Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Ceramic brake pads

Ceramic brake pads — Pros and cons

The majority of cars and CUV come equipped with ceramic brake pads. Carmakers choose ceramic brake pads because they’re quiet, easy on the rotors and create less brake dust. But that doesn’t mean they’re the best brake pads.

Adherent versus abrasive brake friction material

Ceramic brake pads use ADHERENT friction technology. That means the brake friction material deposits a film on the rotor for film-on-film braking. Adherent friction provides good stopping power when cold but have less fade resistance than semi-metallic brake pads when hot.

Abrasive brake pad technology is more like sandpaper against wood. In other words, the friction material abrades the rotor. Semi-metallic brake pads fall into this category, which is why they wear out rotors faster than ceramic brake pads. They also make more noise and create more brake dust.

Which brake pad friction material should you choose?

Generally speaking, you should stick with the type of brake pad that came on your vehicle from the factory.  If you change to a different brake pad chemistry, you will get different braking performance. If your vehicle came with semi-metallic brake pads and you switch to ceramic, you’ll have LESS braking power. That’s an issue if you have a truck or haul heavy loads.

Are all ceramic brake pads the same?

No. There are lots of Federal regulations for the brake parts that come on a new car. But there are NO federal regulations for aftermarket brake parts and there are no industry standards for the term “ceramic brake pads.” So the quality of ceramic brake pads vary widely among different manufacturers. In fact, brake pad quality can vary even within the same brand. That’s because most brake parts manufacturers offer an economy, OEM and premium version of their products.

If you want to match the kind of braking performance you had with factory brake parts, make sure you buy OEM or premium ceramic brake pads from a name brand brake parts manufacturer.

Pros of ceramic brake pads


Easier on rotors than semi-metallic

Less brake dust than semi-metallic or NAO

Cons of ceramic brake pads

Less stopping power than semi-metallic brake pads

More brake fade at high temperatures.


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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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