deep grind or growl coming from the area. This is important to be addressed immediately as it can cause a complete braking system failure.

D. Brake Pedal Vibration

Sometimes the brake pedal or steering wheel vibrates when you slow down to a certain RPM or speed and these are a clear indication of a worn-out brake pad or brake rotor. Thus, immediate inspection is advised.

E. Indicator Lights

Some vehicles come with a low-pad warning system and have a special indicator light on the dashboard to tell when the time has come to replace the brake pads. This information is vital and helpful and saves a lot of time for the driver.  

How Much Does It Cost For New Brake Pads?

Once you have done all the inspections and determined that you need to replace your brake pads, it is the time to consider which brake pads to choose and at what price. Prices range variably and also vary from one brand to the other.

  • Brake pads under $30 There are many options in this price range and they offer the maximum value for money. Pads in this price range are of good quality, durability, and stopping power as there is a lot of competition in this price range among various brands offering entry-level brake pads.

  • Brake pads between $30-$60 Some of the best brake pads are offered in this middle price range that can suit 80% of the vehicles on the road. You can find semi-metallic, metallic, organic, and ceramic brake pads in this range, providing excellent performance, value, and wear resistance.

  • Brake pads over $60 These include brake pads made for heavy-duty trucks and aggressive vehicles. Most premium ceramic and advanced material brake pads can be found in this price range. They offer maximum wear resistance, durability, and performance.

Note that if you go for professional help, a typical garage will charge you extra for the services apart from the cost of the brake pads themselves. However, if you are to replace them yourself, you can save on such service costs.


Q) How Do Brake Pads Work?

Brake discs contain brake pads, brake caliper, and the brake rotor. When you press the brake pedal, the brake fluid gets passed through the brake caliper, which presses the pads to the rotors, thus resulting in friction and slowing or stopping of the vehicle.

Q) Can I Replace My Brake Pads Myself?
If you are well aware of using the basic automotive tools, changing the brake pads can be an easy job for you. But if you are not confident about the same, better leave it to an expert as these are vital parts for vehicle safety.

Q) How Can I Increase The Lifespan Of My Brake Pads?

  • Anticipate the braking distance early to avoid harsh stopping
  • Slow down before intersections and remain within speed limits
  • Anticipate traffic and slow down early to avoid unnecessary braking
  • Remove heavy and unneeded items from the vehicle
  • When replacing pads, always check for material and thickness
  • Always check for worn-out brake pads when you get the rotors

      Q) What Are The Benefits Of Installing New Brake Pads?

      • Increase in stopping power
      • Consistent braking performance
      • The longer life span of other brake components
      • Decreased brake dust and brake noise

      Raybestos Brake Pads - Part Number Catalog


      Part Numbers

      Raybestos Element3™ Brake Pads

      EHT1367AH, EHT1169AH, EHT1047BH, EHT1454AH, EHT1047AH, EHT1623AH, EHT1019AH, EHT1020AH, EHT1640AH, EHT967H, EHT1414H, EHT1602H, PGD1029M, PGD1130M, PGD1577M

      Raybestos R-Line Brake Pads

      MGD1273ACH, MGD1623ACH, MGD1454ACH, MGD1333AMH, MGD1187ACH, MGD1430ACH, MGD1057ACH, MGD1864ACH, MGD1047ACH, MGD1019AMH 

      Raybestos Specialty Truck, School Bus & Medium Duty Brake Rotors

      SP1084TRH, SP1680TRH, SP1399TRH, SP1334TRH, SP757TRH, SP1185XPH, SP1668XPH, SP912XP, SP1001XP  

      Raybestos Service Grade Brake Pads

      SGD1273AC, SGD1623AC, SGD1258AC, SGD1020AM, SGD1056AC, SGD1169AC, SGD1107AC, SGD1040AC, SGD1454AC, SGD1184AC

      Wagner Brake Pads - Part Number Catalog


      Part Numbers

      Wagner OEX Brake Pads

      OEX1327, OEX1326, OEX1212, OEX784, OEX1012A, OEX1904A, OEX1611B, OEX1649

      Wagner OEX Car Brake Pads

      OEX1432, OEX1194, OEX1393, OEX1033A, OEX1184A, OEX1001A, OEX1095A, OEX537

      Wagner TQ (ThermoQuiet) Brake Pads

      MX8, MX856, MX967A, MX369, QC465A, QC537, PD1086, QC1044, QC1326, QC923. QC1596, QC1327, QC537

      Wagner QS (Quick Stop) Brake Pads

      ZD1210, ZD1212, ZX1012A, ZX967A, ZD1326, ZD1391, ZD784ZD1114, ZD1284, ZX1400

      Wagner SD (SevereDuty) Brake Pads

      SX1411, SX1066, SX989, SX1400, SX989, SX1328, SX1399, SX965, SX1333A, SX1040A, SX1775, SX225

      Transit Warehouse Brake Pads - Part Number Catalog


      Part Numbers

      POSITIVE PLUS Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

      PPF-D1326, PPF-D537, PPF-D1273, PPF-D1596, PPF-D1543, PPF-D1544, PPF-D1044, PPF-D905, PPF-D1037, PPF-D465A, PPF-D967, PPF-D1284, PPF-D866, PPF-D1313

      SIM Brake Pads

      SIM-537, SIM-905, SIM-1044, SIM-1210, SIM-465A, SIM-1326, SIM-1095, SIM-815, SIM-1273, SIM-866, SIM-914, SIM-1037, SIM-1544, SIM-1543, SIM-1363

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      Mike Morrales
      Automotive Product Expert
      A super dork when it comes to new automotive tech. Part manufacturers are constantly making revolutionary product updates for their aftermarket line up. However, knowing what changes were made and how they could affect your day to day driving adventures is something our automotive product expert will definitely be chiming in on, stay tuned !.