Cheap brakes v.s. Expensive brakes

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by steppinthrax, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. steppinthrax

    steppinthrax Diamond Member

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    I've only really replaced brake pads only twice. Once I used the real nice raybestos Brute Stops for my Saturn and a second time before the car went south I used the valuecraft ($14.00) a set. They come with a lifetime warranty at autozone.

    So I'm curious. What are the differences. I imagine there are certian govt standards brake pad manufactures must meet. Are the more expensive pads just overeng???
     
  2. shocksyde

    shocksyde Diamond Member

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    Well, the one time I put performance pads on my car it shot so much brake dust all over my rims that it wasn't worth it.

    Hawk HPS I believe they were called.
     
  3. zerocool84

    zerocool84 Lifer

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    Yep hawk's are much better pads but have more brake dust and usually squeel more than other pads. You give up some things for more stopping power.
     
  4. mwmorph

    mwmorph Diamond Member

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    For most people semi-metallic or ceramic pads from autozone should suffice, just make sure you aren't buying the lowest grade organic backing brake pads.

    Despite what people think, better stopping force will not always help. The peak coefficient of friction( of many high performance brake pads are achieved at much higher temperatures than you would see on the street with normal "I'm going to work" sort of driving. On top of that, higher friction will get your car to stop from higher speeds more quickly but at lower speeds such as the speed limits most of us drive at, it either wont help, or will create slightly longer stops because ABS keeps kicking in and your tires will have to go back and forth between the higher static coefficient of friction and the lower kinetic coefficent of friction. On top of that, initial bite is more on high performance pads so it's harder to stop smoothly, will generate higher noise and more brake dust, making it harder to live with. Unless you need to panic stop from 90 or 100mph+ all the freaking time, aka if your trip to work requires a trip through Infineon Raceway or Laguna Seca every day, there's little practical reason to go for $150 top of the line race pads.

    For most normal people driving a car 9-5 as a commuter and not as a high speed track car, some high quality oem spec pads like Satisfied Pro series or Bendix with some non slotted or drilled rotors like Brembo Blanks or whatever will be optimal.

    I don't think there'd be anything wrong with $14 pads per se but I usually use higher grade stuff. I think that's just a psychological thing but I look at the $40 to $60 range per axle set, but then I'm the kind of guy that tends to skip over the cheapest things for the midrange in everything I buy.
     
  5. beat mania

    beat mania Platinum Member

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    Don't go for the top of the line stuff, but don't buy the $10 pads either. Some of them like to crack for whatever reason - you don't want a big chunk of pad material flying out of your wheelwell when you do a panic stop.
     
  6. cardiac

    cardiac Platinum Member

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    One of the main differences I have seen with higher quality pads versus the Autozone "cheapies" is that the better pads are riveted to the plates compared to the cheap pads that are glued.

    I like Napa's United pads and shoes.
     
  7. thecritic

    thecritic Senior member

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    Higher end pads are post-cured for faster bed-in, last longer, are noiseless (when properly installed), etc.

    With that said, the OEM pad is going to be a balance between performance, dust, noise and life. The OEM pad is considered a premium pad usually, and generally "maxes out" the balance between all of those factors. If you find a pad that is superior to the OEM pad in performance, you're probably sacrificing life, noise and dust to some extent, user detectable or not.

    Centric's Posi-Quiet Ceramic (Part number begins with 105) is an excellent pad for the money. most part numbers are under $35 and offer OEM like quality for a fraction of the price. Available at RockAuto or Fast Undercar.
     
  8. T2urtle

    T2urtle Diamond Member

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    i enjoyed my raybesto quiet stops pad and raybesto rotors in the front.

    I think 2 rotors plus pads shipped thru rockauto.com cost me like 85$. everything was done by me so it beats any quote you can ever get at a shop. I picked up a $5 bottle of fluid and bled the system. $90 brake job.
     
  9. ViviTheMage

    ViviTheMage Lifer

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    I typically get Wagners..middle of the road, not much dust, stops fine.
     
  10. Dman877

    Dman877 Platinum Member

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    I replaced the stock pads on my TSX with Hawk HPS. Stopping power seemed to improve a little bit and contrary to what others said, they leave much less brake dust on my rims than the factory pads did. They don't squeek much either though I have noticed a little bit of squeel right when I start braking but it isn't as bad as the factory pads in this regard either.
     
