- How can I tell if I have a warped brake disc/rotor? Lately, I’ve been hearing some clanks and thumps when I hit the brakes and have noticed some quiver on the brake pedal. I’m not sure if this has something to do with the rotors.
A pulsating brake pedal and brake noise like the ones you described are common symptoms of a warped rotor/brake disc. Vibrations on the steering wheel can also be added in the list of symptoms. A warped rotor can cause premature brake pad failure because of the excessive stress or strain it places on the pad, as well as wear on the wheel hub assembly. Check the rotor for warpage, rust and corrosion, or other visible signs of damage. You can have the rotor turned or replaced as needed.
- I have a bad rotor, but I can only afford to replace the brake pads for now. Will this work? Or will this be a bad idea? I need to know.
The new brake pads won’t fix the problem at all. The pads can’t achieve their maximum braking performance. Pressed on a bad rotor, the pads will only be able to touch or make contact with the higher points on the surface. The deep grooves on the rotor can also break the pads. Other risks include increased heat and hot spots because of a rotor that fails to disperse or spread out the heat effectively.
- If I switch to cross-drilled rotors, do I have to use a special type of pads? Will the standard brake pads still work? Or should I just get a Ford brake disc and pad kit?
Any pad may be used on a cross-drilled rotor. However, switching to a high-performance rotor will only be put to waste if the brake pads can’t perform just as well as the rotor. It’s highly recommended that you instead get a set of brake disc and pads to enjoy better braking power and so you can maximize the benefits of high-performance brakes.
- Which would be a better option in terms of performance: cross-drilled or slotted rotors?
Cross-drilled rotors have a better cooling capacity (up to 40%). They can dissipate heat far greater than other types or designs of the brake disc. With cross-drilled rotors, there’ll be far less brake fade and more responsive braking (especially during wet road conditions or inclement weather) because of the more solid or firmer bite. Some, however, prefer the slotted rotors because of issues with cracking that are associated with the cross-drilled rotor design. The slotted discs can also disperse hot gasses, just not as well as the cross-drilled rotors. The design not only helps cool the rotors slightly but also lets water escape during wet conditions. They allow better contact or friction between the disc and the pad. If your focus is more on performance, and structural integrity is not your topmost priority, cross-drilled rotors are great options. But if you just want something that’s better than the standard rotors, slotted brake discs will do.
- Is it better to just get a brake disc and pad kit when upgrading the brakes? What are the benefits of getting a complete set instead of just using high-friction pads or switching to high-performance rotors?
To increase the braking power of the vehicle, more friction is needed. High-friction pads will generate more heat. The disc should be able to handle the higher temperature and pressure. That’s why the pads and discs should be matched. With a set of disc and pad that’s designed to work well together, improved braking performance can be achieved. This will also reduce the risk of wear and damage on the braking components.
- What will happen if the high-friction pads are not paired with the right discs?
The discs may not handle the heat or high temperature from increased friction. If the discs are not designed to match the requirements of the pads, then this can lead to the brake pads damaging the discs. Likely effects are cracking, surface crazing, and disc distortion.
- How can I choose the right type of brake pads? What are the advantages and downsides of using organic, semi-metallic, sintered, and ceramic brake pads?
The upside of using organic pads is that they’re softer and gentler on rotors. They don’t generate too much heat due to friction or make too much noise. They’re good to use when commuting in various types of road and environment. However, they tend to drop their coefficient of friction and burn quickly if they hit the max temperature. Sintered pads, on the other hand, have a more stable coefficient of friction in varying temperatures, from high to low. They don’t require warm-ups or tedious bed-in. Even under heavy-duty use, these pads won’t fade quickly. They are great to use on any type of environment or during any type of weather such as rain, snow, and mud. The downside is that they tend to transfer heat into calipers, increase wear on rotors, and make noise.
Semi-metallic brake pads can operate at much higher temperatures than organic types and don’t wear out quickly. They’re designed for heavy-duty use. But, some of the common issues with these pads are increased rotor wear, brake noise and dust, and limited cold bite. For ceramic brake pads, the benefits include minimal brake dust and noise. They’re more friendly to the rotors and they last longer. They also have a relatively higher temperature threshold. If you drive hard, however, ceramic pads may not be the perfect choice.