Understanding The Differences Between Brake Pad Types

So you've been driving your car a little more aggressively than usual and your car is giving you signs that it's time to change your brake pads? Great idea, however you'll want to make sure your next brake pads perform better and last a little longer than previously, so where should you start? The first decision you'll have to make is what type of brake pad is best for you. There are three main materials used for brake pads, and this article is intended to help those of you unfamiliar with automotive jargon catch up to speed. 

Organic Pads

Organic brake pads are usually the cheapest option on the market as they're made from materials that are very cheap to acquire. Typically, organic pads are made of different fibers that have been mixed with fillers and resins to hold the matrix together. They're usually very 'light' on the brake rotor, and as such they don't make a lot of noise when braking. Although they are light in character, they most definitely aren't light in performance; organic brake pads generate friction at low temperatures, and as such they are very safe for most environments. 

The drawback with organic brake pads is their limited temperature range. Once the maximum operating temperature is surpassed, their coefficient of friction falls drastically which can cause the pads to burn up. Of course, each pad will perform differently, however organic brake pads typically require regular maintenance or replacement compared to other types. 

Semi-metallic Pads

Semi-metallic pads are usually a combination of synthetic resins and other materials such as steel wool and copper. Like organic pads, they're mixed with fillers and make of use lubricants such as graphite. Typically, semi-metallic brake pads are found in high-performance vehicles that are on the upper side of the car market. Their main advantage over organic pads if their high maximum operating temperatures, meaning they are suitable for sports cars and other vehicles that demand high performance. 

Although they out-perform organic pads in all areas, semi-metallic brake pads don't cost significantly more and remain a feasible option for many car owners who want to invest in their brake pads. They're also very durable, meaning they require little maintenance and won't need replacing very often. Due to their high maximum operating temperatures, the issue of warping commonly seen in other brake pads is virtually non-existent. 

The main drawback of semi-metallic brake pads is their abrasiveness, which may cause brake rotors to disintegrate quickly if proper lubrication is not included. Moreover, they're much noisier than organic pads due to their hard material and can oftentimes be guilty of 'squealing' at high speeds. 

Ceramic Pads

Ceramic brake pads are created from ceramic fibers, fillers and bonding agents to hold everything together. They're much quieter than semi-metallic or organic brake pads and also create very little dust as a byproduct. Ceramic brake pads are great for extremely high temperatures, recovering quickly from aggressive use without damaging the rotor very much at all. Due to this, they have extremely long design lives and maintain their high levels of performance from start to finish. 

The main sticking point with ceramic pads is undoubtedly their cost. Compared to organic and semi-metallic models they are very expensive, and aren't suitable for all vehicles. As with anything, it's a case of trading off. Are you willing to pay over the odds for less noise and longevity? If the answer is yes, then brake mads may be perfect for you. 

Before making your decision, you should shop around and try to find the best deal on the market for your brake pads. If you're still not sure which ones to go for, seek the help of a professional mechanic who will be able to assist you in choosing the correct pads for your needs. Go to site for more information.