It takes very little talent to drive fast in any car. All you need to do is mash the accelerator to the floor and watch the speedometer climb. The opposite can be said about stopping, especially with worn out brake pads. Braking distance, or the length between the moment you press the brake pedal and the car comes to a halt, will dramatically increase when you drive with worn out brake pads. Every inch of braking distance counts, so keeping your car’s brake pads healthy is very important.
How Do Brake Pads Work?
Essential to stopping your vehicle is the disk brake assembly consisting of the Brake Rotor and Brake Caliper which contains the Piston and Brake Pad. As you begin to brake, the piston presses the brake pads against the brake rotors converting the forward motion into heat effectively slowing the vehicle.
What Are Brake Pads Made Of?
Typically our cars are equipped with Organic Brake Pads or Non-asbestos Organic Brake Pads. As its name implies, these brake pads are made of natural materials like glass, rubber with heat resistant resins, and at times kevlar. Organic Brake Pads are better for the environment, but wear out faster because of their soft composition. Also, Organic Brake Pads’ performance fade when they get wet.
Semi Metallic Brake Pads are made up of iron, copper, and steel combined with a graphite lubricant. These brake pads perform better than Organic Brake Pads, but are more expensive and noisier.
High performance vehicles need high performance stopping power. Ceramic Brake Pads offer stronger braking performance, are lightweight, and take longer to wear out. Typically equipped on supercars and race cars, ceramic brake pads have proven their worth on and off the track. The downside to Ceramic Brake Pads are their price.
How Do You Choose the Best Brake Pads?
Choosing the correct brake pads are essential to the health of your whole braking system and your safety. Purchasing the most expensive brake pads doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best fit for your car. Have a professional brake specialist inspect your brakes, but it helps if you educate yourself a little bit on the topic.
What are you using your vehicle for?
Are you going to be doing high speed driving, towing heavy trailers, or will you be mainly driving in the city? Stopping ability is greatly affected by certain factors such as weight and frequency of braking. Getting a lower-end brake pad will increase its wear if you mismatch its application.
Consider aftermarket over OEM
There is a wide selection of aftermarket brake pads that perform better than OEM. Based on your application, perhaps purchasing and installing aftermarket brake pads is better for you. Manufacturers pair OEM equipment to their models for their ideal use, which might not be what you’ll use the vehicle for.
Is it properly tested?
The main function of your brake pads are to effectively stop your forward motion. There are agencies like the Brake Effectiveness Evaluation Procedures (BEEP) that certify that the brake pads installed in your vehicle are up to standard.
Has it proven itself?
Brands that have a long history in making brakes have the advantage of development through the years. Buying branded brake pads may be pricier, but at least you’ll have the peace of mind when the time comes to suddenly stop.