A Complete Guide To Brake Pads

Definition of Brake Pads

Brake pads are one of the components of the braking system that functions to press the disc to reduce speed or stop the wheels of the vehicle. The friction material on the brake pads is in direct contact with the disc and gets compressive force from the brake caliper. At present, the material of brake pads used in motorized vehicles is increasingly diverse. The development of this material has been started since 1870 by using wood. Until now the use of ceramics is the latest.

Brake Pads


Materials and Types of Car Brake Pads

The following are the types of materials used on brake pads today.

1. Organic (Non-Metallic)

Organic matter is the softest material among others. In general, some standard materials are used in organic brake pads. They are various combinations of rubber, glass, carbon, resin, and many more. Due to the soft nature, this type of brake pads wear out in the shortest lifetime, but this material doesn’t damage the brake discs. Formerly this type of brake used asbestos which is harmful to health. The use of asbestos was stopped after this material was blamed for causing lung cancer. In addition, organic brake pads can leave residues inherent in the rims.

2. Semi-Metallic

Consists of synthetic organic material mixed with inorganic alloys. The metal material in the semi-metallic type has better resistance to heat. The combination of organic and metal is more flexible because manufacturers can choose which material is more dominant with a view to producing a different spectrum of brake pad specifications. If the use of metal material is more than 50% then the brake pads require greater braking force but have resistance to pressure and wear. The brake pads made of a combination of organic and metal materials are suitable for racing cars or high-performance cars.

3. Ceramic

The superiority of ceramic material is its excellent resistance to high temperatures because of its ability to absorb heat. Especially when the car is doing hard braking continuously. Because of these advantages, ceramic brake pads are not easy to fade and still provide a strong grip even though braking at high temperatures. In addition, ceramic brake pads do not cause noise and leave no residue.

Ceramic brake pads are commonly used in supercar or endurance racing cars. Even so, this type is not recommended for ordinary cars that are used daily. In addition to being expensive, ceramic brakes are also difficult to achieve optimal working temperatures when driving in urban traffic.

How Brake Pads and Rotors Work

Disc brakes are braking systems with a clamping method to reduce and stop the full rotation of a disc located on a vehicle’s wheels. The disc brake system is considered more simple and responsive. Only with a small cross-sectional surface area of the brake but the direction of the related friction force pressing each other, thus making the braking system more effective.

The principle of the brake system is the change of energy from kinetic to heat. This energy change occurs by swiping a rotating plane with a stationary plane. As a result, the rotating field will be slower and the temperature will increase. The friction of two planes on the disc brake is based on the clamping method. There are two fields, the rotating plane called the rotor and the stationary plane called the brake pads. In case the brakes are working, two brake pads will clamp the rotating rotors and the vehicle wheels will slow down or stop.

Ceramic Brake Pads: Advantages and Disadvantages

Ceramic disc brakes, also called carbon-fiber ceramic brake discs, offer you an advantage over steel brake discs in durability, fastness, weight, and reaction. The ceramic disk is very heat-resistant and 70% lighter: it can withstand extreme temperatures of 1600 degrees Celsius, it’s great because it’s about 2 times higher than the temperature of steel brake discs.

The advantages of ceramic brake discs compared to steel brake discs are excellent activity in cold and hot conditions, even from high speeds as a result of the constant coefficient of friction during deceleration, reduction in unraveling masses, better lifetime, and fantastic wet response.

The disadvantage of ceramic disc brakes is very costly and the fact that the entire edges of the ceramic brake discs at quite a high braking performance and crucial temperatures generated must be adjusted.

Sports cars which are equipped with ceramic brake pads:

  • Ferrari 360 CS
  • Ferrari Enzo
  • Porsche Boxster S
  • Porsche turbo
  • Mercedes-Benz SLR.

Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake or called (PCCB) brake system easily recognized as a yellowish brake caliper.

Worn and Replacement

Car brake pads are an important component and require special attention. Without a good condition of the brake pads, driving becomes uncomfortable and insecure. You not only need to focus on the quality value of the car brake pads used but also the age of use.

