What is the Best Brake Pad Material?

From polishes and waxes, to filters and engine oil, choices are numerous and daunting when it comes to selecting the correct products for your car, truck, coupe or crossover. Options abound—and each alternative has its own set of unique attributes, promises, and technologies. But what is the best brake pad material?
Choosing the correct set of brake pads for your vehicle can be especially confusing. After all, brake pads are an important component used to help your vehicle do one of its most important jobs: stopping.
Not all brake pads are built the same. Each is created using an assortment of materials and processes that dictate their performance, noise levels, price, warranty, and ability to perform consistently and safely through their life. Longer brake pad life is a common purchase factor for many shoppers, since it saves you money.
The differences in brake pad material and construction can vary widely from one alternative to the next, but there are two common threads worth understanding.
First, brake pads are consumable. Like a pencil eraser, they wear out a little every time they’re used, until they need to be replaced.
Second, all brake pads consist of a layer of wearable ‘friction material’ that’s attached (often with glue) to a metal ‘backing plate’.
Imagine an Oreo cookie with the top piece removed: the solid cookie on the bottom is the backing plate, and the slightly smaller white layer of icing is the friction material.
In the same way that the filling of an Oreo may be plain, chocolate, or peanut butter, various recipes for brake pad friction material are possible, too. Some brake pads use ceramic friction material, and others use metallic or organic material instead.
What’s the best brake pad material? That depends on the application.
Ceramic brake pads may work better under daily driving, operate more quietly, and better withstand heat—though they tend to be pricier.
Metallic brake pads may perform better and cost less, though they bite harder and may be louder during use.
Organic brake pads tend to be effective, quiet, and less expensive– but they may result in a ‘spongy’ brake pedal feel, and they tend to need more frequent replacement.
Friction material aside, the thing that is most important is to ask for Galvanized Brake Pads. Here’s why:
Most brake pads do have one serious flaw that limits their lifespan—and it has to do with the backing plate

Brake pads are consumables that are vital to the braking system. Just like brake fluid, they are often overlooked, and the consequences can be disastrous.
The brake pads have the role of gripping the brake discs to reduce their velocity. They are placed in brake calipers, and the parts that push the brake pads on the discs are called pistons. Just like other consumables, brake pads suffer from wear, and they need to be replaced before they go below a minimum level.
In the case of brake pads, their wear is measured by the thickness of the layer of friction material. That material is what helps a brake disc slow down and stop whenever the brakes are used, but also when traction control or ESP kicks in to slow down one of the wheels.
The friction material used by brake pads determines their type. All brake pads rely on a metallic plate that has friction material on it, but the composition of the said material dictates how those pads will operate. There is no general rule regarding brake pad composition to say that a particular type is the best, and all the others are inferior.
The best brake pads for your vehicle depend on what you need those parts to do. Some pads are better for day-to-day driving in all weather conditions, while others are designed only to be used on the track. In the case of the latter, even if their level of performance is incredible when compared to regular ones, it is illegal to use them on public roads.
The reason lies in the composition of racing brake pads, which is designed to operate in particular conditions, which are incompatible with day-to-day use. We will detail this below, along with other vital information about brake pad types and uses for most production vehicles.
Before we go into specifics, we urge you to have your brakes checked at frequent intervals when you take your vehicle to the shop for maintenance work, but also when you observe that braking performance is inconsistent or deteriorating.
Never skimp out on brake pads, and always make an informed purchase. Cheap knock-offs are the worst parts you could buy for your vehicle. It is best to leave it parked than to fit counterfeit brake pads, discs, or other components.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
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The second type of brake pad friction material is named “semi-metallic.” The reason for this is because they feature from 30 to 65% metal by weight.
Multiple types of metal are used, from copper and iron to steel. The rest of the friction surface is made of fillers, modifiers, and other substances required to enhance performance and maintain reliability.
This type of brake pad friction material is extremely popular among automakers, and they are considered to be the most versatile type of brake pad on the market. They have their disadvantages, evidently, but some believe that getting semi-metallic brake pads is the best option. It all depends on the application.
Before the appearance of ceramic brake pads, semi-metallic pads used to be the best performing pads available on the market. Evidently, some of that advantage has disappeared with new technology, but they still can keep up with their superior competitors from many points of view.

