Every car must have brake pads. There is a wide array of brake friction material in the market. Ceramic or Organic brake pads are most popular. Settling on a suitable choice for your car is a decision to be made under careful consideration of the different types and depending on car model and needs of the car owner. Brake pads that do not suit the reduce efficiency and put the driver and other road users at risk of car accidents every time they are behind that wheel. This should help to weigh in on what works best between ceramic and organic brake pads.
Organic brake pads are produced using natural material, rubber, glass and other resins that can withstand and resist heat. They are commonly referred to as non-asbestos brake pads.
Kevlar, another synthetic and strong fibre is also used in manufacture on organic brake pads. Ceramic brake pads, like the name suggests, are made from ceramic held together by bonding materials and copper fibres to aid in heat conducting and in increasing friction.
Type of Car
Do you drive a big and heavy car or do you drive a small, lightweight car? Brake pads are subjected to a lot of friction because they are what grip the disc brake when there is need for the car to low down.
Organic brake pads are well suited for smaller lightweight cars whose driving ranges on the normal. Normal in this context means, not hundreds of miles per day but within reasonable distances, a few kilometres to work or around the neighbourhood.
Heavier cars, whose average mileage is beyond the normal, like vans doing deliveries and constantly on the road will be best suited to ceramic brake pads. Extremely heavy vehicles like trucks are best suited for the metallic brake pads.
Ceramic brake pads last much longer than Organic ones. Brake pads need to be changed on average, between 30,000 and 60,000 miles for most vehicles.
Ceramic brake pads could well go over the 70,000 miles and so you save a couple of bucks in between changing to a new set. Organic brake pads do not last as long as Ceramic, but there are other factors which may influence durability of the brake pads too, like your driving habits and the type of rotors you have.
Organic brake pads are quite soft and not as strong as the ceramic. The materials used to manufacture them are not as fortified as with other brake pads and this works against them in reducing their life span.
When shopping for brake pads, the cost should be among the last factors to put into consideration. Your needs as a driver and needs of your car should come first. However, for your information, organic brake pads are cheaper than the ceramic ones.
Cost of production for both of these brake pads is determined by the raw materials. The recycled materials are way cheaper and so are the processes. Ceramic tiles have more materials and more labour intensive binding processes. However, the metallic and semi-metallic ones are much more expensive than both ceramic and organic.
Heat absorption and friction
The friction coefficient of organic brake pads does not last as long as the ceramic. In understanding how brake pads work, there is friction which is resistance as two elements grind against each other.
In this case, the brake pads grind against the rotors in bringing the car to slow down or to a stop altogether. Organic brake pads are very soft, when they grind up against the rotors; the friction is not as intense as when the metallic rotors grind up against the ceramic material brake pads.
The Kinetic energy of a car, which is just energy in motion, is also converted into heat energy by the braking system as the car comes to a halt. The heat generated wears away at the brake pads as they grind against the rotors, chipping away at the material and affecting their life span.
The heavier cars require more energy in the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy hence why ceramic brake pads are better suited to this. Smaller lighter cars need less energy in conversion hence the heat energy will be less. Organic brake pads tend to overheat way faster and this considerably reduces friction.
Noise and Dust
Organic brake pads produce more dust than ceramic brake pads in the braking process. This is due to the materials used to produce them, and also because they are soft and less strong, they do not take the friction as well as the ceramic.
The dust produced by the ceramic brake pads is lighter and much less in comparison. At the point of changing the brake pads, the dust could be harmful to the person doing the changing. They are a pollutant when blown and released into the air. They also cling onto clothes and pose a hazard to other people around.
Organic brake pads, despite being less durable and producing higher dust volumes, are not as noisy as the ceramic. They are soft and rubbing against the rotors, there is minimal noise.
Ceramic brake pads create noise due to the asbestos material grinding against the metallic rotor. Metallic brake pads are the worst when it comes to noise, hence the high noise levels when the big trucks come to a stop.
Can one use both organic and ceramic brake pads?
Mixing different compound of pads may not be a good idea. Some drivers, for some reason, will have a different kind of brake pads at the front at the rear. However, this is not advisable. Having a balanced braking process from both the front and back is important.
The pads in the front may have better friction or vice versa. Check with your mechanic before you get to the mix and match. If there is a good reason, then it should be fine. Some people may do it to try out different materials and not go cold turkey on the regular.
Understanding the braking system
Understanding how a braking system works should be the first step towards getting to pick out suitable brake pads and making a decision on what works for your car.
The brake pads do no work in isolation and it is important to find out what supports the full system. Be careful with other functions and compounds getting into near contact with the pads. Brake fluid possible, can easily ruin your brake pads.
In choosing between ceramic and organic, one must be careful cater to all needs of the car. Installing brake pads that are not well suited for your car may have serious repercussions. Contrary to popular belief, the weather does not affect brake functions.
Drive carefully to avoid having your brake pads overheating. Overheated brake pads can cause a failed brake system. It is easy to tell if your braes are overheating. The intense friction will cause the brakes to smoke and the smoke has a strong smell of burning.
It smells like burning fabric or carpet. Ceramic brake pads may win in a fair contest against the organic brake pads, but like they say, it is to each their own. Find your suitable match and stick to it as long as it works for you and your car.