Car brake pads can worn so you need to remove and replace it. This happens because the brake pads stop the rotation of the wheels over time. Incorrect use of car brakes tends to speed up the car brake pads run out before the proper replacement time comes.

Worn brake pads will greatly influence the performance of the car and will endanger driving safety, especially at high speeds. Car brake pads that are not replaced immediately can cause damage to other parts of the car components such as:

  • The suspension system will work harder than before because it must stabilize the wheels that vibrate when braking.
  • The disc may be damaged
  • Power steering will work harder to reduce vibrations.
  • Damage to car tires.
  • Risks when driving on traffic jams and uphill routes.
If left unchecked it will cause the car to damage and you have to spend expensive service fees. So, it is important for you to know the condition of the pads and replace them when they are worn out.

Signs if your brake pads in bad condition

The following are some indications of worn-out brake pads that are important for you to know.

1. Its thickness decreases significantly

This sign has shows you clearly the condition of the brake pads. If the thickness decreases, you need to change it with a new one. To see the size of the car brake pads thickness is very easy. You can see it through the rim gap using a flashlight without the need to open the wheel. Generally, the brake pads should be changed if the thickness is 2.5 mm – 3 mm.

2. Dust powder

There is dust powder in the inner alloy wheels, especially in the braking system area. If this condition occurs, it will be better if you immediately replace your car’s brake pads.

3. Brake fluid is reduced

If your car’s brake pads start to wear out, there will be a decrease in brake fluid. You will see brake fluid seeping or dripping. The reason is not a leak but it happens due to the poor condition of the brake pads.

4. Squeaking noise when braking

It sounds quite disturbing when braking, like the sound of metal rubbing against each other continuously. If you hear that, it means that the pads are completely worn and only the metal parts are left, the iron rubbing against the disc. As a result, you will hear squeaking and uncomfortable sounds.

5. Vibrations when braking

Brake vibrations at high speeds are usually due to worn brake pads which cause the surface to become uneven. As a result, vibrations emerge from the car brakes. If the condition is getting worse, the vibration will reach the steering wheel.

6. The brake pad is getting deeper

The clearest and easiest sign to feel when you hit the brakes. If the brake pad is getting deeper and deeper than usual it means that the car’s brake pads have begun to erode.

How to Get the Proper Brake Pads and What Is The Best Brands?

The following are tips on how to select the brake pads according to your needs.
  • Know the hardness level of the brake pads you need. The higher the hardness, the less good it is to use. Brake pads that are too hard can cause fractions when used. So, choose brake pads that are not too hard or too soft.
  • If you often drive at high speeds then you can choose brake pads that can reduce temperatures, grip strength, and reduce speed quickly. In addition, other factors such as roads and climate conditions also affect the brake pads you will use. If you often drive on steep roads, you can choose brake pads that can extend the durability of the rotor and other components of the vehicle’s braking system.
  • It is highly recommended that you choose non-asbestos brake pads because the bond strength of the particles is quite strong. Brake pads that are classified as hard will not wear out quickly and be damaged. Your negligence in choosing brake pads can cause damage to the brakes and other losses, it can even cause accidents.
  • Make sure the brake pads you choose are genuine and high quality because there are so many fake brands on the market. So, don’t let you get fooled by fake expensive brands and you have to be careful when buying.
Here’s the best brake pads brand you can consider to buy:
  • Akebono
  • StopTech
  • Wagner ThermoQuiet
  • Bosch
  • ACDelco
  • EBC 7000 series
  • Power Stop Z36

How to Take Care of Brake Pads

Check the actual condition of the brake pad or shoe holder where this part is very susceptible to rust. If it is rusty, there will be a very annoying brake sound. Drain the brake fluid every 20,000 kilometers.
Perform regular maintenance of car brakes to clean the dirt between the canvas and discs or drum. Dirt is due to friction between the canvas and discs that remain on the two components.

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