Ceramic brake pads cost a bit more than necessary semi-metallic brake pads, for several reasons. The next time you need new brake pads, consider the following benefits and advantages of ceramic brake pads. You may find that ceramic pads will be worth the extra cost and accommodate your driving needs.
Ceramic brake pads are specially designed to offer reliable long-term performance. This is made possible with ceramic’s superior robustness and durability, which allows the pads to grind away much slower than steel or cast iron based brake pads. In addition to its excellent wear resistance, ceramic can withstand high levels of heat, the primary by-product of the friction that occurs the brake pads are applied to the rotors. This further minimizes brake fade as well as brake recovery time after each engagement.
Benefits of Ceramic Brake Pads
Ceramic brake pads also offer the driver smoother and quieter operation. This can be contributed to their low friction surface, which when placed against the rotor produces a noise that has a frequency too high for the human ear to sense. Furthermore, ceramic brake pads often feature intermittent copper fibers throughout. Since copper is a much softer metal than either steel or iron, it provides a sort of cushioning and noise dampening effect. This is quite different from the way traditional brake pads work, which feature chopped steel fibers, steel wool, or porous cast iron, all of which are very abrasive and produce a high level of friction as well as unnecessary noise.
The smoother operation of ceramic brake pads also offers more cleanliness to the driver. One nasty bi-product of using semi-metallic brake pads is excessive brake dust, which is mainly shavings made as the rotor grinds against them. This not only produces an unsightly brownish black stain on a car’s brake components and rims but also damages the finish and sheen of a car’s tires. While ceramic brake pads also produce brake dust when applied, it is a much lesser amount and much less noticeable. You will surely appreciate this if you own a luxury car, or simply take particular pride of ownership of your car and want to ensure that it always looks nice and clean.
Ceramic Pads Costs and Savings
Although they cost more up front, ceramic brake pads may provide significant savings over the long run. They last three to four times longer than their semi-metallic counterparts. If you factor in the cost of buying three or four sets of semi-metallic brake pads, plus the expense of having someone change them out every time, you will often find that you end up spending much more for them. This does not even include the cost of replacing rotors, which also have to be changed out more frequently when using semi-metallic brake pads due to their high abrasive characteristics. An entire brake job with rotor replacement can easily cost $400 – $500. Compare this to the nominal cost of about $150 – $200 for purchasing and installing ceramic brake pads which are much easier on a car’s rotors and do not have to be replaced as often.
All in all, expect to pay two to three times more for ceramic brake pads as you would for semi-metallic brake pads.