When it is time to replace your brakes, you will need to decide what types of brake pads you are going to install. If you are like most people, you don’t know the difference between ceramic brake pads and semi-metallic brake pads. You also likely don’t know the difference between the two. The truth is they are very different. When it comes to brakes, there aren’t specific pads that will only work for specific cars. Choosing the best pads for you would depend on your driving style, the places that you usually drive, and your braking style. Two people can drive the same type of car, but they might need completely different brake pads. If you are trying to decide which is the best type of brake pad, you need to do your homework. Below is a list of pros and cons of the brake pads that you have to choose from. This should make it much easier to make a decision.
The Evolution of the Brake Pad
If you to choose the right brake pads, you first need to know a bit of the history behind them. During the 50’s and 60’s, disc brakes became the popular choice. When disc brakes first came out, they were mostly made of asbestos. Car manufacturers believed that this was the best material because it was extremely durable and it was heat resistant. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before the health and environmental hazards associated with asbestos were discovered and manufacturers stopped using it. When asbestos was deemed unsafe, manufacturers found newer, safer alternatives that were equally as effective.
Organic Brake Pads
After asbestos pads were outlawed, organic brake pads were introduced under the name, non-asbestos brake pads. These pads were held together with binding resins and they were made up of several types of fibers. Some of the most common fibers that you see in organic brake pads are Kevlar, rubber, glass, and carbon. Organic brake pads are often the least expensive because the tools and the materials used to make these pads are cheaper than that of the other types of brake pads. Organic brake pads are also the most commonly used. In the United States, 70 percent of the new cars produced are made with organic pads.
They are easy on the rotors and they offer a quiet, soft stop.
They don’t require too much heat to generate adequate friction.
They don’t produce as much dust as some of their counterparts.
They don’t cost much to make.
They perform well in many different environments.
They are the best option for vehicles that are driven daily.
The temperature range necessary to stop the vehicle is quite limited.
They were out faster than their counterparts.
The brake pad can feel mushy when pressed.
If they get overheated, they produce less friction.
If you are a performance driver, they aren’t the best option.
The name describes the brakes because they are made of 30 to 65 percent metal, typically steel, iron, and copper. They also contain fillers that are made up of a graphite lubricant and a material to modify the friction. Of all the pads available, semi-metallic are the most versatile. They are noisy and create a good deal of dust. If these things bother you, semi-metallic might not be the best pads for you. They last a long time and they are durable. Also, they draw heat from the motor, which helps the brakes cool down when necessary.
The performance is much better than organic pads.
They have a very high heat threshold due to their high metallic content.
Their operating temperature range is higher than other types of pads.
The brake pedal feels firm when pressed.
They are less likely to experience brake fade than organic pads.
Because there are so many compounds available, they are versatile. They are great for daily driving or extreme use on the track.
They are noisier than their counterparts.
They produce more dust than other types of pads.
They are abrasive, which means that they will wear down the rotors quickly.
They cost more than organic pads and less than ceramic.
They need to be bedded carefully and properly for proper performance.
Ceramic are the newest type of brake pads. They are made of the same type of ceramic that is used in sculptures that are fired in a kiln. They also include copper fibers. These pads were first introduced in the 80’s. This is before organic and metallic brakes were updated, and people thought that they created too much dust and noise so ceramic was the go-to pad. Of all the brake pad options available, they are easiest on the rotors.
They do make noise, but it at levels that humans cannot hear. They are also quieter than semi-metallic pads.
They produce dust but it is very fine and light, therefore, it won’t stick to the wheels.
They have a longer lifespan than their counterparts.
Regardless of the temperature, the performance remains consistent.
They are the most expensive option.
They don’t perform well in very cold climates.
They cannot absorb heat as well as semi-metallic which can increase the temperature of the entire braking system.
They aren’t good for heavy duty driving or racing.
Braking is a Compromise
Getting back to the original question, which pad is best for you? There is no right or wrong answer. Semi-metallic brake pads will work best for you if you want your car to give a clean, quiet stop, however, you should expect to sacrifice a bit on the braking performance If you want to stop quickly in extreme temperatures, you should be prepared to clean your wheels a few times a week.
Ceramic brakes will keep your wheels cleaner and they will stop quieter. They also provide a longer life. They are not great in the cold weather. They also need to be heated up adequately before they perform at their best. They also don’t stop as well as semi-metallic pads. If you are looking for a brake pad for extreme performance or racing, you should steer clear from ceramic. The heat in the pad cannot be absorbed and it is often retained in the rotors. This heats up the whole brake system.
Of the two options, semi-metallic is said to be the most versatile eve though the create more dust and noise. Their temperature threshold is higher than ceramic pads and they perform well in any temperature. If you are planning to drive up a mountain, on a race track, or if you are prone to road rage, you should choose semi-metallic pads. For driving around town or on the highways, ceramic is best. They offer the most stopping power, they are cleaner, and they last much longer.