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Best brake pad backing plate

Brake pad backing plate quality is critical to brake pad life

The backing plate is just as important as the friction material

The friction material on your brake pads may stop your car, but the brake pad backing plate is the foundation. It has to be strong, flat and rust and flex resistant. Most backing plates don’t measure up. In fact, recent tests show that 51.1% of used brake pads failed due to rusted backing plates, and that rust occurred long before the friction material was used up. For more information on how brake pads fail, see these test results from the Global Brake Safety Council

How to prevent backing plate rust

Backing plate steel is hot rolled at the mill at 900°C to 1100°C. As it exits the rolling machinery and is exposed to the air, iron oxide forms on the surface. The iron oxide must be removed and the steel preserved against corrosion before before being stamped painted or zinc plated. Pickling is one method to remove the oxide and preserve the steel. The pickling process starts by immersing the steel in an acid bath to dissolve the oxide layer. Then the steel is dipped in oil to prevent further oxidation. Pickling is the preferred method for corrosion protection prior to stamping. But some brake pad companies skip the pickling step and simply leave the iron oxide in place until they’re ready to fabricate. Then they shot blast the steel.

Shot blasting removes some of the oxide, but leaves some embedded in the outer layer. Later, when the steel is stamped into backing plates, that oxide is further embedded into the lugs, embossments and holes. That remaining oxide is what causes the final paint coating to fail, which allows water to reach and corrode the steel.

Nucap Corporation takes backing plate technology a step further than just pickling. They zinc plate the steel to form a galvanized coating that eliminates the need for painting and ensures the galvanized steel will last longer than the friction material itself.

Nucap NRS™ backing plates eliminate the glue

Brake pad manufacturers typically attach the friction material to the backing plate using an adhesive. Some manufacturers take it a step further by using adhesive along with an in-mold technique where the friction material is forced into holes in the backing plate during the molding process. This is referred to as in-mold bonding. For more information on friction material attachment methods and in-mold backing plates, see this post.

But glued brake pads don’t last forever. Disc brake pads live in a violent environment with extreme heat that can go from -20°F to over 500°F in seconds and then cool down rapidly, a process that repeats itself every time you apply the brakes. Brake pads also encounter severe vibration. The rapid temperature changes, along with rapid expansion and contraction and vibration can eventually even the best paint (even power coat paint). Once the paint cracks, moisture enters and rust begins. That’s the beginning of the end for brake pads!

The rust eventually breaks the bond between the friction material and the backing plate, causing the friction material to crack and fall off. Rust also develops at the abutment tabs, causing the pad to bind and wear unevenly.

Nucap’s NRS backing plates eliminate the glue bond. Instead

Nucap NRS backing palte

Nucap NRS backing plates mechanically bond the friction material to the backing plate with hooks

the backing plate incorporates hundreds of metal hooks that engage the friction material during the molding process. So the friction block is retained mechanically and the entire backing plate is protected against corrosion by its galvanized coating. Since Nucap NRS backing plates are stiffer than traditional backing plates, they also reduce backing plate flex.

Top name brake pad manufacturers use Nucap’s NRS backing plates

These top brands use Nucap’s backing plates

You’ll also find Nucap’s galvanized backing plates in OEM brake pads for these major brands


DISCLAIMER: In accordance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules regarding endorsements, I have not received any financial remuneration from NUCAP or any other company in return for posting this press release on my site.

©, 2019 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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