Ceramic Brake Pads
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Initially, the ceramic friction material for brake pads was developed as a replacement for both organic and semi-metallic parts. This has not happened yet, but there is a good reason for that. Ceramic brake pads are the most expensive you can buy, and their abilities are not suited for all the consumers targeted by suppliers and automakers.
Instead of the organic material found the first type of brake pad described above, these components have a dense ceramic material. Do not think of glass, but something similar to pottery that is made in a kiln, which is mixed with copper (or other metal) fibers. Together, the combination of materials provides better performance, and they are more silent than the other types.
Ceramic brake pads are appreciated for their long lifespan, as well as stable and consistent performance throughout their operating life. However, these pads are sometimes criticized for the “feel” they provide in operation, but also for reduced effectiveness in cold climate when compared to semi-metallic pads.
This type of brake pad must not be confused with carbon-ceramic braking systems, which are found in supercars. Some high-end sports cars offer them as optional equipment. They come with ceramic pads, but the discs are made with composite materials instead of cast iron. They provide the highest level of performance available in cars, but also come at a hefty cost, and need to be warmed up for optimal performance.

Pros&Cons of brake pad types
We explained in the introduction of the story that the perfect brake pad has not been invented yet. There is no one-for-all solution for all applications, just like the USB (Universal Serial Bus) is not that “universal” if we look at all of its derivatives made over time.
It all depends on what you want to do with the vehicle that needs new brake pads. Commuters can have enough performance from Organic pads, but Semi-Metallic or even Ceramic pads can also suit their needs.
Most organic pads generate good friction without having the need to be warmed up in any way, and they are also the most affordable on the market.
Unfortunately, things are not so good with organic pads as you demand more from your brakes, as they can make the pedal feel “mushy” when driving hard, and they honestly do not cope well with performance driving. Organic brake pads also tend to wear faster than other types, but at least they make less dust and are quieter than semi-metallic units.
If the vehicle you are driving is meant for heavy loads, you can just forget about organic pads, and get semi-metallic ones. The same goes for drivers that want more performance in off-road conditions. Drivers that want more braking performance on the street will have to make the puzzling choice between ceramic and semi-metallic brake pads.
The latter come with increased wear on the rotors, more noise, and more dust. Meanwhile, the ceramic units have a longer service life, but come with the drawback of less performance than semi-metallic friction material while also being more expensive.
Things get even more tricky when you are looking for pads meant for sporty cars that go for the occasional track day. The ceramic pads might need to be warmed up before being used to their full potential, and they also do not have the same heat absorption and dissipation capabilities.
The two drawbacks presented in the previous sentence mean that other elements of the braking system will tend to heat up faster, leading to less performance.
The major advantage of ceramic brake pads comes in the form of the longer lifespan and temperature stability over a broad range of uses. For example, if you just want a few laps on a small track and then go back to daily driving, ceramic pads might be better for you.
If you have a bigger circuit at your disposal and like to get more performance on it, with the downside of more brake dust and noise, you should get semi-metallic pads. The same kind of brake pads also generates more wear on the brake rotors, but also provides more “bite” and feeling when pressing the pedal.
At the end of the day, remember to consult with the manufacturer of the brake pads or a specialist in braking systems before getting new pads installed on your vehicle.
For regular drivers, the organic pads might be the best, with the option of getting ceramic pads as an upgrade. Sporty cars with enthusiastic drivers must opt between semi-metallic or ceramic brake pads depending on their needs and desires. Choose wisely and stay safe on the road and the track.

Post time: Jun-28-2021