Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Are you getting OEM brake pads?

Are you really getting OEM brake pads?

Car makers started installing a new type of brake pad in the past several years. The new pad incorporate a new type of brake pad backing plate made from galvanized steel rather than black steel. The backing plates also incorporate Nucap Industry’s NRS™ invention that retains the friction material with hooks rather than on glue.

OEM brake pad

Nucap’s NRS retention system

Why the change to new brake pads?

Testing by the Global Brake Safety Council reveals that brake pad backing

Brake pad backing plate flex

Brake pad backing plate flex causes internal cracking as well. This will cause friction material to break-off

plates made from black steel can rust prematurely, causing friction material delamination and break-off long before the friction material actually wears out from use. Steel expands as it rust, a phenomenon known as “rust jacking.” That expansion causes the friction material to separate from the backing plate, which in turn causes the friction material to crack and break off, dramatically decreasing stopping power.

When an OEM brake pad isn’t really OEM

Car makers never reveal their friction material formulas or brake pad backing plate specifications to any manufacturers other than their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. So when a brake pad manufacturer states their product is an OEM equivalent, they’re guessing what the formulas are for the OEM product.
However, if the OEM uses galvanized steel backing plates with the NRS retention system and the replacement pad is made from black steel and glue, IT’S NOT OEM quality!

How can you tell if the brake pad is OEM?

Galvanized steel backing plates aren’t painted. Freshly galvanized

OEM brake pad

Galvanized steel backing plates aren’t painted. They don’t need paint to resist rust

steel doesn’t hold paint well and the galvanization process doesn’t require paint to resist corrosion. So, if the brake pad you’re buying is painted, chances are you’re not getting a galvanized backing plate.

OEM quality brake pads built with the NRS system will state so on the packaging (unless you’re buying them from the dealer parts department—those may not list the NRS feature).

The Nucap NRS backing plate

The Nucap Retention System was invented by Nucap Industries,

NRS backing plate

NRS backing plate with integral friction retention hooks

a major supplier of brake pad backing plates for several large brake pad manufacturers. The backing plates are made to exacting OEM thickness specifications and dimensional stability to resist bending and ensure exact fit. Plus, they’re treated with a galvanized coating to resist corrosion. The machining process gouges hooks into the face of the plate that bond to the friction material during the molding process.

©, 2019 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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