Ceramic vs Organic Brake Pads – Which one to choose?

ceramic brake padsCar owners are often confronted with the question of choosing between ceramic or organic brake pads whenever they need a brake change.

When you are looking for the ideal brake pads you need to factor heat resistance due to the friction produced by the car.

Around the 1950s when cars started being installed with disc brakes the ideal material for brake pads was asbestos. The material was inexpensive and heat resistant but came with the drawback of being an environmental hazard. Manufacturers were forced to seek alternatives.

The organic pads were made from a mixture of various materials like fiber, glass, Kevlar, and carbon. Resin was added to glue all the components together. This resulted in a cheaper manufacturing process while the materials were environmentally friendly.

The semi-metallic brake pads were later introduced. This consisted of 65% metallic component. Some of the metals used include copper, iron, and steel. The other 35% consists of fillers, modifiers and some graphite. Due to the metallic nature of the brake pads, they are durable but have the drawback of being noisy.

In the 1980s, car manufacturers started producing brake pads made from ceramic. These pads would be composed of ceramic and copper fibers. They would then be baked in kiln making them strong. The ceramic pads are less noisy and are gentler on the rotors.

Organic pads

Organic brake pads are made from natural materials like rubber, kevlar or glass. They stand out for being softer on the rotors as opposed to the ceramic ones. Since they are made from natural materials they are less costly and easy to manufacture.

The brakes are most suitable for those people who use their cars for daily commute as opposed to long distance travels. The brake pads wear out fast and this is evidenced by the large amounts of dust that they produce. You will need to replace your organic pads more frequently than the ceramic pads.

The brakes also have the added drawback of overheating fast and this can cause you to lose some friction making it hard to stop the car.

Pros
  • Unlike metallic pads produce less dust
  • Easier to manufacture
  • Gentle on the brake rotors
  • Can be used by a variety of cars and weather conditions
Cons
  • Cannot withstand certain temperatures
  • Not suitable for racing cars
  • Need to replace them frequently

Ceramic brake pads

Ceramic brakes are durable due to the nature of materials used in their production. They are the ideal type of brakes for those car owners who do a lot of long distance travels. Ceramic brakes do not overheat easily and this means they are less abrasive.

You should expect them to last longer than the organic brakes. They produce some dust but not as much as the organic ones.

Pros
  • Most quiet of the pads
  • The brake dust is fine thus does not stick to the rotors
  • Can withstand different temperatures
  • Higher lifespan than the organic brake pads
Cons
  • More costly than other types of brake pads
  • During extremely cold temperatures, they are noisier
  • Not suitable for large trucks or high-performance cars

Semi-metallic brake pads

Pros
  • The metallic content makes them withstand high temperatures
  • Can be used for high-performance cars
  • Produce a firmer hold on the rotors
Cons
  • Have more brake dust
  • Are noisier
  • Expensive

Factors to consider when purchasing brake pads

organic brake padsHeat

A car moving at a high speed causes a lot of friction between the brake pads and the rotors. In this regards, if you do long distance travels and carry heavy loads you need brake pads that can withstand the heat.

Good brake pads should be heavy enough to dissipate the heat generated during braking. However, the brake pads should not be so heavy that they add additional weight of the car. Ceramic brake pads are lightweight while having the ability to withstand heat.

Noise

Noisy brakes are a cause for irritation for many drivers. Brake pads made from steel or bronze with carbon tend to be heat resistant but are noisy. The best brake pads for noise reduction tend to be the ceramic pads. This is due to their soft material that is gentle to the rotors.

Long lasting

It is expensive for changing your brake pads every time you visit the service station. The least long lasting pads are organic pads, followed by the semi-metallic ones. If you want long lasting brake pads then go for the ceramic ones.

Dusting

Dusting is what is left when the brake pads come into contact with the rotors. You should go for brake pads that produce the least amount of dust. Organic pads have high amounts of carbon and graphite components. This makes them produce the most dust. Ceramic pads while producing some dust, the dust is less sticky and does not stain your car wheels.

Conclusion

It is impossible to drive a car without a functioning braking system. Brake failure is a source of major accidents. When you press the brake pedal, a hydraulic system will supply brake fluid to the wheels and the brake pads will come into contact with the rotors. This will help bring the car to a halt.

Brake pads are under enormous pressure because they are the ones that are in constant contact with the rotors. This means they are prone to overheating and tear. Choosing between ceramic or organic brake pads is not an easy choice. Both pads have pros and cons. Organic pads were first to be manufactured but were soon out of favor due to the high levels of asbestos in them. Later other materials like fiber, glass, and Kevlar were used.

Organic pads are cheap and this contributes to their popularity. They are ideal for car owners who do moderate driving. The brakes are also quiet and are gentle on the brake rotors. Ceramic brakes have increasingly become more popular. This is because they are quiet and less prone to wear and tear.

They are also ideal for driving in a variety of temperature conditions. However, the ceramic brake pads are more expensive and produce less dust. They are long lasting and produce less dust.

Categories Brakes
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1 thought on “Ceramic vs Organic Brake Pads – Which one to choose?”

  1. Very interesting article. In my case I drive a 2015 NISSAN 370Z, I am a High Performance Driving Instructor and used several brand brake pads. I used street driving pads, high performance driving pads, etc. Being that I drive on the track some times, I was wondering if it would be okay to use Ceramic Pads.

  2. Due to a very high demand and high ammount of comments, you have to wait for some time for your car questions to get answered. If you want to get fast answers from a certified master technician you can ask your questions here:
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