This tip is about Car and Truck brakes. The different kinds of friction materials use to make the linings, and a few brake suppliers that you can trust... The Brake Stops Here
Your vehicles brakes are the single most important piece of safety equipment you have. Without good brakes you are driving a deadly weapon. I am often asked "what are the best kind of brakes?" or "who makes the best brakes?" Let's take a further look in to these questions.
There are many different kinds of friction materials on the market--obviously you want the brakes to perform as good, if not better than the original factory equipment (OEM)--- So what are your choices? OEM brake pads? Premium aftermarket brake pads? Standard or economy grade aftermarket brake pads? Carbon - Carbon metallic - Semi-metallic - Ultra Premium or Ceramic. As you can see it's easy to get confused.
The decisions you make regarding which kind of brake pads to use is an important one because the wrong choice can create noise and wear problems you did not have before. Noise complaints are the number one reason motorist will return to complain about a brake job. Based on my experience, most noise problems are created from semi-metallic pads and/or the lack of "anti squeal" shims behind the pads-- Premium Ceramic pads are what i recommend & install on most all the brake jobs i do. Ceramics are lighter in color & will produce less brake dust, which will help keep those nice alloy wheels clean.
On some high end European cars, i will install a carbon or carbon metallic pad...On a 15 year old truck that is used on the farm, we can save a little money with a lesser quality or economy pad.
One thing to keep in mind about ceramic pads is that they are not all created equal. In other words, "ceramic" is not a generic term for a type of pad material. It is a marketing buzzword for the latest & greatest pad, that covers a wide spectrum of different friction products. The only thing they have in common is that they all contain some type of ceramic as an ingredient... One companies pads may contain 20 different ceramic formulas vs another companies 2 or 3.
Premium friction materials typically provide the best combination of stopping power, fade resistance, noise and wear. They also command a higher price, which more motorist are willing to pay on late-model, luxury cars and light trucks.
The bottom line is that premium grade pads are almost always the best choice. Don't skimp on quality---Premium pads most always provide the best combination of braking performance, noise control and wear & are engineered for your specific vehicle. At the end of the day, they will provide the best all-round value for the money.^Note the anti squeal shims & rattle springs in this image^
As far as brake suppliers, Bendix - Raybestos - EBC - Wagner, with any of these you can't wrong. Brembo makes a good brake also, "High Performance" but IMO, they are over-rated & priced.
Check back for more of my tips & tricks, or shoot me a direct question...I am here to help.
Until next time, Safe & Happy Motoring!