Brake pads are an important part of the braking system and play a significant role in driving safety, so they, like brake fluid, should be chosen carefully.
The car market is overflowing with various options that the car owner can choose based on the needs and capabilities, and such an abundance causes many difficulties.
Every time when you decide to buy new brake pads many questions immediately arise in your head: how to choose the best pads? which company is better? when you should replace the pads? and the like. To help you facilitate such a difficult choice, we have written this buying guide.
Types of brake pads
In general, all brake pads are manufactured from friction material and metal plates. The friction mixture can include more than 10 different components. As a reinforcing component, an asbestos substitute is used, and the composition also contains oxides of various metals and graphite dust, bound together by a high-temperature resin. Metals and their quantity determine the coefficient of friction, and graphite is needed to prevent the pad from sticking to the disc. Depending on the constituent components and their proportional ratio, brake pads are divided into 4 main types:
- Semi-metallic pads are composed of up to 65% of metal, both black and non-ferrous, mixed with graphite and inorganic fillers. Such brake pads dissipate heat well, but due to their hardness, they expose the brake disc to a greater extent, therefore they are distinguished by increased noise and not optimal performance at low temperatures.
- Low metal pads can contain no more than 30% steel or copper, and the main component is organic materials.
- Organic pads are made from organic materials such as glass, carbon, kevlar, and no more than 15% metal. They are much softer, wear out faster, and the dust that forms during this can clog the holes of the ventilated discs; when driving aggressively, it is better not to use them, but they are distinguished by quiet operation and a quick grip of initial braking.
- Ceramic brake pads are the most expensive but have the best performance in extreme driving. Following from their name, one can immediately understand that their component is ceramic fibers, and also, as a filler, there are non-ferrous metals or synthetic rubber. The ceramic pad provides a stable coefficient of friction (as opposed to semi-metallic, in which it changes depending on temperature). They wear out less intensively and do less wear on the brake disc. These brake pads will be the best choice for aggressive urban use.
All manufacturers have their own special technology for the manufacture of brake pads and rotors, and depending on the requirements and purpose, use their own components, of which there can be about three hundred types, according to pagegarage.com.
Technical specs of the brake pads
First of all, brake pads are characterized by an operating temperature, and if you do not have a racing car, then you do not need to take too expensive for moderately fast driving and regular city traffic. Pads that can withstand temperatures of 300 – 350 °C are enough for you. At the same time, the brakes of sports cars have pads capable of withstanding up to 900 °C, and their normal operation begins only after warming up more than 100 degrees. That is, in urban driving conditions such expensive brakes are practically useless, since only on a hot one they have a friction coefficient of at least 0.5 units, and at an operating temperature of 150 degrees, only 0.2 units, although the standard indicators of original pads, which are quite enough for normal use, ranges from 0.3 to 0.5.
When you decide to choose brake pads according to the required technical characteristics, then look at the wear rate, because if they are too soft, then such pads will need to be changed more often, and too hard can quickly erase the brake disc, as a result, even vibration may occur when braking.
Basic rules when choosing the brake pads
3 basic rules for choosing pads:
- in order to avoid the occurrence of extraneous sounds after replacement, select pads of the same brand/series and/or according to the composition of the mixture together with brake discs;
- buy brake pads in the first two quality categories;
- the decision must be made taking into account the driving style and operating conditions.
Which brake pads are best
To begin with, it is worth remembering that cheap is never good.
You should not buy pads, the cost of which is much lower than the average price in car dealerships, such a tempting price may just indicate that cheap friction mixtures were used for their production, which are not able to ensure efficient operation.
Which brake pads are better to choose is a rather rhetorical question if it concerns the choice of a specific brand of the manufacturer, because, as we have already figured out earlier, there are many dependencies of the task of selecting the most optimal option.
Which brand does the best brake pads?
The list of quality pad manufacturers is impressive. Let’s name at least the most famous ones: Ferodo, Brembo, Jurid, PAGID, Textar, ATE, Bendix, Remsa, Bosch, Lockheed. For cars from the Land of the Rising Sun, this list will have a slightly different look. For example, OE suppliers of brake pads for Mazda cars are such manufacturers as ATE, AKEBONO, ADVICS, NISSHIMBO, TEXTAR.
Brembo, which supplies pads to the assembly lines of Ferrari and Maserati, simply doesn’t make pads.
Ferodo and EBC belong to the same category of sports brake pad manufacturers.
Two more companies are worth mentioning – Textar and PAGID. Both belong to the same concern and the pads of the aforementioned brands are produced at the same production facilities. But the first is delivered to the shelves of car dealerships, and the second belongs to the premium segment and is supplied to conveyors for installation on Porsche Cayenne, AUDI Q7, and other cars.
Lucas and TRW pads are designed for everyday use in the city, the requirements for their performance are quite modest.
Remsa is a division of the TRW Group. The democratic price of pads and discs is successfully combined with high performance.
You should not save on the braking system of your car and it is better to give preference to the quality that suits your car’s safety.
It is better to refrain from buying inexpensive brake pads, the cost of which is much lower than the average price in car dealerships. The low price often indicates that during the production of pads, cheap components were added to the friction mixture, which could not ensure efficient operation.