A Guide to Brake Pads

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Brake pads.
Brake pads.

I have a good friend Gavin Charlesworth who is the Thailand agent for the famous brake pads and discs branded as EBC. I have run these on my race car for the past few years and described the EBC pads as the next best thing to a brick wall. The following article was sent to me from Gavin, and is very informative.

Brake pads are used to stop moving vehicles; they do this by converting the kinetic energy of a moving vehicle into heat. How effectively brake pads generate heat will determine how well they work.

It is important to choose the right brake pad for the correct application. There are three main variables that affect brake performance.

Brake pad material and its friction properties

Hydraulic pressure

Brake rotor / disc size

Braking performance can be improved (or made worse) by changing any one of the above components of the braking system.

Are your brakes genuine?

Pad Certification

OE brake pads and aftermarket brake products In UK, Europe, USA (actually most places in the world) are made to a very high standard.

ECE R 90 – certify that the replacement brake pads are at least equal to or better than OE parts. Test for performance, cold performance, bedding in.

ABE (TÜV) – replaced by ECE R 90 for brake pads but still valid for brake discs.

AMECA (US) – friction material testing and registration, edge coding

It is illegal to sell uncertified braking products in most countries. Insurance companies will refuse to pay out compensation after an accident if un-certified braking products were used on a vehicle involved in an accident.

Brake Pad materials

Metal-based – relatively cheap to make using steel fiber, often an aggressive initial bite that some may like. High disc / rotor wear, high dust levels, dust sticks to wheels, often noise issues.

Organic based – made from organic aramid fiber (such as Kevlar) and binding resins. Organic pads give a softer more progressive pedal feel and have a light dust which does not stick to wheels. Generally less noise than metallic based brake pads.

Ceramic – semi-metallic or organic brake pads filled with ceramic particles giving lower dust, longer life.

Carbon Ceramic – reserved for Supercars as they very expensive.

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