Advantages of Using Ceramic Brake Pads
Ceramic brake pads are being hailed as one of the best things to happen to modern automotive braking systems. Why? This is because they are sturdy, reliable and packed with many other advantages that were so far out of reach of most auto operators and owners. Read on to find out.
The primary requirement of an efficient braking system is a smooth, reliable stopping power over a wide temperature range. Ceramic brake pads meet all these requirements and more, which are responsible for their fast rising popularity. They are much better than traditional braking pads in almost every way- they are cleaner, lighter, quieter and offer efficient braking action consistently. Although they do cost a little more than their metallic or organic counter parts, they are worth every penny, considering their wide range of benefits.
The substantial development of brake pads over the last few decades has seen this essential auto part progress from harmful asbestos pads to semi metallic pads and now, the modern ceramic pads. What really sets these ceramic pads apart from their contemporaries? Here, we help you take a look at the many advantages of ceramic brake pads and why they should be your first choice too.
The braking action is the same irrespective of which brake pads you opt for. When the brake pedal is pushed, the braking hydraulics are set into motion, and the brake pads on either sides of the wheel rotor are pushed towards the rotors. The friction between the brake pads and the rotors helps slow down the vehicle and eventually stop it. Most contemporary brake pads are designed to withstand the enormous amounts of heat and friction that is generated during the braking action. However, the immense amount of friction does wear out the brake pads and the rotors, which needs to be replaced at recommended intervals to ensure optimal braking action at all times.
History of brake pads
Asbestos was a popular choice for brake pad manufacture throughout the 1950’s. Asbestos soon lost its stand, despite its excellent features, mainly due to the discovery of its harmful effects on the environment. During this period, the braking industry saw an emergence of organic, metallic and semi metallic brake pads. Although they offered commendable performance metrics, they did feature their own set of disadvantages. The improvement in material design and manufacturing gave rise to ceramic brake pads in the 1980’s. These brake pads quickly gained popularity in professional racing and commercial vehicles alike.
The rise in popularity
- Ceramic brakes have constantly performed beyond the recommended original equipment benchmarks for various parameters including noise, stopping distance, resilience etc. The fact that they are far more durable than the metallic and organic pads not only gives them a longer brake life, but also provides added stability and consistency in braking actions.
- They are also “cleaner” than the other options, as they produce little to no brake dust. This feature keeps the wheels neat and tidy, and they do not require additional abrasive cleaners or degrease to clean up the mess left by the brake pad residue.
- Ceramic brake pads cut down on the noise factor by a large margin. It is not that they eliminate noise completely, rather they resonate at frequencies that are above the range of human hearing, thus making them seem “quieter” than the rest.
- Although ceramic pads are only marginally lighter than the traditional pads, any advantage is an added benefit in competitive racing events. This minor difference also impacts the gas mileage of a domestic vehicle and can add up to the driver’s advantage over time.
- Ceramic brake pads are made of a variety of materials that gives them a robust and sturdy structure and can increase brake pad life by up to 30%. These unique construction parameters also assist in faster heat dissipation, which not only helps decrease brake pad fade from frequent braking action, but also decreases the chances of warping rotor due to excessive heat. This is especially beneficial in large-scale commercial vehicles such as trucks, which tends to generate more heat during braking action than compared to traditional vehicles.
- Thus, if you are looking for a safe, comfortable drive, then ceramic brake pads should be your preferred choice. Still not convinced? Here is a break-down of the pros and cons of ceramic brake pads.
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Brake Pads
No brake pads are perfect in every way. Choosing the right brake pads will always result in a tradeoff between various factors. It is thus important to consider the pros and cons of the brake pads of your choice before buying one. This is true for ceramic brake pads as well.
- They last longer: Ceramic brake pads are made of highly resilient materials and have a unique design that gives them low abrasion quality. They can easily handle high operating temperatures and are capable of holding in and dissipating heat safely.
- Clean tires: Due to the friction between the rotors and the brake pads, the brake pads tend to disintegrate slowly and leave behind residue on the tires known as the brake dust. This dust can be a pain to remove from the tires and can even add to faster wearing of the same. Ceramic brake pads do not produce much residue, thus leaving your tyres with a clean look and less wear.
- They are quiet: Unlike their metallic or semi metallic counterparts, one of the biggest advantages of ceramic brake pads over the rest is that these do not squeal when the brakes are applied. This is mostly due to the difference in design and the types of materials used in their construction.
- Wears out brake rotors: Although ceramic pads cause less damage to tyres, they do increase wear and tear of rotors. Most people would rather replace their brake pads in frequent succession as opposed to brake rotors. This is owing to the increased workload and complexity of operations of these parts.
- Expensive: Ceramic brake pads are among the most expensive commercial brake pads in the markets today. This is partly because of the high manufacturing costs and due to the high installation costs as well. However, since they last longer than other types of brake pads, most people don’t mind the high costs.
- Not compatible with all vehicles: Ceramic brake pads are a recent invention and are not suited to all types of vehicles. Hence, it is recommended to check the owners-manual to determine if ceramic pads are suitable for your vehicle before installing them.
The importance of choosing the right brake pads can’t be stressed enough. Good quality ceramic brake pads will ensure optimal vehicle safety and will give you greater control over stability on the road. It is thus important to have a competent professional install them on your vehicles to ensure safety and reliability. Improper installation can counter the benefits of even the best braking pads in the markets.
So, now that you are equipped to choose the best brake pads, go for the ceramic ones — you will not regret your move!
Long Chad has an experience span of over 15 years in the automobile industry. He has worked as a garage mechanic and also managed the show at an auto spare parts store. His write-ups are knowledgeable and helpful.