If you are a car enthusiast, you probably know that there are different types of brake pads. If you aren’t, you may learn about them the next time you get a brake job done because your mechanic is going to ask “Hey, what kind of pads do you want.” Don’t fret if this is unchartered territory for you. In this article, we are going to review everything you need to know.
These are your standard brake pads. They are inexpensive ($10-$20,) perform well, but usually don’t last very long. A common complaint when non-metallic pads are used is that they “squeak” when new, and sometimes this squeaking is quite loud. Another complaint is that they tend to shed a lot of brake dust and make the wheel rims dirty. Frankly, if you have If you are going to keep your car for a while, you might want to spend the extra money and get better pads.
Semi-metallic pads are a mid-range option as far as cost ($20-$40) and durability. They are called semi-metallic because metallic threads are embedded in the pad friction surfaces. These metallic threads give semi-metallic pads very good longevity. Most new cars come with semi-metallic pads because they are a good mid-range option for average drivers.
Ceramic pads literally have ceramic materials imbedded in the pad friction surfaces. These glass-like substances are naturally heat resistant and provide more stopping power than the other types of pads. Ceramic pads are much more resistant to heat issues, so they are typically installed on sports and performance cars. Because this type of pad is a little more exotic, ceramic brake pads tend to be more expensive ($40-$80) than the other types.
Linear vs. progressive pads
Another concept you might want to get your hands around is linear vs progressive brake pads. It is doubtful that your mechanic will mention this subject but if you have a performance car, it’s a good thing to know.
Your standard semi-metallic pads are what is called a linear-style pad. This refers to the way they act and feel when braking. Our technical consultant at East Hills Chevrolet (Freeport, NY) explained this further. When you push on the brakes and your car has linear pads, very quickly you will get a decent amount of friction capable of stopping the car from normal speeds. If you want more, you push harder and your car slows down quicker. This is a normal brake feel and the whole process is predictable and, well, linear.
Many sports cars utilize progressive brake pads. This means they have a progressive feel to them, which means that there is very little ‘bite’ when you first touch the brakes. The idea is that as you apply more and more pressure, the stopping power comes on much quicker. Some drivers explain that progressive pads have more bite when they get hot.
Brands of progressive pads
There are a number of companies that make progressive pads. One of the most popular is EBC Brakes. They have been making pads since 1978. EBC’s RedStuff pads are for street use, their YellowStuff are for street/track use, and their BlueStuff are for pure track driving. Another company to look into is Brembo. Brembo is an Italian company that has been making brakes for over 50 years and they have several progressive style brake pads.
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