  11. fstime

    fstime Diamond Member

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    The HPS pads won't squek if you break them in the right way from what i've heard.

    Your supposed to make 10 hard stops from 50 mph in a row or something like that.....

     
  12. overst33r

    overst33r Diamond Member

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    I just bought Axxis Ultimates all around for $57... Gotta put them on first though...I read they are supposed to be very good. I'd rather spend a $20 more and get quality stuff. It's not like you changed them frequently.
     
  13. thecritic

    thecritic Senior member

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    They offer good performance, but are extremely dusty, have a shorter service life, and tend to be noisy depending on the rotor and caliper design it is used with.
     
  14. IGBT

    IGBT Lifer

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    ..are the ceramic pads kinder on the rotors?? do they fade when hot?
     
  15. mwmorph

    mwmorph Diamond Member

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    Ceramic pads are based off technically organic materials(mostly, carbon ceramic brakes on 997 911 GT3s and Ferraris and the like are different).

    They replace steel fibers in the Semi Metallic pads with copper and a ceramic-organic binding compound. Quality ceramic pads will produce less noise(the frequencies generated are usually in a higher range than the human ear can hear), less rotor wear, less visible dust(instead of dark dust, it's a lighter color dust), and since it's a ceramic compound, it's better with heat than ordinary organic compounds.

    I can't say for cheapie ceramic pads, but quality ones are a good choice for the street. Akebono, Satisfied or Raybestos or the like big name brands usually are good choices.

    I used Bendix CQ last time i did a brake job from Autozone and it worked well.
     
  16. cardiac

    cardiac Platinum Member

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    You need to be doing info-mercials..... You're good at it ;)
     
  17. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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    I personally like the Performance Friction Carbon Metallic pads for my car.
    Available at Autozone and other spots. And for me, they have a decent lifetime.
     
  18. thecritic

    thecritic Senior member

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    Ceramic is just one of the many possible ingredients that a brake pad could contain. It is unfair to say that just because a brake pad contains a certain ingredient, it will perform identically to every other pad that contains that ingredient.

    Instead of focusing on the composition of the pad, focus on the performance of the pad. Ask the pad maker what type of applications they designed the pad for. Ask others about their experience with the pad.

    Axxis Ultimate pads are "ceramic," but they are a high performance pad that produce loads of dust, can be noisy, and have a shorter service life than many OEM pads. On the other hand, Akebono or Raybestos Advanced Technology Ceramic pads are long lasting, deliver OK performance, little dust, and are noiseless. Just two examples.
     
  19. mwmorph

    mwmorph Diamond Member

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    In comparison to semi metallic pads of the same performance, ceramic-organic creates less noise and less visible dust. Obviously it's an apples to apples comparison you cant compare performance pads to oem pads.

    Axxis ULT are once again, different due to the high magnesium and graphite content that creates all the dark grey dust. It's not an OEM performance like formulation, since it's designated for "Extreme driving conditions" and obviously as performance goes up, livability (noise, dust, smoothness) go down as I covered in the first post.
     
  20. thecritic

    thecritic Senior member

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    True, but there are also low noise, low dust semi-metallic pads that will deliver most of the same qualities of a low dust ceramic pad. Are you familiar with Bendix's Import Quiet pads?
     
  21. mwmorph

    mwmorph Diamond Member

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    Well of course, there's going to be different formulation pads, there are performance Ceramic and OEM style semi-metallic but that doesn't mean it's the ideal choice. Braking power is Semi-metallic's forte and lower dust and noise will be Ceramic's specialty. The quietest semi metallic formulations will not beat out the quietest ceramic formulations and except in certain special cases (Carbon-Ceramic brakes), the best ceramic pads will not beat out the best semi metallic pads for coefficient of friction.

    There is a lot of overlap since they're 2 similar things that do the same job, but when comparing the exact same level of performance, all other things being equal like rotors and total friction, ceramics will be cleaner and quieter.

    It's like the difference between a receiver and a cornerback in football, they fill essentially the very same roles but there are little differences that prevent a receiver transferring into the cornerback position and being elite and vice versa.