Although ceramic brake pads are still a relatively new technology, they have quickly become the material of choice for many luxury vehicle brands, including Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Lexus, and Range Rover.
Ceramic brake pads are often thought of as the “best” material choice due to their cost, material quality, performance, and high-end brand association. As a technician, you may hear customers ask about this friction material by name, but you also know that ceramic brake pads aren’t always suitable for every customer and vehicle.
Use the chart below to learn some ceramic brake pad pros and cons, so you can recommend them for the right applications.
- Quieter braking events, emitting a noise that is above the normal human hearing range. Brake pads made of ceramic will be quieter than those made of organic or semi-metallic materials.
- The brake dust will be reduced. The dust produced by ceramic brake pads is lighter in color and less likely to stick to wheels.
- Due to the compounds in the friction material, these brake pads last longer than organic or semi-metallic brake pads.
- Heat dissipation for a longer brake pad lifespan. Less prone to warping or fading.
- Reliable performance over a wide temperature range.
- Durable and better resistant to salt and water than other friction materials, ceramic brake pads are ideal for harsher climates or environments with salted roads.
- Ceramic brake pads are usually the most expensive option for friction.
- They have less bite than semi-metallic brake pads and are less suitable for extremely cold climates.
- Lower heat absorption than other friction materials may lead to higher braking system temperatures.
- Typically not recommended for heavy-duty applications like hauling, as it requires more pressure to achieve the same stopping power as in regular driving conditions.
- It is possible for ceramic brake pads to cause excessive rotor wear if the rotors are not of the same high quality as the brake pads. It is therefore important that the entire braking system on a vehicle is composed of parts that are designed to work well together.
The Bottom Line
While there is no universal “best brake pad” to recommend to every customer, there is a “better choice” based on the vehicle and driving style of the customer.
Customers who do a lot of commuting/city driving, enjoy the look of cleaner rims free of black brake dust and don’t put their vehicles through heavy-duty use like towing or track driving are best suited to ceramic brake pads.
Understanding the pros and cons of ceramic brake pads will not only help customers better understand how their braking system works, but it will also ensure that they leave with the right automotive brakes to drive safely long after they leave the shop.